I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO PLAY the role of Santa Claus during the Yuletide season for my family and friends. But Christmas has become so commercialized and costly that the goodwill and gifts, peace and presents, mirth and merriment, cleaning and cooking and the Christmas carols are no longer the same as in my childhood days. Nevertheless, I still want to bring some Christmas cheer to our Barbadian sportsmen and women, especially the cricketers, during this festive season. Topping my list is Barbados and West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach for his penetrative pace bowling this year, which earned him 39 wickets in just seven Tests at an average of 22.25 and a strike rate of 41 balls for every scalp. Lion-hearted Tino Best wrapped himself in glory by taking two five-wicket hauls in consecutive Tests, and bowling the West Indies to a 2-0 series sweep versus Bangladesh. Best, with excellent returns of 18 wickets in four Tests this year at an average of 16.27 and a phenomenal strike rate of a wicket every 32 balls, gets my prize for loyalty and courage for defying pain to bowl with a leg injury en route to a career-best six for 40. He also receives a special award for his record highest individual Test score of 95 by a No.11 batsman against England at Edgbaston. With Fidel Edwards becoming the tenth most successful West Indian Test bowler ever with a “six-for” against the Bangladeshis, a combination of Roach, Best and Edwards would be my perfect fast bowling gift for West Indies in Test cricket in the new year. The Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) will receive a boon from the BCA’s youth and development programme, through its Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence. Carlos Brathwaite and Jason Holder, two tall fast bowling all-rounders, will be allowed to represent the CCC so that they can benefit from legendary Curtly Ambrose’s guidance as Christopher Jordan and Javon Searles wait in the background for Barbados. On the batting front, I’ll provide Kirk Edwards and Kraigg Brathwaite with a three-month refresher coaching clinic, conducted by either Gordon Greenidge or Desmond Haynes with assistance from Seymour Nurse to iron out their technical deficiencies, which have been exposed in the international arena. I will also be offering a series of specialized training sessions for young Shane Dowrich and Shai Hope by bringing on board either David Murray or Michael Worrell with a coaching mandate to improve the glove work of these two talented wicketkeeper/batsmen. This gift should see them challenging Denesh Ramdin and Devon Thomas for that position in the West Indies’ team next year. Locally, UWI will get three special gold cups full of wine for sweeping the major titles at stake in the Barbados Cricket Association’s (BCA) competitions. LIME will also receive two golden cups for winning the Division 1 and Intermediate titles and St John Cultural will be presented with another one full of champagne to celebrate their Division 2 success. Of course, Christ Church Foundation will be presented with two cups for their triumphs in the Garfield Sobers International Schools Tournament and the BCA’s Schools Under-19 Competition. Combermere won’t be forgotten for their LIME Under-15 success. Neither will St Michael for winning the overall Goddard Enterprises Schools’ crown. The little ones enjoy gifts, and each member of the triumphant Wesley Hall team would receive a full kit of cricket gear for winning their tenth Herman Griffith Primary Schools title. Since national cricketers were noticeably absent from the annual BCA’s lavish luncheon at Accra recently, the Barbados Under-15 and Under-19 teams and youth selection panel chairman Ezra Moseley would be afforded a celebratory “ball” for their regional success at “The Mecca”, Barbados’ newest party spot. However, it would be held in the 3 Ws Stand as after enjoying their jug jug, ham, turkey and sorrel, the boys won’t be allowed to party on the once hallowed turf and further damage the outfield, which will soon benefit from my gift of a pitch and outfield maintenance specialist. But lest we forget, Lenico Boucher led from the front, in piloting Barbados to the West Indies Under-15 title while Hope did similarly, guiding Barbados to the three-day title in the West Indies Under-19 Tournament on home soil. Hope will get a brand new bat for each of his four centuries while Akeem Jordan and Darnell Greenidge will also be appropriately rewarded for gaining those valuable bonus points for each wicket taken by a fast bowler. With Deandra Dottin pledging allegiance to Trinidad and Tobago, and the senior team flattering to deceive in the Caribbean Twenty20 and four-day competitions, it would appear that I wasn’t the only Santa presenting gifts to cricketers. The Barbados selectors continue to shower Shamarh Brooks with leadership and lack of performance gifts while Dwayne Smith got a belated T20 captaincy present after being deemed as “naughty and not so nice” ever since 2008. However, there was nothing in the selectors’ stockings for Kevin Stoute, even though he scored the most runs in the recent Sagicor General Twenty20. Sorry to everyone who didn’t get their gifts yesterday but season’s blessings nonetheless.