CPL contributing significantly to West Indies Cricket
By Sean Devers
The Guyana U-15 & U-19 recently won Regional titles less than a week apart and Secretary of the Guyana Cricket
Board (GCB) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Director Anand Sanasie said this has been a tremendous and historic achievement by the youth teams this year.
“We are cautiously ecstatic about these successes. It is common knowledge that the performances of our teams, not only the youth teams, are usually a reflection of the success or failure of the policies, preparation and development programmes of the GCB. Over the past two years we have gone the extra mile to ensure that all teams participating in the regional tournaments received adequate preparation,” the GCB official stated.
“The fine tuning of our teams’ physical and mental preparation along with intense inter-county tournaments and encampment have all been contributory factors. Other contributing factors in these victories have been the motivation and hunger displayed by the players for which we can directly attribute to and applaud the management of the respective teams. The victories have obviously delivered a shot in the arm for the GCB and in a sense have served to silence the critics and allow us to concentrate more on the development of the game. Be that as it may, I urge all the players, officials and administrators to remain focused and not to be complacent as once you start to lose, the criticisms will restart. Having said that I would also like to add that the Under-17 team performed quite creditably in Trinidad and the weather robbed them of a better final placement, but our ladies achieved the runner up position in their tournament, so good things are happening,” Sanasie continued.
The U-15 title was the first in 14 years, while the U-19 title was regained after seven years.
A commendable feat with all the off-the-field issues affecting the Guyana’s cricket, Sanasie explained that he would usually tell his fellow executives that Guyana teams could have been on top of West Indies cricket had it not been for the off the field issues and hoped those issues are behind the GCB now and Board is allowed to focus on the game’s long term development across Guyana.
“I think this year we were able to focus a bit more on the actual cricketing issues such as competitions, better physical and mental preparation, specialist workshops for officials, Captains etc. We placed a lot of emphasis on ensuring all the squads selected were the best players available and I must compliment the GCB selection panels and our TDO, Mr. Colin Stuart, for ensuring the Board’s policies on selection, fitness and encampment were followed,” the backbone of the GCB added.
According to Sanasie the WICB has always understood the unique position that the GCB faced here and disclosed that the Regional Board was very tolerant and accepted the GCB’s pleadings that removing games from Guyana would not help Guyana’s cause.
“However, when the legal system intervenes there is not much that the WICB or the GCB can do, as happened when the BCB obtained an injunction stopping the GCB from functioning for a brief period. I am optimistic that most of these issues are now behind us thus the difference in how we are able to execute our mandate in a more stable environment. The WICB is well aware that Guyana and the GCB are quite capable of hosting any of their events without any hiccups as we have a proven track record. The fact that we successfully hosted this tournament with our team performing exceptionally well is testimony to the fact that we have been doing our job despite the challenges,” the cricket official said.
“This Under 19 tournament lasted for about five weeks in Guyana where we had more than 120 players and officials staying in our country at various hotels, meals being served, transportation being provided to everyone, several more persons being gainfully employed, entertainment, etc all combined to stimulate and increase the economic activity within our country.
Further, this decision to have this tournament remain in Guyana was made at the very last moment and the GCB was able to successfully organize and arrange this tournament with very few hiccups,” Sanasie explained.
When asked about the ‘Cricket Bill’ and if the MOA has been signed as yet, he informed he do not know what the status of the “Cricket Bill” is and said he would not like to speak on the MOA as the process is ongoing. He however, added that the GCB was positive that this process will be resolved in the very near future.
The no-nonsense West Bank Demerara resident who almost single handedly took on the Government when several other Boards members were forced to quit due to the persecutions against them, said his biggest challenge has been to execute his mandate as the Board’s Secretary while facing numerous setbacks, high among which was the personal persecution against him which is still engaging the attention of the Court of Appeal.
“For the GCB, I think the biggest challenge was the uncertainty that existed throughout most of its term and if by the stroke of a pen the Board would cease to exist. These issues, and many others, did affect the cricket but thanks to the support of some good people we are still here and I am around to answer your questions,” the garrulous Sanasie pointed out.
His biggest disappointment during the GCB’s last term of office was the continued decline in the performance of the Male Senior Team which has been appalling to say the least. Sanasie revealed that this year, the GCB made a conscious decision to invest heavy resources in the preparation of our senior players and their performances was a major disappointment.
He explained that the Constitution of the GCB requires that elections be held bi-annually at an AGM called by the Executive Committee in the month of January. This AGM and Elections are due in January 2015 and he admitted to still being undecided if he will seek re-election.
The Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) official spoke about the GCB’s plans for the rest of the year and how hopeful he was of achieving those objectives.
“Most of our efforts would now be placed on preparing for the long senior male campaign. This Four day and 50 overs tournament will now be played double rounds. So from November 2014 to April 2015 the team will be playing alternately home and away matches with a break in January 2015 to play the Super 50 Tournament in Trinidad. The GCB would very shortly begin preparations with the 50 Overs and then the longer format at our inter-county level.
“This year, the GCB has decided that our under-19 team will participate in these inter-county games as the fourth team replacing the traditional President’s Eleven. This decision will serve the dual purpose of keeping this successful team together and allowing them to raise their game and compete at a higher level. Perhaps this move would assist these youngsters in bridging that huge gap between the Under-19 and the senior levels.
We are also hopeful that our negotiations go well with the various ministries and the National School leagues commences in the new school term,” Sanasie informed.
“The WICB supports Cricket Development in all the territories and Guyana is no exception. We were deprived of the Scotia Bank Kiddies and the WICB Grassroots programmes for two years through no fault of the WICB. We have now fully resumed those programmes and our coaches are now reasonably compensated to ensure that we can effectively execute these programmes to develop young aspiring cricketers. With the help of the WICB we will shortly begin our National Secondary and Primary School Cricket Leagues. Also very soon we will see help being garnered for the clubs structure so that many young players identified in the school programmes can be integrated easily into these clubs,” the WICB Director disclosed.
Sanasie revealed that the CPL is contributing to the payment of territorial contracts for our regional players which should commence very shortly under the new franchise system and feels this was a significant contribution to the development of the feeder system for West Indies cricket.
CPL has been playing a major role in bringing back spectators and our cricket legends to the game and this is very important for the development of West Indies cricket and Sanasie feels the West Indies have been blessed with the natural talent required for T20 cricket and the CPL has provided another stage for our cricketers to showcase their talent and our region.
“CPL has also contributed significantly to regional economies and integration of our people by the influx of tourists, as would usually happen when you have any cricket in the region,” opined Sanasie.
Among the things he would like to see happen for cricket in Guyana next year, is a Schools’ cricket league which he feels can transform our development programme in a very positive way.
“But it will be more effective and easier to manage if all our schools, starting with the secondary schools, have a games master or coach to interface with the cricket board or other sports associations willing to develop their sport in the schools.
Guyana is blessed with a large land mass and we possess numerous grounds all across this country. We need to have these grounds developed and maintained to a proper standard in order to ensure that our youths across the country can have easy access to same and they would be gainfully occupied with their time. Georgetown alone has about 25 cricket grounds with less than 10 of them being actively utilized,” the GCB executive stressed.
“We have been set back quite a few years with our cricket development programme for Guyana and we would like all stakeholders to come on board and provide real and tangible support for the development of our national sport as West Indies cricket is poised for greater heights,” Sanasie concluded.
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