By Neto Baptiste
More of the country’s young cricketers should be encouraged to harness their skills in the Parish League cricket competition.
This is the view of former player and member of the Parish League organising committee, Mark Charles, who believes that players benefit more in the long run with the experience they would have gained playing in what is considered the second tier of domestic cricket.
“Parish League deals with the community; we go into the communities and we grasp the youngsters and we try to encourage the youngsters to start playing. If you look at Antigua’s cricket, the cricket is good when you have a lot of Parish League players involved in it, players that would have gotten the graduation of Parish League,” he said.
“You start in the community at 12 or 13 years old and you play for your community team and you rub with the older players that used to play cricket, you grow with them and from there, you actually elevate now into First Class cricket,” he added.
Charles, a local businessman and owner of the popular Ceco Pharmacy, said he still goes from school to school within the communities, encouraging young players to join the various community teams and acquire the experience needed to propel them onto a bigger stage.
“I would go to those schools in the Clare Hall school area and I would love to see these coaches that we have in the schools encourage the children, because if you want to develop the cricket better then you have to play with the village team and that is the support base. Now, there are about three communities that have actually started to do something with the kids,” he said.
The 2020 Parish League season was halted in March following a directive from the Ministry of Sports after Antigua recorded its first case of the coronavirus. Although the body has not issued an official communique, Charles hinted that the Parish League will be officially cancelled in the coming days.