Apr 17, 2021 Sports
Support return of four-day Snr Inter-County Cricket Tourney
By Sean Devers
Kaieteur News – With the Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB) President Faizul Bacchus unavailable due to ill health, its Secretary, Otto Christiani, representing the cricket Board of Guyana’s largest County, lamented that the Geography of Essequibo and lack of sponsorship were the biggest challenges for cricket devolvement in the County.
Christiani, who hails from Suddie on the Essequibo Coast, speaking on last Wednesday night’s ‘Sean Devers Sports Watch’ on Kaieteur Radio informed that in Region two (Pomaroon to Supernaam) the Covid-19 virus is not as bad as the other parts of the Country and seems to be under control at the moment.
“The Geography of Essequibo and the lack of sponsorship is our out biggest challenges. Sometimes it’s not until you get here you really understand the challenge that it is to Administrate Cricket in Essequibo. To have a team or players from Bartica to come to the Coast to participate in Trials or any programme that we might have, cost a lot of money.
To get a team from Bartica to come here cost $120,000 and the biggest sponsorship we have ever had was from the Busta Company, which was $1million. Think about it, just to bring one team out costs $120,000, then you know how difficult it is. Moving teams around has been the major, major challenge to the development of Essequibo’s cricket,” explained Christiani who served on National Junior selection panel during the last Administration.
It’s public knowledge that most of the executives of the ECB supported the previous Administration but Hilbert Foster the new Vice-President of the GCB and the President of the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB), has extended an Olive leaf to the ECB, who along with the BCB and the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) make up the GCB.
“I would like for us to get past the stage of them versus us and for everyone to have a place around the table and be united and for our cricketers to have trust in our Administration and to join hands with us to lift Guyana’s cricket even more.
The cricket development committee that I chair has three or four spaces for members of the Essequibo Cricket Board and there is space for them in the other committees. Also there is a place for them in both the Senior and Junior selection committees. We are just waiting for the Essequibo Board to provide names when they are contacted and join us at that table to get the work done,” disclosed Foster who was also a guest on the programme.
When asked if the ECB was willing to work which the GCB for the development of Guyana’s cricket after hearing what the GCB’s VP and new Director of Cricket West Indies (CWI) had said, Christiani revealed he did not have a mandate from the ECB on that matter.
“But I would love to know that we can have a position where we know Essequibo is a part of Guyana’s cricket,” said the ECB member.
When asked what the ECB would want from the recently elected Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Christiani said that Essequibo is at the weaker part of the Country as it relates to cricket and obviously we would expect more attention be given to Essequibo’s cricket in terms of Coaching, assisting with facilities. “We would love to see Essequibo get more attention so that we can really come up to par,” the ECB executive added.
Christiani informed that there is no cricket being run off of by the ECB presently but informed that some Area committees have been running cricket competitions.
“In my area, which is Central Essequibo, we still have cricket being played.We have contacted the Regional Health Officials and they are satisfied that we can still continue to play,” said Christiani who has been the ECB Secretary since 2007.
The Anna Regina ground is still in no condition to host any high standard of cricket but the Imam Bacchus ground is a beautiful ground and Mr Bacchus is in the process of improving the facilities there. And what is important to note is the quality of the pitch at that ground. Some National players have played there and you hear them talking of the pitch there,” said Christiani of an outfield which is arguable second best to the Providence Stadium and where facilities will be upgraded with lights installed and a Media booth erected once the GBC set more youth Inter-county and Franchise matches at that venue.
Giving his thoughts on the return of Senior four-day inter-county matches with the Franchise League used to select the County teams, Christiani said he supported the idea.
“There is no way you can go against more cricket. The Franchise is serving its purpose and exposing a whole lot more players but yes, if you can have something that is a feeder for the First-Class tournament that would be the best scenario. You should move from the Franchise to something else. Something has to between Franchise and First-Class cricket,” the ECB official stated.
Christiani disclosed that the ECB Hostel in Anna Region, which was constructed over a decade ago as part of the Sanford T20 Regional Development programme, is still there but we were in the process of discussing with the Guyana Cricket Board to have some renovations done there. The structure has had no real maintenance and renovations since it was built. So we were trying to get the GCB to do some work on it and to get the indoor practice facility up and running,” Christiani added.
Christiani explained that in Essequibo there is no two-day cricket played, only T20 and 40-overs competitions are played in the eight area committees.
These tournaments are played in their respective areas, while the only time we had an inter-area tournament was during the Busta sponsorship when all of the area committee teams came to the Coast for an Essequibo tournament.
Christiani said there are some issues in Guyana’s Cricket and Essequibo’s participation and we are looking forward to Essequibo being a part of moving Guyana Cricket forward.
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