Parasnath’s fix for first-class cricket
CARIBBEAN cricket writer and commentator Brij Parasnath has called on West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) directors and officials to decentralise West Indies first-class cricket so as to boost the players and help to generate greater interest in regional four-day competition.
Parasnath made the call in his editorial in the recently published 2014 Cricket Records Magazine while taking a look at the professionalisation of the first-class game in the region.
He pointed out that former WICB officials had made it a policy that all regional first-class matches must be played at the Test venues of the respective territories.
“While I could understand and appreciate the rationale behind such a decision, it does put a major constraint on the regional cricket boards, especially in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana from organising matches where they would be able to attract much bigger crowds,” Parasnath said.
“While it is important for the players to gain first-hand experience and knowledge of playing on the surfaces that will be used for Test cricket and other international fixtures, it is also of greater value for them to be able to adapt their style and showcase their talent and temperament on other surfaces against quality players.
“Playing on other surfaces will definitely enhance their preparation and readiness to take on top quality opposition under any conditions,” he added.
Parasnath argued that playing matches at Guaracara Park and the Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Ground, UWI St Augustine Campus in Trinidad or at Albion Sports Complex in Guyana will attract thousands of spectators to these venues which will serve as a two-fold purpose, compared to the paucity of spectators who have attended matches at the Test venues in recent years.
“Both the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) and the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) officials will be able to collect gate receipts which will help to offset costs for preparation of teams and hosting the various first-class matches or other lower age-group competitions,” he said.
“All the players will be energised and motivated to impress and improve the overall performances like those players we have witnessed in the past, prior to the new regulations that have served to stunt the growth and development of the regional first-class players,” Parasnath said.
He added that playing in front of empty stands at the Queen’s Park Oval or at the Guyana National Stadium will never be good for players who are eager and determined to put on a grand showing.
“The cynics will claim that players ought to be prepared to perform at their best at all times. But that is only wishful thinking. Players must be challenged and motivated.
“Stalwarts like Brian Lara, Carl Hooper, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Christopher Gayle or even legends like Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Vivian Richards and many others produced some of their best innings at certain venues where thousands of ardent fans were watching and shouting their support.”
He recalled that Lara played in front of 4 000 or more people at Guaracara Park in 1989 and registered his maiden first-class hundred against Guyana and added three other first-class hundreds at the same venue in front of even much bigger crowds.
He also said former Test players Philip Simmons, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Daren Ganga as well as current stalwart Shivnarine Chanderpaul enjoyed similar experiences at Guaracara Park where they also recorded their maiden first-class hundreds.
“The thousands of vociferous adoring fans who shouted words of encouragement and showed their genuine appreciation have important roles to play in all the players’ careers,” he said.
He said the Albion ground had always been in top class shape while Petrotrin officials were prepared to upgrade the facilities at Guaracara Park but shelved those developmental plans after the decision by WICB officials to play all first-class matches at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Parasnath hopes that the WICB officials will act urgently to rectify what he sees as a major blunder in the previous policy position in regards to the staging of the four-day competition.
“With an extended season and double round of matches, the new WICB officials need to urgently review that policy and allow the local Board officials to have an input in decentralising first-class again,” he said.