Honorary secretary of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Fritz Harris, yesterday hailed the launch of a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)/Digicel Grassroots Programme in Jamaica as historic.
The programme, which bowled off at Boys' Town Cricket Club's Collie Smith Drive headquarters, will see youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 getting expert coaching assistance aimed at developing national and regional representatives.
"This historic grass-roots cricket initiative is the next step in the development programme of the WICB," said Harris.
"It will target youngsters who have moved on from the Kiddy Cricket programme, as well as young boys and girls with no prior cricketing experience.
"There will also be an important emphasis on the development of personal life skills and attitudes, as well as the correction of technical faults and weaknesses," he added.
The programme, which will be held in 15 clusters across 14 parishes and the municipality of Portmore, will, in addition to developing cricketing fundamentals, focus on educating players on the overall history of West Indies cricket.
This according to Digicel Jamaica marketing director Conor Looney, is one of the reasons why his company decided to get involved.
"The WICB/Digicel Grassroots Programme is a natural extension of Digicel's love and support for cricket in Jamaica and the Caribbean," said Looney.
"Our investment of teaching the basic fundamentals of the game to these girls and boys now will certainly help to preserve the future of cricket in Jamaica and across the region for years to come."
The programme will take place across the parishes for a period of three hours each Saturday and during the week.
It will be implemented for the remainder of 2012, with training at the Under-15 level taking place from May to June and at the Under-17 level between July and September.
The training programme for each period will culminate with inter-cluster games between the various parish groups.