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Providence shows the way forward for cricket

Providence shows the way forward for cricket


Rewind to the 1960’s and 70’s, when cricket was king here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with over filled stands and the characters to go with it.{{more}}

Fast forward to 2007, hardly anyone attends local or regional matches. This waning interest and low turn out at cricket matches experienced in the last two decades can see a turn around.

Expressing this optimism was Joel Providence, feature speaker at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association Presentation Ceremony, held at the Methodist Church Hall, last Friday night.

Providence sees local matches as 50/50 encounters, where there are only 50 persons, around the age of 50.

Addressing the topic, “Is money changing for the love of the game?”, Providence, in an inspiring piece of oratory, outlined a list of plans that can aid in the resuscitation of the sport that once held national prominence.

Among Providence’s plans is the development of a “ recreational element”.

The business executive believes that cricket must first be enjoyed, and he made reference to a recent development in South Africa, where beach cricket was being formalised.

Of critical importance to Providence in the revitalization process is the availability of facilities.

Providence is of the view that sports facilities must “ get back into the hands of the people’’.

He likened the struggles and woes of the local cricket body to that of the trout, which has to swim upstream.

But he advised, “ this is a national struggle. This is not about cricket. It is about our life. It is about our development”.

Admitting that the resurgence of the game must be tackled on all fronts, the former teacher pointed to the formal education system which promotes individualism rather than teamwork.

According to Providence, “this works against the gregarious and harmonious relations”.

Offering rays of hope, Providence, who complemented his address with appropriate slides in a Powerpoint presentation, requested more use of the media in getting cricket coverage to the masses.

He wants to see more coverage of local matches in all forms: radio, television and updates via the internet, forging partnerships with all the possible networks.

Proposing a bending of the rules of cricket, Providence, in a radical approach to ensure officials at matches, advanced the idea of four umpires instead of the stipulated two. This, he thinks, will encourage persons to officiate, knowing that they only have to umpire one session or two.

Touching every possible area where the game is lagging, Providence added to his list, tax rebates for volunteers, shortened executive meetings, as well as the cricket season.

He also proposed that the boundaries at Arnos Vale and Sion Hill be shortened to encourage stroke play, hence adding more excitement to the game, with the aim of bringing back the crowds.

Providence advised the local cricket authorities to invite guest players from neighbouring territories to play in the domestic season; have past West Indies greats come in for lectures; and the development of a cricket game show among the catalysts for this resurgence. Last Friday’s event officially closed off the 2007 national cricket programme.(RT)