High hopes! - JCA president optimistic about junior cricket programme
Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) president Wilford 'Billy' Heaven is hoping that with the implementation of the recent junior programme mandate, all clubs and parish associations will be able to develop more young players.
Heaven said that a report by the University of the West Indies shows that of all the schools and clubs that play cricket up to the senior level, only four percent of their cricketers ever end up playing at the national level.
He explained that one of the most significant factors that contributes to the loss of talent, is that after primary and preparatory school, players may end up at high schools that do not have a cricket programme. He said that this is why the JCA has implemented what he described as a long-term and sustainable module that will address the issues they currently face.
"What we have done is establish a junior programme in all the clubs and parish associations. They will visit the schools ,starting at the primary-level and get junior cricketers from age 15 and lower to become members of their respective clubs and associations," Heaven said.
"Just recently, we concluded the Kingston Wharves Under-15 competition. From that, we will select the best 25 to 30 players , which we will guide along what we call a 'critical path' for development, not only in terms of cricketing skills and technique, but also in terms of their attitude, loyalty and commitment to the sport and country," he added.
When asked about the efforts of the association to market the sport in the high schools lacking in high numbers of talented players, Heaven told The Gleaner that the JCA is working with ISSA to solve that issue.
"We now have a committee that includes a representative from ISSA to make sure we are on the same page where cricket development is concerned," Heaven said.