-plans in train to link programme to school curriculum, says Kumar
The National Sports Com-mission (NSC) said it has won the support of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and the education and youth ministries for its proposed cricket academy.
Director of Sports, Neil Kumar, told the GCB annual awards ceremony that the hope was to establish the academy by August to hone the skills of cricketers between the ages of 12 and 17.
Kumar, who was deputizing for Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr. Frank Anthony, at the ceremony, said the NSC plans to ask the county boards to identify at least 40 youths for enrolment into the academy.
He said the programme will also include an academic aspect as it seeks to ensure cricketers “are well-rounded individuals and worthy ambassadors for their country.
“The greatest West Indian, if not all of cricket success story was the phenomenal achievements of our very own Shivnarine Chanderpaul in 2008,” Kumar told the audience.
He recalled that Chanderpaul secured the International Cricket Council Cricketer-of-the-Year Award, “apart from his innumerable batting records, as he amassed over 1,000 test runs at an average of 100.”
Kumar said too that Chanderpaul was the first batsman to “face 1,000 deliveries without losing his wicket, whilst on four occasions, he has batted for more than 1,000 minutes, also without losing his wicket. Such performances have consolidated his position as one of the greatest West Indian players ever.”
The director also lauded Chanderpaul’s humility when he was honoured for surpassing Sir Garfield Sobers in the number three position on the all-time list of West Indian run-scorers in Test cricket.
Returning to the subject of the academy, Kumar told Stabroek Sport that a meeting comprising West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) CEO Donald Peters, Minister Anthony and GCB President Chetram Singh took a decision to establish the academy by August.
Capitalising on available resources was also discussed and in this vein utilizing the services of Clyde Butts, Rabindranauth Seeram and Daniel Richmond.
Kumar said he has also secured the expertise of two persons who hold degrees in physical education from Cuba and he was working with ministry representative Keith Booker to use these resources to boost the academy.
He said meetings have also been held with Minister Anthony and the education ministry to seek ways of linking the sport programme to the school curriculum.
The director said sport disciplines including volleyball, table tennis, basketball and netball will also be added to the academy’s programme as the aim was to ensure that Guyana boasts athletes in several disciplines that can compete at the regional and international levels.
“We have an excellent relationship with the GCB and they are very favourable on this issue. In fact, a meeting was held with the CEO of the WICB, Mr. Singh, Dr. Anthony and I, where Mr. Peters stated that the WICB would assist us with funding for the cricket cademy.”
Kumar said one of the buildings in the compound at the National Stadium had been earmarked for use as a dormitory so that students can camp there on weekends as well as for the six-week programme held during the August holidays.
“We are very serious about this academy and it became more serious, after having a look at the West Indies in their Twenty20 game against New Zealand, where their fielding was atrocious,” he said. “We have the best ground for fielding, where a player can dive or slide without any injuries to his body. Our ground is the best in the Caribbean and within the next two years, Guyana must have the best fielding team in the Caribbean,” Kumar said, adding that he intends to seek assistance from Roger Harper in realising this objective.
The director said too that the annual inter-schools cricket competition would be restarted in 2009, with the support of the NSC. He said the Commission will provide transportation and other needs to facilitate the hosting of the games. “It is our aim to strengthen the national inter-schools competition and it is with this in mind, that the NSC pledges its full support towards the development of the game from the youth level. We will be working assiduously hard with the GCB, to ensure we produce more Chanderpauls, Ramnaresh Sarwans, Leon Johnsons and even Sewnarine Chattergoons,” he said. “Cricket has always been at the forefront of Guyana’s sports and this continues to be the case,” Kumar said adding that the GCB has demonstrated its interest in developing the game from the youth level and the NSC will work closely with it to realise those plans.