Veteran Cricketer Earl Waldron Says Authorities Failing Young Talents

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Veteran cricketer, Earl Waldron
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By Neto Baptiste

Veteran cricketer and former Leeward Islands all-rounder, Earl Waldron, believes that an investment should be made into the development of facilities and programmes that would engage the country’s young and talented players all year round.

His statement comes amidst queries regarding promising player Taiem Tonge of Bolans Blasters and the youngster’s obvious lack of progress and development as a fast bowler.

Waldron believes the system has not only failed Tonge, but many others as well.

“I am not even sure that Taiem has been in a situation where he has been in any sustained coaching programme from the time we’ve known him to now. When we saw him on the scene bowling close to 80-something or 90 miles per hour, I’ve not known him to have gone into a structure that will take him from that place, and don’t expect Bolans to do it because I am talking both nationally and Leeward Islands-wise. We have to find a way to harness all this young talent and we now have young Kelvin Pitman from Bethesda, and when Two Day is finished what do we do with them? Do we put them aside or just give them a little gig when West Indies comes here so they can go in the nets?” he queried. 

The former national player who still turns out as a player coach for the Bolans Blasters cricket team, posited that the club is not fully equipped with the necessary tools to propel Tonge and others like him to the next level and that intervention must come from both the national association and the government.

“I guarantee if you go on Bolans field Sunday mornings just before the game, that there is football playing and there are times when we are practicing that you have to face confrontation because the footballers want to field as well. My point is that nobody did that to us at Factory [Cricket Ground] so I am going right back there. When we were at Factory, it was about cricket, and football was being played but there was no interference, and that was an organized system through Parish League,” he said. 

Waldron believes that a simple solution to the problem lies within the past, suggesting that similar programmes to those held at Factory Cricket Ground in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s could be the answer.

“We had Factory where we went and played cricket almost year-round, but I don’t see that structure now for the younger players today. There is too much talent out there [that] I’ve seen with my own eyes, but where do they go after a two-day or a one-day tournament is finished? I don’t know of them having a place where they congregate and practice,” he said.

There have been recent calls for both the dismantling and overhauling of the Ministry of Sports’ Combined Schools cricket team with arguments both for and against the youngsters competing in the country’s top cricket tier as a unit.

Some, including former West Indies fast bowler and President of the Liberta Sports Club, Kenneth Benjamin, suggest that the team either be scrapped or relegated to the Parish League Cricket where he believes they would be more competitive. Others, like former player Mark Bowers and Schools Cricket Coordinator and former West Indies wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs disagree with those suggestions.

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