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‘Ask anybody about my contribution to cricket’



EDITOR: It shall be appreciated if you will publish the following in the next issue of the Searchlight Newspaper in response to a section of Mr. Rohan Thomas’ column entitled “Spare a Thought for Cricket” which appeared in the November 9, 2007 edition of the newspaper.{{more}}

The section to which I refer reads:

“At the same time, there are those who have played the game at the highest level, but whose contribution is minimal.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has produced one of the better wicket keepers the Caribbean has seen in the person of Mike Findlay. But I cannot recall Findlay with all his abilities and great knowledge of the sport, helping to produce a top class keeper.”

As a columnist, Mr. Thomas owes it to his readers to properly research his topics before writing them. Had he conducted any investigation into my contribution to the development of cricket, cricketers and more specifically to wicket keepers, he would have discovered that:

  • I am not a trained cricket coach. I chose the fields of Management, Sports Administration and Journalism. Nevertheless, since 1960 when I made my debut for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I have done a great deal of informal coaching with cricketers and footballers throughout the length and breath of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as in other countries of the region by sitting with them and imparting knowledge to them about the development of their cricket, about their development as human beings and about West Indies cricket. Mr. Thomas, ask Stanley Hinds about our cricket caravan to every nook and cranny of St. Vincent.
  • More specifically, during the tenure of Reds Perreira as OECS Sports Coordinator, he engaged me to conduct a one-week wicket keeping seminar for the leading Under-19 wicket keepers from the OECS countries. It was held at the Arnos Vale Playing Field. Among those attending were Elton John (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and Junior Murray (Grenada).
  • During the six years that I served as a West Indies cricket selector (four years as Chairman), I made it my business to speak to groups of young cricketers on the game in each island that I visited, and passed on wicket keeping tips to those with a particular interest in that area. Each year I went to Guyana, there was this particular young Guyanese wicket keeper who would always make it his business to come to see me to talk cricket, and in particular to get tips on wicket keeping. His name is Derwin Christian.

A little research will show that Elton Johnson kept wicket for St.Vincent and the Grenadines for several years at both the Under-19 and senior levels; that Junior Murray served Grenada, Windward Islands and West Indies cricket for many years, and that Derwin Christian has been Guyana’s wicket keeper for a few years now.

In local football, I have also conducted seminars in goalkeeping. The former St. Vincent and the Grenadines goalkeepers Winston Soso and Dorian Phillips can confirm. It may be difficult for Mr. Thomas to get in touch with Winston who now resides in New York, but Dorian still lives in St. Vincent and works with LIAT at the E.T. Joshua Airport.

As mentioned earlier, I am not a full time sports coach. I therefore cannot claim responsibility for the full development of these individuals to enable them to attain their respective levels of achievement, but I would hope that at least sharing the benefit of my experience with them in the early years of their development would have been of some help to them.

In terms of the overall development of cricket in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the region, I served as Hon. Secretary of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association for many years under the Presidency of Dr. Gideon Cordice and was Chairman of the West Indies Cricket Board’s Cricket Development Committee for four years. Mr. Thomas, you can contact Sir Everton Weekes and Rev. Wes Hall of Barbados or the Chief Financial Officer of the Board in Antigua to ask about my contribution and about the “Strategy for the Development of West Indies Cricket” which we prepared in 2003.

In journalism, Colin Williams, Kendol Morgan, Nelson King and Clayton Ollivierre, among others, can share stories with Mr. Thomas about my contribution in this field.

T. Michael Findlay