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Cricket still needs that shake-up

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Congratulations are in order for the St Vincent and the Grenadines senior men’s cricket team for pulling off the 2012 Winlott Inc. Windwards Islands T-20 Tournament last weekend in St Lucia.{{more}}

The T-20 title adds to the seniors, the two championships which St Vincent and the Grenadines also won in 2011.

In fact, St Vincent and the Grenadines has won the two-day version for the last three years.

Having played unbeaten in the just concluded Twenty/20 tournament, the team exhibited some form of superiority over the other three territories.

From all indications, it was a total team effort, and no commendation should be spared for those who put the squad together, including the management and the players themselves, who executed.

However, the fact that St Vincent and the Grenadines could get over the hump, and defend successfully, with a total of 98, shows the standard of the sport among the four islands.

Based on radio commentary out of St Lucia, there was a general lack of skill demonstrated by the players and an overall misunderstanding of the 20/20 format.

However, it is the same players who now have to combine their abilities on the wider Caribbean scale in the regional T-20 tournament, although they have had some good showings in cricket’s shortest form.

In putting the Vincentian case into perspective, the Twenty/20 may not be the best gauge of our cricket, as it is by and large, cricket’s form of Russian roulette.

So, one should not get over the moon and think that St Vincent and the Grenadines’ cricket is of such a high standard and it stands on solid ground, based on the successes of the senior team.

But as we laud the senior male team, the senior women slipped back in last Sunday, almost unnoticed, bringing with them fifth place in the inaugural T-20 tournament which was staged in Jamaica.

Not that one expects a title from the women on every sojourn, but there is a conspicuous decline in their standard of play, allowing others in the region to surpass them.

Hence, like the men, the women’s game needs a shake-up, as things have become stale and stagnant.

One has to be honest that there is still that hit and miss, butt-up approach in cricket here, as players come through mostly on their own God-given talent and desire to succeed or on the accord of some persons with the dedication and commitment to see them through.

A clear path in team selection policy from age group stage on to the seniors must be determined as we will forever simply be recycling the process, as to who makes the various teams.

We have to determine if we are out to win tournaments, or put more persons on the Windwards team, which is the rung upwards to the West Indies teams, or just be playing cricket as recreational activity.

It also cannot and should not be business as usual come the 2013 local cricket season.

This column continues to harp on the fact the current format of the local competitions, especially the premier division, is taking us nowhere on the road to excellence, but a template of redundancy.

Too many players are enjoying premier division status; thus they are living a cricket lie, as they have such privilege granted to them by the short-sightedness of the sport’s guardians here.

The true picture is that we possess about 50 serious cricketers, yet there are about 160 players stashed in eight outfits in the top flight, the premier division– there rests the misnomer.

In the case of the women, a campaign must be launched to get new players into the fold, while scaffolding the efforts of Cleton Burnett and Andrew Bramble, whose initiative is unearthing some talent.

With elections for a new executive set for early in the new year, the incoming members must seek out a more focussed approach towards developing players.

To get this done, it may mean either a re-shuffling of the pack or an entirely new deck of cards be had.

Indeed, local cricket in St Vincent and the Grenadines needs a new vision, a kick and an energizer.

Cricket is not only a game of shifting fortunes, but an outlet for making fortunes.

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