Eighty seven years old, Berbice Cricketing Legend, Joseph Solomon on Monday last met with forty Under-19 Berbice Cricketers at the Albion Community Centre and urged them to develop a culture of hard work, discipline, commitment and respect. Solomon, the fifth Berbician to play Test Cricket for the West Indies, spent close to two hours with the attentive youths who were all clearly honoured with his presence. Solomon, who played 27 Test Matches for the West Indies was invited to speak to the young players by newly elected President of the Berbice Cricket Board Hilbert Foster as part of the Board’s preparation for the upcoming Inter-county Championship.
Solomon urged the players to practice on a daily basis but to do so with a purpose. He stated that the main objective of practice is to correct areas of weaknesses and to make sure that mistakes are not repeated on a regular basis. He stated that if a batsman was having problems batting a googly or outswinger, then that player should concentrate on correcting that at practice.
Solomon also stated that practice should be treated with the same passion and purpose as a match, because what you practice is what you would do in a match situation. The Cricket Legend also spoke widely on the importance of hard work, personal discipline, physical fitness and knowing about the history of the game. To the delight of the players, he took them down memory lane concerning his career and sharing his experience of playing with fellow legends Rohan Kanhai, Basil Butcher, Ivan Madray and John Trim.
He started to play with the bigger boys while in Grade 3 at the Port Mourant Primary School but because of confidence in his own ability, he was able to succeed. Players were also encouraged to always keep trying despite feelings of frustrations and disappointment. Each new inning brings an opportunity for more success and as such, past failures should be ignored or forgotten. The clearly inspired youth players when given the opportunity to question Solomon did so on a regular basis and were rewarded with advice that clearly inspired them. Questions were asked on the current status of West Indies cricket, how to deal with fear and failure, how to build an inning, the importance of physical fitness, financial rewards for players in his generation and the importance of playing as a unit among others.
Solomon in response to questions, stated that the best bowler he faced was Indian leg spinner Subhash Gupte who took 9 for 102 during Solomon Test Debut vs India in 1958. Sir Garfield Sobers was hailed as the greatest cricketer in the history of the game, while fellow Berbician Rohan Kanhai was hailed as Berbice and Guyana’s greatest batsman. Solomon also spoke greatly of the inspirational leadership of the late Sir Frank Worrell and the great Management skills of the late Berkeley Gaskin. Solomon spoke of his run out of Ian Meekiff of Australia in 1960 at Brisbane which resulted in the first tied Test.
Berbice Cricket Board President Hilbert Foster expressed gratitude to Solomon for making the effort to speak to the players. He urged the players to take heed of the legend’s advice to them and to put them into practice. Solomon, Foster stated would always have a special place in the records of Berbice Cricket and he urged the players to follow in his footsteps.
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