LEGENDARY cricketer and TSTT brand ambassador, Brian Lara, paid a welcomed visit to this nation’s most promising young cricketers, who are currently at the climax of this year’s bmobile Cricket Academy, held in partnership with the TT Cricket Board (TTCB).
At the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Couva on December 8, the “Prince of Port-of-Spain” sat down with the spirited bunch and imparted his knowledge and renowned experience on the gentleman’s game. Lara was highly appreciative of the opportunity to “get into the minds” of TT’s future stars at such a crucial age group (17-20).
“My interactions with the guys today showed me that we have a vibrant group of youngsters on the way up,” he said with a smile. “It was mandatory though, that I got across the point of heightening their focus and clearly defining their goals at this critical age. These young talents must be able to comfortably, but swiftly, make that transition from an Under-19 player into a senior athlete.”
TSTT’s Head of Corporate Communications, Marsha Caballero, expressed delight with the progress of the boys thus far, and lauded the extra efforts being put out by the coaches.
“This Academy is invaluable to these young men. At TSTT and the bmobile Foundation, we see the importance of sport as an avenue to build better citizens. Initiatives such as these help us strengthen our ties within the communities. We are intent on investing in the future of Trinidad and Tobago cricket and will continue to support our local athletes in any way that we can,” she explained.
During Lara’s visit, the national men’s team was locked in a practice match on the Cricket Centre outfield. The world-record holder seized the chance to question some of the Academy’s participants on what decisions should be made to bolster the current innings, from the perspectives of both the batting and fielding teams.
Having received an array of compelling responses, Lara stressed to the avid bunch on the significance of fierce mental awareness, while competing under pressure.
“They must have be a plan when placed in precarious positions on the field of play,” he added. “For me, this is what this bmobile Cricket Academy is about; it helps to develop their mental strengths towards understanding the game on a new level. It’s great that bmobile sees the importance of working with youngsters at this level. This is so critical. The behind-the-scenes work is really and truly where coaches and players get to harness and nurture their talents further.”
Throughout the day’s intense training session, 17-year old Academy participant, Mbeki Joseph, showed grit in the unit’s fielding routine. Following a commendable display, Joseph admitted that the 2018 camp had indeed increased his levels of competitive consistency and massaged his mental capacity on analysing and evaluating situations during matches.
“It has been an uplifting camp so far,” he stated. “I’ve learnt a lot with respect to sharpening my technique and interpreting what’s my next move. My fitness levels have also increased. We’ve been coming along nicely and chatting with some of the mentors have brought a different look and approach to the game to most of the guys here. This is great development initiative because it gives me a stepping stone to move into the national senior team then hopefully into the regional squad.”
The bmobile Cricket Academy concludes at the NCC following seven previous intense weekends, and will again feature a wealth of knowledge and experience from Lara and fellow coaches Avidesh Samaroo, Surujdath Mahabir (former TT off-spinner), Kelvin Williams (specialist fast bowler), David Williams (wicket-keeping), Kumar Rampat (coach) and Dinesh Mahabir (video analyst).