Sun | Jul 21, 2019

Making cricket great again - Wray and Nephew, WIPA partner to improve game through coaching workshops

Published:Friday | July 5, 2019 | 12:20 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Wavell Hinds, former West Indies cricketer and president and CEO of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA),  goes through a demonstration exercise during a J. Wray and Nephew-sponsored WIPA coaching workshop at Kensington Cricket Oval on Wednesday, July 3.
Wavell Hinds, former West Indies cricketer and president and CEO of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), goes through a demonstration exercise during a J. Wray and Nephew-sponsored WIPA coaching workshop at Kensington Cricket Oval on Wednesday, July 3.

Alison Moss-Solomon, brand and communication manager at J. Wray and Nephew, said her company is on a mission to make cricket a great Jamaican sport again.

Moss-Solomon was speaking with The Gleaner on the opening day of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA)/Wray and Nephew coaching workshop at Kensington cricket field on Wednesday, and she revealed that the company has a clear drive to revive the sport in the nation.

“As sponsor of the Wray and Nephew National Community T20 competition, we realised a lot of the coaches aren’t trained; they are doing it for the passion of the game, which is lovely. But we are not just bringing back the fun in cricket, we also want to bring back the strategic and technical side of it. We want to make sure coaches are trained and know what they are doing, so the players are ­better. What we are trying to do is like what we did with boxing, and make cricket great again. Cricket was the sport of Jamaica and we want to bring that back through communities; and the only way we can do that is if the people are trained coaches,” Moss-Solomon said.

“The SDC teams have both older and younger players, and the younger persons would love to be playing for their country or West Indies. But the only way to do that is with proper training and proper coaches. This is our initial programme, we wanted to see how it works, as we are looking to make it better for next year. We also have our plans for the coaches that get to the super eight. But next year, we will be bigger and better,” she promised.

Meanwhile, WIPA Honouary Secretary, Wayne Lewis is hoping the two-day coaching course will motivate the coaches to get qualified and continue their development.

“At the end of the two days, seminar certificates will be handed over to the coaches. We have recognised that all of the coaches aren’t certified and although this is not a licensing course, it’s an opportunity to get certified. They (coaches) are not recognised, but they are out there coaching kids and developing them to make the West Indies team. So they are here improving their skill set in terms of how they get across their knowledge to the players. But they can go further and get a Level one or Level Two [certification] and really improve their skills, so they can better impart their knowledge to the youngsters and cricket can develop,” Lewis reasoned.

He was also quick to point out that WIPA does more than simply represent the region’s players, as they also look to play a role in their overall development.

“WIPA is in the community, in high and primary schools. We are trying to teach kids the rudiments right. We are out there building capacity and trying to improve facility and coaching skills so West Indies cricket can go on top of the world again. Wray and Nephew have come on board and are sponsoring us, and we are working with them and are very appreciative and proud to be a part of something that is recognising our coaches,” Lewis said.

IMPROVED STANDARD

He noted that acquiring a coaching certificate is at times a financial burden for the coaches and he would like J. Wray & Nephew to assist coaches to obtain the proper qualification. This, he believes, will not only improve the standard of the competition, but cricket right across the country.

“We want the next (coaching) course conducted by the Jamaica Cricket Association to get J. Wray and Nephew on board to sponsor it, to give them (coaches) the opportunity to get qualified. We are looking forward to closing out (seminar) and handing over certificates to the coaches and then look to next year, when we will try and get some more funding so we can involve more coaches as we move forward,” he said.

He added that he was pleased to have a first-class cricketer like Jamie Merchant, a former Jamaica off-spinner, in the programme.

“We have Merchant here. I am happy to see first-class cricketers giving back. They can have ambition of coaching the national team or the West Indies some day if they continue their studies, hone their skills and continue their ­development,” he said.