Gill looking to lift Grenada cricket
ST GEORGE’S – His name was synonymous with being the “run-making machine” for Combermere School in the BET Under-15 Cricket Competition in the early 1990s.
Ask anyone associated with cricket and they will tell you Dwain Gill was a rising star who left an indelible mark on the sport at Combermere School.
Fast forward two and a half decades and Gill is now embarking on his biggest innings yet, leaving a legacy as president of the Grenada Cricket Association (GCA).
Barbados might’ve been the foundation for his early cricketing days, but Grenada is his birthplace and has been home since 1997.
So when Gill had the opportunity to run for the presidential position in an effort to revitalise the sport which is in need of growth in the Spice Isle, it was one the fulltime lecturer at the T.A. Marryshow Community College accepted.
“Initially I was reluctant but I accepted a nomination as a vice- president of the GCA in 2013. I obtained 99 votes out of 102 cast with two spoilt votes. I am still trying to figure out why the one person did not vote for me,” the 39-year-old Gill said.
In addition to his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and masters of Business Administration, he has completed certificates in cricket and sports management.
He came well qualified to do the job and in addition to his “papers”, he had on the field experience as a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Level 2 coach who has also served as a video analyst for the West Indies Under-19 team as well as coach of the Windward Islands Under-15 team.
“While holding the position of vice-president for a year it became clear that in order to effect any sort of meaningful change then I would have to do it from the front,” Gill said.
“After more prompting and encouragement from some concerned cricketing enthusiasts I decided to serve by putting myself up as a candidate for president . . . . I was elected unopposed as president and the rest is history.”
Prior to returning to Grenada, Gill had a benefit of being part and parcel of Barbados’ domestic structure. He was a big part of that set-up, having captained the Barbados Under-16 team, captained Combined Schools South in the BCA Division 1 competition, in which he also represented Wanderers and Maple.
His captaincy of the Barbados Under-16 team was even more treasured as it was on a historic tour of Britain in 1991.
With that experience from living and playing in Barbados, it is understandable why he wants to see Grenadian cricketers become more competitive.
Grenada has produced a handful of cricketers to represent the West Indies. In fact, last Tuesday was only the first time in the history for the sport that a Grenadian got the opportunity to play before his home crowd.
It was Devon Smith’s and Grenada’s proudest moment, even if he failed on his appearance.
Gill is the youngest president of a cricket association in the West Indies and he is focusing on creating more opportunities for players like Smith to hone their skills locally.
“Our focus is youth development, strengthening parish councils, increasing revenues in our cricket, improving image and communication with stakeholders and ensuring that Grenada capitalises on opportunities to host more international matches,” the husband and proud father of three explained.
Gill recognises that cricket is a second or even a third love here. Football and particularly track and field have sped past the once treasured regional game, especially since Kirani James’ phenomenal international exposure which has led to his Olympic gold medal in 2012.
“Having said that, we have managed to generate renewed interest in cricket in Grenada,” Gill said.
“The inaugural GCA T20 knockout championships was the first step in terms of getting people excited about cricket again. This year’s final at Progress Park saw the biggest crowd to witness a domestic match in recent times,” Gill pointed out while also noting it was televised nationally.
Not for one moment does he forget Barbados and what life was like there. Having lived in Barbados for almost 17 years, it has shaped who he is today and has broadened his scope for expanding cricket.
“I am lucky to have resided in both countries. Life in Barbados is a lot faster than in Grenada but I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy both places. . . . In terms of cricket, of course Barbados is more of a cricketing nation.”