GCA Boss makes farewell contribution to Guyanese all-rounder
By Sean Devers
Nineteen-year-old former Demerara youth player Travis Blyden is scheduled to depart Guyana tomorrow for Trinidad to participate in his debut cricket season on that Island and is keen to improve his game and stake a claim for a Demerara senior team pick when he returns in June.
The right-handed Transport Sports Club (TSC) batsman, who bowls leg-breaks, will join fellow GNIC player Elton Baker as the Guyanese players at Rousillac United Cricket Club in South Trinidad and will be accommodated by his club in Aripero Village.
The talented teenager was yesterday presented with a farewell gift of a pair of cricket shoes by Georgetown Cricket Association (GAC) President Bish Panday, who will not be seeking re-election at the GCA’s Annual General Meeting today at the DCC pavilion.
Panday who lost by three vote to incumbent Guyana Cricket Board President Chetram Singh at the Board’s elections last Sunday, said while he will no longer be involved in local cricket as an administrator, he will continue to make his contribution to the game in Guyana.
“I am always saying that I want to see more youths playing the game so I try to help with their development in whatever way I can. It will be hypocritical of me if I encourage more youths to play cricket and then do nothing to help them,” the former GCB Secretary disclosed at the simple presentation at his P& P office yesterday.
“Travis called me this (yesterday) morning to say he was leaving for Trinidad and needed a pair of cricket boots. I bought the boots for him because of my love for the game and it gives me satisfaction to help a young cricketer and then to hopefully see him develop into a West Indies player,” Panday said after the presentation.
He said although his career as a cricket Administrator might be over, he will continue to assist those who need it in the sport.
“I will continue to be around and I will continue to help youths, areas and even the board if I can,” Panday continued.
Panday said he was concerned with the growing number of Guyanese cricketers plying their trade in the Trinidad semi and professional leagues and hopes that something is urgently done to counter the Trinidad league and keep more of our first division players at home.
“While I wish Travis well, what concerns me is the reason for him going to Trinidad. By being over there he will miss the first part of Guyana’s cricket season and if our talented cricketers are absorbed by the by the Trinidad system our local competitions will be diluted. Because of the constant departure of our players the standard of our first division competition is getting lower and we have to find an answer to the problem of keeping our talent at home,” Panday stressed.
“I will not dissuade Travis from going because I cannot out my hands into my pocket and assist all the time. But if these players continue to leave so they can earn something from playing cricket our national cricket will suffer. If our first division is low then our inter-county will be low and ultimately the standard of those who make our national teams will also be low,” Panday opined.
Panday said had he been elected GCB President he intended to try and acquire sponsorship and the technical know-how to form a professional league here. He added that his plans are in his Vision statement and hopes those in the relevant authorities utilize some of what is in that document to help move Guyana’s cricket forward.
Blyden, who was unfortunate to be left out of the national under-19 team which participated in the 2007 regional under-19 tournament in St Kitts, explained that when he did not make the team he wanted to quit cricket but Panday encouraged him to keep playing and producing good performances since he if did well consistently the selectors could not continue to ignore him.
“I took his advice and he told me that if I ever needed help for anything with my cricket I should call him and he would try to help. If I need help all I have to do is pick up the phone and I must thank Mr. Panday for all he has done for my cricket,” Blyden, who now joins his TCS team mate, national youth player Kelon Carmichael, in the Trinidad leagues.
Wicketkeeper Tyrell Tull is the only TSC player to have represented Guyana at the senior level, but gained national 20/20 selection when he was a member of GCC and Blyden is hoping to become the first player produced by the Thomas Lands club to play regional senior cricket.
An outstanding debut season in the competitive Trinidad leagues could go a long way in making that dream a reality for the young athlete.
PHOTO: Bish Panday (left) hands over a pair of cricket shoes to Travis Blyden at his P&P office yesterday.
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