Latest update March 25th, 2023 12:57 AM
Dec 04, 2008 Sports
By Sean Devers
Even as Demerara prepare to defend their Pepsi/Carib Inter-County cricket on Friday evening the war of words between those involved in Demerara’s cricket continue to plague a county whose cricket is in turmoil.
Days after the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) informed that Rabindranauth Seeram was replaced as a selector, that Roddy Lovell left a meeting to select the Demerara 20/20 team before the team was picked and Skipper Travis Dowlin was happy with the team, the verbal bouncers are flying again.
“As a senior player who has been involved with Demerara cricket for a very long time, I am disappointed that I am not more involved with the selection of the team I have to captain and after a recent discussion I had with the chairman of selectors (Preitpaul Jaigobin) I feel that I am just a rubber stamp since I was not even invited to pick the final 14-man squad,” Dowlin, who Captained Guyana in the just concluded regional one-day tournament stated.
“I am a very honest and principled individual and I will not accept a position if I am not allowed to function properly. I am very committed to Demerara and Guyana cricket and I believe that the cricket should always come first. This is why I stepped down as Captain of the team in Berbice,” Dowlin informed.
The right-hander allowed Zaheer Mohamed to lead the side when he made 78 in a losing cause last Saturday against Berbice and did not play on Sunday.
At a press conference held by the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA) in collaboration with the Georgetown clubs, GCA Vice-President Alfred Mentore confirmed that the experienced Dowlin, who should be an automatic pick for Guyana’s first-class team, had resigned as Skipper but will play in Friday’s final if selected.
The DCB has disregarded the usual practice of having selectors who have at least played at the level they are picking teams to play at and Jaigobin, whose cricketing knowledge and ability is very questionable, has been appointed acting chairman.
This is a cause for concern among the former and present players resulting in the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA), which traditionally produces the bulk of the Demerara players at all levels, calling a special meeting on Tuesday evening among the Presidents of the Georgetown clubs and several senior cricketers in the City to address the selection issue and the plan a way forward.
At that meeting it is understood that almost all of the clubs toyed with the idea of pulling the Georgetown players out of the Demerara team for tomorrow’s final after listening to Dowlin and Lovell give their sides of the story.
“I always try my best with whatever team I am given to lead and as a player I try not to get involved in the politics but when you look at what is happening in Demerara’s cricket I could not continue being captain just by name,” Dowlin said.
At a media briefing held by the GCA in collaboration with the city clubs yesterday evening at DCC, it was confirmed that the GCA will not prevent their players form playing in tomorrow’s final although a letter from the GCA requesting the DCB to immediately looking at the selection panel for tomorrow’s final with a view of appointing a credible selection panel that will have the confidence of the cricketing public was sent to the DCB on Tuesday.
“Although we have not received a reply to our letter, we were reliably informed that our request was turned down,” GCA President Bish Panday told the media at last evening’s briefing.
“The GCA will do nothing to disrupt the match. The GCA is a responsible body and we are cognizant with our role in cricket development. We will not pull our players from the match.
We also value very highly the contribution of the sponsors and will do nothing that jeopardizes their mileage and publicity from the final,” Panday, who was flanked by the Presidents of the city clubs and his executive members, added.
“We are not confrontational or antagonistic. We are concerned with the Demerara selection policy and believe that the cricket should be played on the field and not in boardrooms.
For all the hard work we are doing in Georgetown if the Demerara selection policy is flawed then our players will be affected and all that we are doing will be of no use.
Our aim is to strengthen Georgetown cricket which will ultimately make Guyana cricket stronger and to produce more Test players from the City and Guyana,” Panday explained.
Since the area associations in Essequibo are allowed to play as teams in national competitions and in the major Essequibo tournaments, the GCA is toying with the idea of having Georgetown play as a team at the Inter-county level in addition to a Demerara team selected by the DCB since the Georgetown players form the majority of the Demerara team and should be very competitive playing on their own at the inter-county level.
Reading from a prepared statement to the media yesterday, Panday stated that “the GCA wishes to express its concern over the recent developments surrounding the selection of the Demerara 20/20 team that played in Berbice.
In particular we are concerned over the blurring of the line between Administrative and financial responsibilities on one hand and technical responsibilities on the other hand.
“We feel that selection of teams is best done by persons who have preferably played the game at national or International level but certainly even if they did not play the game at the highest level should have displayed more than a passing familiarity with the technical aspects of the game,” he added.
“Unlike Barbados, Trinidad and even Jamaica, Guyana has the least number of former national players at its disposal. Migration has taken its toll and many of our greatest cricketers reside overseas.
We feel very strongly that that those former players who are in Guyana should be encouraged and we should utilize their services as far as practicable.
Shortcomings there will be, but such shortcomings are not limited to former national cricketers,” Panday continued.
Panday stressed that the GCA has absolute confidence in Lovell’s knowledge of the game and professionalism.
“If as President I wanted to get involved in the selection of the Georgetown team we would have not won since I know very little about the technical matters of cricket.
My job is to manage and use my influence and business experience to help develop the game through administrative policies.
That is why we appoint the best possible people to the various positions so that we can work as a team and get the job done successfully,” Panday said.
“I wish to advise that in discussion with the First Division clubs, there is an emerging opinion that the current administration structure in Demerara is not serving the best interest of cricket.
Georgetown in particular consistently produces a high percentage of the leading cricketers in Demerara but the clubs have found that their players’ careers are being affected by the vagaries of the selection process of the Demerara board,” Panday informed.
Panday said that the Presidents of the city clubs have asked the GCA to explore with the Guyana Cricket Board the possibility of Georgetown participating as a separate and distinct team in their countrywide tournaments.
“This we feel will not only allow more players from Georgetown but will also provide more opportunities for those from the rest of Demerara,” Panday noted.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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