By Neto Baptiste
Cricket West Indies (CWI) is “struggling” to find corporate citizens willing to fill the void left by Scotiabank as sponsors of its Kiddy Cricket initiative.
This is according to newly elected president Ricky Skerritt who said the situation has dealt the programme a severe blow, given his administration’s commitment to development at the grassroots level.
“What we used to call the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket programme – and I say ‘used to’ because, unfortunately, with Scotiabank going through changes in the OECS, that sponsorship is coming to an end and we’re struggling to find new sponsorship so that we can resource our kiddy’s programme,” he said.
“The Kiddy [Cricket] programme from Cricket West Indies has to be just a support programme, but it has to take place at the local level and as I go around the region meeting with ministers of education and sports and with cricket associations and so on, the first question I am asking is how can we help you strengthen your existing grassroots and youth programmes,” he added.
The St. Kitts and Nevis national who defeated long serving CWI president Dave Cameron by a 12-4 margin in March, also hinted at possible changes to one of its youth tournaments leading into a marquee international tournament slated for next year.
“One of the things that we are doing very soon, this summer, is that we are rebranding the Under-19 programme to be a future stars programme to give more focus and emphasis placed on those playing in that tournament. At the end of that tournament, the Under-19 World Cup team will go through a little process of selection and by the end of the summer we would have had our Under-19 team ready and continuing work in preparation for the 2020 Under-19 World Cup,” he said.
The Scotiabank-sponsored Kiddy Cricket programme was introduced in Barbados in 2000 with the aim of helping primary school children develop a life-long appreciation of cricket.