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By Neto Baptiste

Veteran coach and head of the Combined Schools cricket team programme, Pernel Watley, has urged the national cricket association to consider an age-group tournament geared towards young players who may not be getting any competitive cricket under their belt due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.

His call comes on the heels of a pronouncement by Sports Minister Daryll Matthew, that a return to schools competition not being considered for the near future.

“As the minister said, because of the Covid there will be no cricket [schools sports] but in my mind I don’t know if it is the ministry or the association but I heard the [Cricket West Indies] were saying that some time down in the year they may have under-17 or under-19 so we may need to find a way to have some little under-17 or under-19 tournament here. We could use four zones so that instead of having all the schools, we get the best players into four teams and play some matches,” he said.

Watley revealed that he and other coaches have been working in the communities with a number of young players as they seek to bridge the gap created by the ongoing pandemic.

“I have been practicing [training] a lot of guys in Freetown during the Covid period and using my same cooler [for hand washing] and keeping the distance but it is my view, whether the association or what, played some zone matches. We don’t know whether this Covid is going to stop tomorrow, next year or what but whenever it stops at least the guys have been doing something,” the coach said.

Competitions, at both the national and school levels, were halted in March of 2020 after the country recorded its first case of the deadly virus.