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Bright future for WI cricket

Justin Marville

Bright future for WI cricket

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THE T20 SQUAD isn’t the only thing youthful about West Indies cricket these days.
Twelve local clubs, including Passage Road, have been included as part of a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) youth development project as the WICB launched its Digicel Grassroots Training Programme across the region last week.
Details of the youth project, which will see more than 2 600 Caribbean juniors receive specialised coaching, were announced at the project’s launch on Friday at Kensington Oval.
“Grassroots cricket was what we boys did on our own,” said WICB director Conde Riley.
“However, because of the demographic changes in our society, the time has come when there’s need to create the environment for the development of cricket at this level.”
A follow-up to the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket initiative, the Grassroots Training Programme will cater to young players aged 12 to 17 by providing instruction both on the field and in the classroom.
The programme will be separated into two age groups – Under-15 and Under17 – spanning one full year.
“These clinics will focus on introducing the cricketers to more intensive practice and preparation processes, as well as simulating competitions to teach them how to compete at major tournaments,” explained Digicel commercial director Alex Tasker.
“This is a highly interactive programme that also gives the youth cricketers an opportunity to be selected for their national team or the WICB Under-17 tournament based on their performances in end-of-quarter assessment matches.”
“The Digicel Youth Cricket Development Programme is a long term succession plan for West Indies Cricket, aimed at ensuring sustainability at the national and international levels by creating a pool of skilled young players, who will further drive the growth and success of the game,” he added.
The programme, which has already been launched in Trinidad and the British Virgin Islands, is slated to start next weekend at the grounds of the participating clubs.
Cricketing legend Sir Garfield Sobers was on hand to officially launch the programme, while senior West Indies head coach, Ottis Gibson and Barbados coach Vasbert Drakes were also present at the launch.