By Neto Baptiste
Coach of the Leeward Islands senior women’s cricket team and President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney, is calling for a deeper focus on the development of women’s cricket in the Caribbean.
His call comes on the heels of dismal showings by the Leewards in both the T20 and 50 overs tournaments held in Guyana.
“We, as territorial boards, have to take the responsibility of pushing women’s cricket forward. We have to find matches for them to play and to continue the necessary training [but] training alone is not going to do it because always training and not playing any matches doesn’t give you the level of match practice that you need. I hope that this under-19 tournament in Trinidad will find us some new faces also unless once we settle down and start to look about it that we can have more women’s cricket playing,” he said.
The coach suggested starting small with mini tournaments in every territory while investing in coaches’ education, signalling that talent is not the issue.
“You can have a nine-aside tournament, an eight-aside tournament, or even a seven-aside tournament, but you need participation and a lot of work needs to be put into training from the skillset standpoint. If you really look at the team itself, it is not really a bad team if you look at the players individually, but at the end of the day it’s a process that we have to understand. If you look at Guyana, they would tell you they are struggling where they only had a couple of weeks to practice, but they had a tournament,” he said.
Rodney also suggested a change in approach where administration is concerned, hinting that some roles can no longer be considered voluntary if individuals are being asked to operate in a full-time capacity.
“Because the territories are so small, you may not have the amount of resource persons that you really need and if that person is going to be volunteering and then they have to [leave] then something is going to suffer. So, there are a lot of things I think we have to look at and take it a little more serious because sports is a very serious business. If you look across the Caribbean, for this year alone there is a lot of cricket being played,” he said.
Leeward Islands finished at the bottom of Group B in the CG United Women’s Super50 after losing both of their matches, and also finished at the bottom of the standings in the T20 Blaze without a point, losing all five of their encounters.