Grassroots programmes should increase number of West Indies female cricketers

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By Carlena Knight

President of the local cricketing body, Leon ‘Kuma’ Rodney, believes that once some developmental programmes are back up and running the region will see an influx of female cricketers.

Concerns have surfaced over the longevity of some of the current crop of female professional players in the Caribbean, and who would replace them upon retirement, but Rodney, who is also a certified coach, is confident that initiatives like the under-15 training camps and even the under-19 competitions will help to identify and breed the next set of great female cricketers in the West Indies.

“That under-15 programme that was rolled out by CWI across the region, I think that would have grown some fruit in the next four to five years. Once that gets going again, as I said it’s going to take some time, it can’t be an overnight thing because most of these girls are between 12 and 13, so it is going to take some time for them to develop over a five-year period and then after five years where they actually start to have an understanding of what they are doing, we can get them to the next level and then work with them for a next five year, so we are probably seeing something like a 10-year plan in order to get to the top,” Rodney said.

All of these programmes had to be put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic which forced the postponement and cancellation of sporting events. 

The former cricketer believes for them to truly flourish, significant financial support is needed.

“You know, it’s easy for some people who don’t understand to complain and say everything is not money but when you leave your house to go and do some work, when APUA sends the light and water bills, you want to have something to be able to pay it.

“APUA is not going to say, oh he is a good guy, he went up and train some young girls without payment so we have to dig deep and we have to see exactly the things that can make it happen,” he explained.

“But at the end of the day, it will take hard work and let us not forget that it has to take some finances. I cannot call up Sir Curtly to do a session because he played international cricket, he is a level three coach. What is he going to tell his wife and kids?” he asked.  “So, it is a serious thing.”

Rodney was speaking on the Good Morning JoJo sports show last week.

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