HOT SPOT: Hats off to the BCA!
As I sat in my living room on December 23, composing an article encouraging the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) to take a greater interest in its player development, I was pleasantly surprise to hear the president Joel Garner make an announcement that the BCA would be offering retainer contracts to some of its players.
The BCA must be congratulated for such a move especially with the introduction of full-time paid coaches who are based at Kensington Oval and many of the selected players not being employed.
With the players exposed to daily coaching – both physical and mental – it is reasonable to believe that we should see an improved cricketer.
They will now earn a monthly income and there is nothing more satisfactory than earning an income from a job that one thoroughly enjoys.
The BCA should take heart from the improvements shown in both Kevin Stoute and Kirk Edwards over the past two years.
These two players were placed on personal retainer by their parents, Richard Soute and Glendon Edwards for some time now, where these parents have supported them financially once the players remained committed to practising their craft on a regular basis.
As a result, both players have gone on to represent the West Indies “A” team with success; and in the case of Kirk, has been selected to represent the senior West Indies team.
However, I believe that the retainer programme should not only involve cricket coaching but also elements of education and personal development programmes.
Such programmes should include etiquette, public speaking, communication, financial management and I would even go as far as basic mathematics for those who don’t possess such a qualification.
There is always the complaint from those associated with the senior West Indies team that the players do not possess even the basic social graces.
Also, some of the interviews given by players in the media make one shudder to hear and see the lack of professionalism.
Communication is a very important component as the players often come into contact with many people who could assist with the further development of their professional careers but they often lack the communication skills when exposed in these forums.
With the advent of so many lucrative Twenty20 leagues across the world, the players stand to earn significant amounts of money and I believe that our players must be prepared to manage such significant amounts and the fame that is associated with such.
With the improvement in technology, much information is available with the advent of electronic scoreboards.
However, the game is one that often requires basic calculations in order to give one’s team the advantage over the opponent and sometimes those basic calculations are not always available on these scoreboards. These calculations can often make the difference between winning and losing.
Overall, I believe the association has a social responsibility in the personal development of its players in the same way that a company would have the responsibility for the development of its employees.
Barbados cricket and by extension that of West Indies, will benefit from not only an improved cricketer but an improved individual.
• Ron Cumberbatch is a former Carlton and BCL Division 1 cricketer.