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Vincy scores big in Cuban cricket

Vincy scores big in Cuban cricket


Cricket has come alive in Cuba and Denis Byam, a former St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Windward Islands batsman has been showing just how the game is played to its brilliant best.

Byam, a fourth year university student at the International School of Sports and Physical Education was adjudged Man of the Series last week in a quadrangular tournament which pitted teams from England, India and Cuba against a team of West Indians from the university.{{more}}

The Vincentian scored the only century of the tournament with a whirlwind knock of 125 that has left many of the Indians and Englishmen who witnessed it still talking about his brilliant stroke playing. One Ambassador even wondered aloud why Byam was not playing professionally.

The tournament, won by the West Indies squad, was organized as a further impetus to other Cubans to get into the game now that the baseball loving Caribbean’s largest nation has become an official member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The Cuban affiliate is well on the way toward further developing the game and received an invitation to participate in the next Stanford 20/20 competition.

Denis Byam, the son of women’s advocate Muriel Byam, says he is elated to see the progress being made with cricket in Cuba and with the attention being given to the game. Only last month the Minister of Sports of India donated a set of cricket gear to the Cuban Institute of Sports and Recreation (INDER) the governing body of all sporting activity in this sport loving nation.

The Vincentian cricketer, who is also a Level 1 certified coach noted that the game is slowly making a breakthrough and expressed optimism that in the next ten years Cuba should have a team to reckon with.

He added that the programme in Cuba is based on the youth and that he is very satisfied with the results he has seen thus far. The Cuban cricket association has been bringing in coaches from the United Kingdom and Jamaica to assist the process here. With the kind assistance of the British Embassy, Jamaican Ambassador at Large, Courtney Walsh conducted coaching sessions in Havana in 2006.

Byam who is working on his final year thesis on the use of biomechanics mentioned that the Cubans use their considerable wealth of knowledge of the science to apply it to baseball and now to cricket. He pointed out that as a result, the Cuban squad was the best fielding team of the four competing teams.

Meanwhile the West Indian students at the International School which was opened only five years ago have created history by laying down the first turf wicket ever here. Until now the Cuban cricketers have been using matting for their games and practice sessions.

Cuba is well on the way toward a take off in cricket and with this country’s record in sports, the sky is the limit. Watch out Windies!