By Neto Baptiste
Former player and coach of the Combined Schools cricket team, Pernel Watley, disagrees with the argument that the programme, which is run by the Ministry of Sports, serves no purpose in its current format and that the team should be disbanded.
Watley, while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, said the unit gives young players who may not be able to get into their community teams and opportunity to get some competitive cricket under their belt.
“Some people think you shouldn’t have any Combined Schools and stuff like that but if you don’t have any Combined Schools and let be honest, you look around and you don’t see much people practicing so having the kids together at Factory gives them that opportunity to train and play. If they want to branch off to go to clubs, I have no problem with it,” he said.
A number of former players to include former West Indies fast bowlers Kenneth Benjamin and Winston Benjamin have, in the past, called for the revamping or disbanding of the programme, adding that it serves little purpose in its current format.
Watley said the team has been competitive in the past and with the right push, could challenge for titles on the domestic front.
“If you do well in practice and what you do in practice you go out and perform the same way in the matches then eventually you would end up doing well in the tournament, you may even win the tournament. I’ve played for Combined Schools and even though it is development, we end within that championship years ago,” the coach said.
Combined Schools had a 50 percent record over the weekend, winning one and losing one of their two matches in the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) Super 40 Competition.