STRESSING that Caribbean cricket cries out for an infusion of new ideas and a developmental thrust to take it forward, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley would like to see 25 per cent of every stadium in the region made available free of charge to school children.
The Opposition Leader made this call as the special guest on the Mason And?Guest cricket programme that was aired on Starcom Network on Tuesday night.
Mottley said that the stakeholders in the region had not started to scratch the surface in terms of the potential of the game.
“We have a small population base, the people who love cricket are the majority of the population who do not have the money to pay large admission fees; your money is not going to come significantly from the gate.
“Therefore, why not agree as a development move that 25 per cent of every stadium must be made available free of charge to school children. Get them enthused about the game. My love for the game came from going to cricket and watching it.
“I still remember Michael Holding’s over to Geoff Boycott in 1981 and the sight of Jeff Thomson’s menacing spell in 1978,” she said.
Mottley told thousands of listeners across the Caribbean that she was disappointed there was no coaching video of cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers.
“Why is there no coaching video of the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen. Every child who likes cricket, their parent would like to give them a three-series DVD of Sir Garry telling you how to bat, how to bowl, Sir Garry telling you how to field. it would sell for years and years. Bob Marley’s music is selling 30 years after.
“Equally, you have the best opening pair [Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge] the world has ever seen. You don’t sell them separately. You sell them as a pair and experts on how to build an opening partnership. We can do the same thing with the famous four-pronged attack,” she said.
Mottley said that Barbadians and West Indians didn’t understand the value of legends such as Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Wes Hall.
“When the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair came to Barbados, he enjoyed meeting with Mr Arthur and me, but he was over the moon to be able to spend time with Sir Everton. We don’t know what we have and we are not exploiting it,” she said.
Mottley said there were too many areas of benefit to cricket and cricketers that were not being tapped into.
“I spoke to some cardiologists recently, who said they would love to be able to see a programme put in place where they take and do an assessment of all of the players’ hearts, bone structure, bone mass.
“The point I am making is that none of us is looking to make money. What we are seeking to do is to give back to the game. No one has asked us to participate and to be able to help make that transition, but the one I am truly passionate about is West Indies cricket, because under our law, it is like a blank canvas.
“You can set out the different classes of shares, there is no diminution of control on the part of the board. You can sufficiently engender participation and ownership by the West Indian public while allowing the game to operate on a commercial basis,” she added.
Mottley acknowledged and agreed with fellow guest and sports psychologist Dawn-Marie Layne that the West Indies have to lift their game and improve their rankings to facilitate investment.
“We have to be on top. Dawn Marie is correct, the brand is only as good as it is credible. The truth is, I believe we are on an upward trend but we are not yet where we need to be and I do believe that if we put the right structures and systems in place we will see a period of global dominance again,”? the political leader concluded.