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BCA needs to change

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

BCA needs to change

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TODAY STARTS ONE OF THE most important events in the domestic sports calendar – the Barbados Cricket Association’s annual season.
Cricket is no longer the dominant force it once was, but it remains a very popular mass-based sport, attracting much attention and discussion.It still stirs the passion of its most avid fans, and unlike yesteryear, is now much more of a family event.
The advent of the popular Twenty20 format and the efforts to get women more involved, whether in playing, in administration or just being supportive of their partners, have given the sport an all-embracing image.This does not mean that cricket has attracted an increased number of fans across Barbados, despite the gimmicks, attractions and offers.This is unfortunate, in that the game today offers so many more financial and travel rewards than were available to players a few decades ago. 
A visit to most of the grounds across Barbados today will see mostly disappointing attendances, not the kind of turnouts known in the 1970s or even 1980s for key matches. Indeed, this is but a reflection of what has been happening locally with regional and international matches, the exception being Twenty20 competitions.
We must not respond to this state of affairs by throwing our hands in the air, believing that all is lost.The BCA – and the Barbados Cricket League – need to look at what they are doing; and how they are doing it. Times have changed and they must, too.Perhaps, the first change may have to come with the management of member clubs, which must seek to offer opportunities at every level for cricketers.The BCA must demonstrate that it is responsive to all the stakeholders – from players, umpires, sponsors, cricket writers and commentators – and provide greater accountability and transparency. There must also be new meaningful initiatives. 
Perhaps, both the BCA and the BCL ought to learn something from the organizers of the LIME Pelican Football competition. Why does this football tournament attract so much interest in a nation which ranks so low regionally?Cricket has done a lot for us, and can undoubtedly continue to offer much for both country and individuals. But it won’t do so by relying on the good old days. We need change, meaningful and relevant, in the way the game is administered.