I am quite concerned as a Coach about the future of our young players, particularly the under 15 cricketers emerging from Essequibo. I can only describe the current volatile situation by proclaiming the ECB to be misguidedly disposing an innocent bunch of young humans into a rough sea at the mercy of violent sharks. The Administration simply cannot continue to administer the game in such a callous and dismissive manner.
It was indeed a welcome gesture when the ECB secured corporate sponsorship for it’s just concluded under 15 tournament. However, the execution of this key competition, which will be used to select the inter-county squad, was an abject failure, according to my estimation. During the first round held at the ARCCG, several players were allowed to play despite being over-aged since the officials managing the teams couldn’t ascertain the age requirements. Even so, the same players were told to continue playing for the duration of the tournament since it appeared that time and cost were factors that the ECB were concerned about should the players have to return home and be replaced. Is this logical and prudent given the importance of the tournament? Ironically though, I could have observed that there were several players in uniform either sitting on the bench or idling around during the following matches, some of whom apparently were within the age limit. Perhaps they were not good enough, so it didn’t matter.
In addition, the competition was played without the provision of any playing regulations. The ECB never held a meeting with the Committees to apprise them about the competition and as a result it became a guessing game as to how the tournament should have been played.
Incidentally the eight area committees imposingly had to be drawn into four teams instead, a decision that was made without any consultation and this meant that the pool of players was disappointingly less. This is certainly tragic when one considers that the under 15 level should be prudently managed since it is the most critical stage of any player’s development, a concept that should have been to the Board’s knowledge as well.
Instead what I would have observed was an exercise in futility that has further exposed the ECB’S inability to develop an effective and achievable framework for the constructive rise of cricket in Essequibo. I would have even chastised the ECB in the past for not having made proper preparation such as the hosting of tournaments or trials before selecting inter-county teams. In this case they would have done so but it was hastily executed and I am not convinced that the environment, including the absence of selectors at most of the games that I would have witnessed, served in the best interest of the players. In fact the safety of the players was evidently at risk as well, since I would have observed that most of them ill-advisedly went out to bat without securing a helmet.
The WICB under 15 playing regulations stipulates that every player must wear a helmet including the wicketkeeper, whilst standing up to the stumps. Such a condition is mandatory and the ECB cannot be ignorant of this fact, especially given the unavailability of medical personnel or first aid kits at any of the grounds. The players certainly seemed not to have been properly supervised and were under- prepared for the serious nature that such a tournament should have undertaken.
Sadly scores of ten and forty six were some of the totals that emerged. Can the ECB explain what are some of the objectives that were achieved? I doubt if there were any. Unfortunately the young cricketers will continue to under achieve, not because of the lack of talent, but it is as a result of the incompetent leadership of the ECB which has failed for too long to address cricketing issues constructively and in the best interest of the players. This is an undesirable position that may lead towards ruining the career and psyche of the next generation of Essequibo cricketers.
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