The Cricket World Cup of 2007 was designated to be played in the West Indies.
Trinidad was one of the venues chosen. Because of this, the hosts, in this case TT, had to provide a cricket field strictly for practice games and sessions for the non-participating teams on the sidelines awaiting their fixture.
Queen’s Park Oval was the venue for all official matches. The group consisted of West Indies, Ireland, Pakistan and Zimbabwe; therefore, the two teams that were not occupied with an official game would practise at St Mary's Ground, St Clair.
Today, TT boasts two internationally recognised cricket venues – the Oval and Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba.
The property the Brian Lara Stadium now occupies was supposed to be a sporting complex. However, because of delays in building the infrastructure, it was never completed.
Eventually the design was changed to satisfy one cricket stadium only. It was named after TT’s superlative cricketer Brian Lara, and called an academy, a misnomer. While this might have been the intention, it never has been used as such.
The plan now is to use it as an academy. In the Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary, the closest description of an academy in this context is: “An association for the promotion of literature, science, or art, established sometimes by government, and sometimes by the voluntary union of private individuals, the members of which are called academicians.”
I’m pleased to hear that plans are afoot to use the Brian Lara Academy for its proper purpose.
However, one must be aware of what is required for the use of the facility for the development of cricketers. Plus, the right focus plays a vital part of learning. It is not a cricket factory, which one enters as a young promising batsman or bowler and leaves as a complete cricketer.
How it’s going to be used is important to its function. Therefore, the most valuable lessons have to be taught. The plan not only develop, but discover the talent that abounds in TT with the understanding that cricket tests the mentality of the player and cricket intelligence is a critical, invigorating aspect of the game that the young cricketer must understand is for his or her satisfaction.
That will give him/her all they need to be better equipped to play the game with the right approach. This is where the enjoyment is experienced.
It must be understood by those in charge of the academy that there are many issues to deal with, apart from the art of batting and bowling, the psychology of leadership and how it works on the field, whether one is the captain or not
There are young cricketers who need several different types of motivation, and the younger they are captured and understand the rationale behind the game, the quicker they will learn, and that will propel them to enjoy it even more.
Competition is an essential component of development, and just how that aspect is going to be dealt with must be given serious consideration.
Then again, there’s no point in doing all this training without testing out their skill and learning capacity in competition.
That is why the schools ought to be the feeding trough where the youngsters learn the beauty and art of the game. They move up in stages and plans must be put in place for the most gifted, in knowledge and ability, to be identified at the earliest opportunity
Cricket clubs are a singularly important and crucial element in growth as a cricketer. Meetings with clubs should take place for promising cricketers to be accepted annually, to enjoy lectures and have technical teaching in the rudiments of the game.
I’m so proud of West Indies under-19 batsman Jordan Johnson, who has been playing tremendous cricket. His mature approach stands out and is a lesson to anyone interested in coaching cricket and knowing what to teach youngsters.
I quote the youngster: “I just go out there with a plan and that plan is to bat properly, play every ball on merit and I think I’ve been doing that well…It’s more...about playing tight, staying in the ‘V’ most times and knowing that when you’re in control, you’re in control, and not give it away.”
For an under-19 player, he has a strong sense of commitment, with a steady head on his shoulders.
I congratulate whoever is in charge of his cricket, because they did a wonderful job, and though I don’t know his domestic circumstances, I congratulate whoever is responsible for this lad’s maturity and love for cricket. He is Jamaican.