The South West Zonal Council of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) recently completed and intense youth coaching programme with over 70 young cricketers taking part.
The six-week camp which focussed on the Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 boys age groups, took place at Vessigny High School and James Park and from the group of participants, teams will now be selected to represent the zone in next year’s TTCB InterZone youth competition.
According to South West Zone chairman Ramesh Dharamdeo, this is a new approach by the zone which is geared towards talent identification and increasing the participation in cricket within the zone.
Speaking to the Express, Dharamdeo said the zone has not been successful at the InterZone youth competitions for a while now, and they needed to do something different to try and get better results.
“We found we always get cramped for time in terms of preparation for the InterZone competitions so we decided to start our preparations early so we could start to identify players for the various teams and get them into training so we can start working with them early,” Dharamdeo pointed out.
He said each of the youth teams would normally have separate screenings and then training sessions but this year they decided to have a camp for all age-groups.
“What we usually have is the teams preparing by themselves but this year we decided to have everyone come together and we requested assistance from TTCB where they responded with David Williams and Kelvin William coming for the start of the camp,” Dharamdeo explained.
“We are trying to do more than we would normally do in the hope that we will get better results going into the competition. We know the Under-15 will be starting in January and the players and teams will now continue to work at various venues with their various coaches.”
While funds are always a concern, Dharamdeo insisted that the investment in the camp and a year-round development plan was necessary to turn things around for the zone in terms of developing more cricketers to play for the national age-group teams.
“Development programmes are expensive and we all know how difficult getting sponsors can be, but we had to have this one because it was needed. We also have a continuity plan that will go on for the year to gather and unearth more talent from the zone throughout the year,” the South West Zone chairman added.
The zone is already seeing some return from their new approach and according to a South West Zonal council media release last week, the zone “has attained success in targeting and coaching youths from the zone.”
The media release added: “As we embark on the upcoming competitive season the coaches will continue to work tirelessly with all age groups and stakeholders to ensure all players are given an opportunity and that cricket continues within the zone.”
The coaches that were involved in the initiative included Amin Forgenie, Ganesh Singh, Ashram Gangarbissoon, Kitaka Lessie, Claudius Richards and Anil Lackhan, while the managers involved were Milton Siboo, Leslie Pascall and Ash Sinanan.
Zonal officials Dharamdeo, Gene Kouvar, Stephen Lakhram, Winston Titus and Elizabeth Dove were also influential in the success of the camp.