By Sean Devers
With the increase in the number of qualified Coaches and a Coaching system which is becoming more scientific, it is worrying to see many bowlers operating in Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA), Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) sanctioned tournaments with illegal actions.
Guyana has produced six umpires of the 51 from the West Indies to stand in a Test Match with Eddy Nicholls, who turns 72 on December 10, still involved in local cricket.
Nicholls’ 17 Tests and 46 ODIs between 1997 and 2005 is the most by a Guyanese Umpire and he is one of only five West Indians to be a part of the ICC Elite panel with Trinidadian Joel Wilson being added this year.
The 50-year-old Nigel Duguid has officiated in seven ODIs and 17 T20Is and could be Guyana seventh Test Umpire.
The 41-year-old Shannon Crawford who made his First-Class debut in 2016 seems next in line to move to next level, while Ryan Banwarie and Javeed Persaud are two of the best young Umpires in the Region.
So why is there a problem with enforcing the NO Ball Laws in cricket locally?
Ronsford Beaton has been reported for illegal action at the International level, while only recently he was again reported in the just concluded Super50.
Beaton has had a ‘suspect’ action since his youth cricket days for Essequibo but no local Umpire has ever called a No Ball for this infringement.
Off-Spinners Richie Looknauth and Sagar Hertheramani have been reported at Regional U-19 level but were never penalised in local cricket.
Among the prominent players who are allowed to bowl with suspect actions in local cricket areTrevon Griffith and Robin Bacchus (who are both batsmen).
Former National U-19 Skipper Micheal Howard was allowed to ‘throw’ when he played for DCC, but the first time I saw him being warned about his action was in Jamaica in the 1987 Regional U-19 tournament.
I was fielding at mid-off when Umpire Douglas Sang Hue, who Umpired in 31 Test matches, went to Howard after he delivered four balls in the Guyana verses Barbados match and warned him about his action. Pacer Linden Fraser was picked for Guyana and reported for a suspect action.
According to Law 21.3 After the bowler has entered his/her delivery stride, if in the opinion of either Umpire the ball has been thrown, that Umpire shall call and signal No Ball and when the ball is dead inform the other Umpire of the reason for the call.
In section 7 of this law, covering a ball bouncing more than twice or rolling along the ground has been amended. The change means that it will be a No Ball if the ball bounces more than ONCE before reaching the popping crease.
In the modern game where suspect bowling actions tend to be reported after the game rather than called immediately, the second and final warning has been withdrawn. Any delivery called on the field of play likely to be a clear ‘throw’ will incur a first and final warning, before suspension if repeated.
A new law 21.10 is introduced, titled ‘Ball bouncing over the head of the Striker’ which clarifies that such balls are to be called as No Balls. This now gives the Umpires the authority to call No Ball for Pelting.
During the Female U-17 Franchise, the Umpires (Team Managers or Coaches) seemed not know the laws of cricket and ignored the No Ball law for a ball bouncing more than once.
When the more experienced Umpires who knows the laws and ignore them they are only doing harm to the development of especially the young players, since if they are allowed to ‘pelt’ then as they get older and ‘Muscle Memory’ takes effect it will be harder to correct their action.
Last year during the Schoolboys tournament I asked Umpire Nicholls why were the bowlers being allowed to ‘pelt’ and he said, “If we suspend all the bowlers who have suspect actions then there will be lots of walk overs.”
This, in my opinion is a serious indictment on the Coaches.
When I attended School the National players would be sent to schools to conduct Coaching sessions with the students and Physical Education Teachers.
After we played in inter-house tournaments they would help to pick the school team.
The first time I saw Andy Jackman, Derick Kallicharran and Ray Joseph were when they came to the Richard Ishmael Secondary School to have sessions with us.
At the National Sports Council on Brickdam, Rex Collymore and William Jeffery were employed by the Government to organise inter Zone U-16 cricket.
But none of the Governments (Past or present), except the Burnham Government, have placed any level of importance on Sports.
Only the best four or five National youth players would be invited to senior trials after the Inter-County tournament. But now anyone can make a Guyana senior team.
Sending Renaldo Ali Mohammed to replace Beaton was like sending sheep to be devoured by wolves.
Even the TV commentators commented on his lack of pace at that level and it was not surprising the way he performed with the ball.
It’s great to invest in youth but they must be able to earn their spot.
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