Members of the head table at Monday’s opening of the ECCB cricket academy (from left) Davteerth Anandjit, Judister Rampersaud, Shame Kumar Singh, Bissoondyal Singh and Tota Mangar (Rajiv Bisnauth photos)
By Rajiv Bisnauth
Historian Tota Mangar urged participants of the East Coast Cricket Board (ECCB) cricket academy to take advantage of the opportunities being offered to them during the five-day programme.
Mangar was at the time delivering the feature address for the board’s convened its 13th cricket academy for aspiring cricketers on Monday morning at the Lusignan Community Centre ground, East Coast Demerara.
“I would like you to take this very seriously, take full advantage of the academy, you will benefit in the long run because cricket is not only played nationally but also internationally,” Mangar said.
The former deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana spoke of the benefits of the academy and stressed that in addition to the technical aspects of cricket, the youths will learn other important aspects of life skills. He said unlike the old days when cricket was played as recreation for the white slave masters, cricket is now very commercialised and is serious business.
Mangar applauded the ECCB for organising such academy: “This initiative by the ECCB is very laudable. It comes against a background of a lot of problems facing national cricket administration in Guyana. There is a prolonged crisis; a series of crisis which have left our national cricket administration is in a mess because of personal agenda. However, the ECCB remains committed to the development of the game, despite the challenges and that is indeed laudable.”
Participants at Monday’s opening ceremony
President of the ECCB, Bissoondyal Singh, during his address stated that 40 young cricketers, including 10 females, have registered for the programme. He believes that the academy will aid in the improvement of each participant and also the general standards of Guyana’s cricket from the youth level to the senior cricketers.
“I don’t want at the end of this academy you have a certificate on your wall to show your friends that you attended the ECCB academy. We want to ensure that each of you become better citizens who can make a contribution to our beautiful country,” Singh stressed.
Singh indicated that cricket now is not only a game, but big business where millions are invested and at the same time has created numerous job opportunities.
“You cannot only become well paid cricketers but also scorers, umpires, journalists, commentators, curators, coaches where you can make a living from cricket,” Singh believed.
He also took time to urge other boards to conduct like exercises in an effort to help aspiring cricketers to hone their skills in the correct manner. Singh also appealed for systems to be put in place to have Friday afternoons put aside for sports in schools as was the case in the 1980s.
Former ECCB president and founder of the academy, Shamkumar Singh told the young cricketers that they were fortunate to be part of such a programme.
He told the participants that the academy will teach them skills outside of being a good cricketer. The former ECCB president said the content of the programme is good and urged the youngsters to take advantage of what will be offered to them.
Coaches Daniel Richmond and Latchman Yadram will be the persons working with the youngsters during their training stint.
Activities will be held under the theme “Cricket- Professionalism and Healthy Lifestyle”, and is aimed at instilling in young cricketers the values of sportsmanship and education, the dangers of substances abuse and knowledge, skills and attitude required to pursue a career in cricket.
Participants between 12 and 16 years old were drawn from Ogle to Abary.
Several resource personnel will conduct thought-provoking discussions on cricket related and other topics during the seminar. They include statistician, Edwin Seeraj, who will speak on the history of West Indies cricket, while national umpire Davteerth Anandjit will discuss the laws of cricket. International book scorer Sidartha Anandjit will deal with the intricacies of the scoring system.
Officers from the Cove and John Police Station will tutor the participants on road safety practices, while former executive of the Guyana Cricket Board, Ronald Williams, will discuss careers in cricket and discipline.
Participants will also receive lectures on drugs and sports by Darshanand Rampersaud, the importance of education by former school senior master Judister Rampersaud, Leadership and Sportsmanship by Colin Stuart, HIV and Teenage Sex by social worker Ms. Runuka Anandjit, Food and Nutrition by officials of the Ministry of Health and Social Etiquette/Grooming and Discipline by Dr Richard Persaud of Suriname.
They will also enjoy interaction with senior and former national cricketers who will attend on occasions.
The academy will conclude on Friday when the participants will be presented with certificates of participation.