Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Letter of the Day | Cricketers need more trial, regional matches

Published:Wednesday | August 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

On Saturday, August 19, I followed the performance of our West Indies team responding to England's first-innings total of 514-8 declared in the first day-night pink ball Test match ever played in England. The only reason I did not burst out in tears is because I had seen this movie before.

Indeed, we were beaten by an innings and 209 runs in less than three days in a five-day match after scoring 168 and 137 runs in a total of 89 overs (not even a day of batting) in a performance labelled by one English reporter as spineless, despite the 79 not out by J. Blackwood.

Why have our teams been performing so miserably? My first thoughts are: Do we have the talent? Are our players being properly moulded, prepared and made ready for Test cricket?

I certainly believe that we have the talent. However, I strongly believe that our cricketers are not being properly prepared.

Readiness must start with our 10-year-olds at the grass-roots level. This early investment must be made and maintained throughout their youthful development. Our schools and colleges must have teachers performing as coaches and umpires teaching the game, its laws and its history. Our grounds and facilities must be upgraded and maintained.

The county boards of Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice must be provided with funding to organise and play off youth, second, and First Division competitions and for administrative expenditure. Most important, we must have administrators, coaches, umpires and groundsmen who are devoted and committed to the development of the game, our youths and their talents, instead of individuals who are only interested in filling their own pockets.

The objective must be more cricket, more preparation and exposure for cricketers, not less.

 

IMPORTANT STEPPING STONE

 

It is for these reasons that we are left to wonder, why are we having less cricket in Guyana? Why has the Guyana Cricket Board discontinued the yearly three-day Inter-County semi-final (running since 1954) and four-day final since 2014 and the three-day First Division competition played in Berbice and Demerara since 2011? This Inter-County four-day final was accepted as first-class cricket from 1971 to 1988.

These competitions and national trial matches were used as a stepping-stone for players to be selected to our regional team. Our players are now left with a chasm too wide and too deep to cross, with no preparation for regional or Test cricket.

Since 2011, the Guyana Cricket Board has been embroiled in controversy with the government of Guyana and the Demerara and Berbice cricket boards, resulting in about six injunctions being filed in the Guyana High Courts.

These issues have festered for too long, and it is time for them to be resolved. It cannot be denied that cricket plays a major role in the development of our youths and the health of our nation. We must move forward.

MORTIMER GEORGE

Former Secretary, BCB, 1976-1983