More attention to female cricket
The policy shapers and implementers of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association Inc. should, as a matter of urgency, go on an all-out campaign to get female cricket on a better footing.
Whilst the male aspect of cricket has a lot in place, enough to ensure that quality players are produced, the same cannot be said for the females.
In fact, St Vincent and the Grenadines has lost its way in female cricket.
And, admittedly, there are some obvious causes for this decline over the years, as we have failed to put the systems in train to have a steady supply of females attracted to the sport.
This decline, unfortunately, has gone unchecked, and now we are reaping the fruits of that oblivion.
As a band aid approach, there seems to be some effort to have more females actually playing in the national competitions.
This was borne out in the reality that there were six units that competed in this year’s national competitions – the 40-over and the T/20.
So, one of the bases was covered, that was to have more players, but it cannot be said with any honesty that the teams are of any significant quality.
But quantity is superficial, as there are fewer than 50 such players of note, who can be seriously considered as worthy female cricketers.
The situation with female cricket is compounded with the fact that the two top teams are still loaded with either aged players or players who don’t have the skill set for national representation.
Out of the annual competitions, it is either United Survivors or Tigress emerging as the champion.
That recurring decimal occurs year after and the players from both units fill the national team.
A few of them then go on to represent the Windward Islands, and it stops there.
Are our players contented with simply making the Windwards team, get a few dollars and wait until the process comes by again when the calendar is flipped to another year?
Our national cricket administrators are not taking note that players from St Lucia and Grenada are being looked at by regional selectors, instead of those from St Vincent and the Grenadines.
We are no longer the look-to country for players when there is a search for personnel for the West Indies.
How can this situation be turned around?
One way of beginning the process is to have grassroots festival primarily geared at recruiting females.
These festivals though must target the communities, where the sport is taken to them in their comfort zone.
This route has been traversed with some degree of success by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation.
One would readily acknowledge that football has a distinct advantage of having funds specifically allocated to the female side of the sport, but this does not totally discard the idea of the hosting of festivals as a means of a talent search for new female cricketers.
Additionally, this recruitment will also benefit the established female cricket units, for their own sustainability.
Too, there must be some continuity from those females who have been spotted from the Scotia Bank Kiddy Cricket programme.
One gets the impression that this programme is detached from making a meaningful transition from the identification of talent to the realization of their potential abilities.
So in stemming the tide, then the executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association Inc. should be prepared to dig into the coffers and consciously charter a better pathway for female cricket.
The national cricket administrators have a recent narrative to go on, as they had sought to address the slide in Under-15 male cricket, hence, they shaped a course, and we have already seen the outcome of their focus. Therefore, the blue print is there to follow once more.
This approach is not a ready-made success story, as it has been proven that getting females in any sport is a challenge, and a greater headache to have them sustained.
Most importantly though, the office holders of our national cricket programme, should make their stewardship count by tackling problems head on with fervour and with a focussed approach.