Wednesday, May 22, 2024

CWI: Community Programme reigniting Trinidad’s Cricket Spark

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Photo Credit: Cricket West Indies

The pilot program is just one part of a suite of initiatives from the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT), aimed at revitalizing sports across the country and promoting youth development and wellness. It’s being headed by former West Indies cricket and two-time ICC Men’s T20 World Cup winner Samuel Badree—a former world number one-ranked bowler in the format—who has lost none of his passion for the sport even after retiring from the game.

Three other south Trinidad areas are benefitting from the first installment of the Community Cricket Programme: the villages of Marac and St Mary’s, nestled snugly in the remote community of Moruga that produced ex-West Indies skipper/wicketkeeper Merissa Aguilleira; and Cumuto, within Badree’s hometown of Barrackpore. But this is just the beginning for the project, which is expected to expand into other communities across the country.

According to the accomplished leg spinner, there’s a lot of talent in these communities but little access to structured cricket coaching programs.

“We decided to pilot test the program in these four communities and to give them access to something that they haven’t had before,”

Badree explained,

“and we’re hoping that this draws their interest and engages the young boys and girls and attracts them to the sport.”

The Programme has had an instant impact. There has been huge interest among the young cricket fans, who have been spreading the word about the initiative throughout their communities, and bringing friends along to the point where the Programme has become oversubscribed. It helps to reignite a love for the sport in surrounding districts.

“Just to see [the participants’] faces, the smiles and enjoyment that they experience when they participate and interaction between the qualified coaches and these young boys and girls is tremendous, and I just hope that we can continue to see this grow in other sports and in other communities,”

Badree stressed.

The timing of this program could not be more perfect, with South Trinidad’s Brian Lara Cricket Academy being one of the Caribbean venues set to host matches in the 2024 ICC T20 Cricket World Cup. It could help inspire an explosive exuberance in the next generation of this already cricket-crazy twin island nation called Trinidad and Tobago.

In fact, the spark is already being lit.

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