For the youth
THE West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has put in place yet another programme to corral the young talent it is convinced still exists in abundance around the Caribbean.
WICB chief executive officer Dr Ernest Hilaire yesterday announced a two-year agreement with Digicel that aims to net the best of the region’s 12-to-17-year-olds through a series of six-month clinics.
“It is a question of putting all the pieces together,” Hilaire said at the launch of the new Digicel Youth Cricket Development Programme at Kensington Oval.
“We have reactivated the “A” team programme, we’ve established the High Performance Centre that will take care of the 19-to-23-year-olds. We have the Scotiabank programme, which is for ages seven to 11, so between 12 and 19, there was nothing.
“We thought, for us to have a scenario where you almost talk about from the primary schoolyard to Kensington Oval, that entire journey can be catered for,” he added. “We can now boast of programmes for youngsters from seven all the way up to the senior team.”
The Digicel Youth Cricket Development Programme is set to get going over the next eight weeks throughout the countries of the WICB’s six territorial boards.
There will be three separate courses – one catering for 12-to-15- year-olds, one for 15 to 17 year olds and one for aspiring coaches.
Hilaire admitted that one of the WICB’s biggest challenges was to keep some of the talented 12-to-15-year-olds committed to the game well into their adolescence.
“This is where this programme becomes so important and why we’re excited about it, because it offers the opportunity to keep these youngsters actively involved in playing cricket and to be able to sustain their interest.”
Hilaire said that he expected this new initiative to guarantee [that] more elite cricketers came through the system.
“It is a triangle. You don’t expect the entire base to be elite. Really, it is a smaller number that becomes elite,” he said. “But if your base becomes smaller, the catchment for elite is even smaller.
“We want to broaden the base and have a clear pathway as to how you become elite and to have programmes to ensure the best stay on course to become elite cricketers.
“At the end of each programme, we will be able to pick out the best players for their age group and to run high performance camps for them at the High Performance Centre.”
Digicel’s marketing director Kieran Foley,also spoke at the launch, while West Indian icon Sir Garfield Sobers, a representative of Digicel, afterwards gave some tips to aspiring Barbados Under-15 cricketers.