Kiddy Cricket revives game in Dominica
ROSEAU, Dominica – Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket almost single-handedly transformed the game at the primary school level in the Nature Island.
This is the opinion of Mervyn Thomas, the former Windward Islands batsman and head Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket coach in Dominica, after watching the interval display by 80 young players from around the island on the third day of the final Digicel Test between West Indies and Australia at Windsor Park.
“The Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket programme has definitely revitalised primary school cricket in Dominica, giving both boys and girls the opportunity to develop their skills as they progress through the grade system,” said Thomas.
“They now transition into secondary school cricket with established skills sets for the next stage of development.”
“Because of the programme’s integration into the school’s curriculum, coaches are now able to attract and coach more children as the programme grows, opening a wider pool of talent for identification and further development in the Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 programmes.
Thomas said the talent was clearly evident at this year’s Kiddy Cricket interval display as the top Kiddy Cricketers from the W.S. Stephens, Roosevelt Douglas, Atkinson, Seniku, Tetemorne, Bellevue, St. Mary’s and Massacre primary schools got an opportunity to showcase their talent.
“We will continue to grow the Kiddy Cricket programme, ensuring that all primary schools in Dominica have the opportunity to play the game of cricket,” he said.
Mervin Burton, Kiddy Cricket champion in Scotiabank Dominica’s Personal Banking Department, was thrilled with the display.
“After a long year of training and practising to ensure they were in the right form, the students were overjoyed at being able to play at Windsor Park,” he said.
“The exposure that they get from the Kiddy Cricket interval display is something they never forget.
“The encouragement that they got from the fans who cheered on the children was phenomenal.
“The introduction of Chirpy, the new mascot into the programme, added even more excitement to the activity, and I’m happy that the partnership between West Indies Cricket Board and Scotiabank continues to grow and remain relevant for the children.”
Former Jamaica leg-spin bowling all-rounder Robert Haynes, a member of the West Indies selection panel, was on the ground in Dominica for the Test as part of his official duties and watched the interval display.
He said the Kiddy Cricket Programme has definitely added value at the foundation level of the game in the region, providing a critical development pathway for the past 13 years it has been in existence.
“The programme has strived to ensure that our cricket legacy is passed on in its purest and most beneficial form, not forgetting the basis of a sound academic foundation, alongside building team spirit and lasting friendships in life,” he said.
“As the programme has progressed, especially in the last two years, the energy, interest and feedback generated about the programme as I travel through the Caribbean has been positive.”
“From many of the interval displays I have seen, it is only obvious that we are heading in the right direction in producing and identifying great potential talent for the next group of great West Indian cricketers, both male and female.”
Simone Hull, regional sponsorship manager for the Scotiabank Group, said she too, was impressed with the keen approach of the Kiddy Cricketers to the interval display.
“They were brimming with excitement and took their task at hand very seriously,” she said.
“These students show tremendous potential and we at Scotiabank are making the investment in the programme to ensure that they get increasing playing time to hone their skills even further.
“We are confident that this is where the next generation of cricketing greats will come from.”
As the curtain closes on the Digicel Series between West Indies and Australia, the next scheduled territories to host the inspiring Kiddy Cricket International Interval Displays will be Jamaica, St. Kitts and Antigua, as the West Indies host New Zealand from June 29 to August 6.