Three weeks after the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary School (BAPPSS) withdrew Combermere and Foundation Schools from the final of the Everton Weekes Under 13 Final, the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) is planning to hold talks shortly with BAPPSS to discuss the matter.
On May 25, BAPPSS boycotted the final between the powerhouses in schools’ cricket after sending a letter to the BCA indicating they had some grievances arising from playing conditions issued by the local governing body of cricket on April 21.
“Our dialogue is continuing, we will have a situation where the BCA board of management will meet with BAPPSS which is the representative body for principals, that meeting will be held very shortly. We are hoping that following that meeting we will be able to make a joint public statement on where we are going forward. Clearly the BCA will be articulating the position relevant of how we would wish to have our youth teams prepare and how representative teams in the local competition are comprised,” director of cricket at the BCA Steven Leslie told a media conference called to announce Barbados’ youth squads taking part in regional tournaments this year.
“I would wish to add that we are very clear in our minds that this has to be a partnership and a partnership that will benefit Barbados’ cricket, and certainly in our view there will not be a compromise whether we wish to have the best national youth team that we know would be our representative team in the next few weeks. What we have to do collectively is to get those best teams on the field of play. As you would appreciate it is not about us as administrators. It is really about those young men who go on the field of play, we strongly believe we should make decisions that are to their benefit in the long run,” he added.
Leslie explained that after the boycott of the final, the BCA had communicated electronically to BAPPSS that they wanted to meet with them.
“We at the BCA have met internally and have determined when that meeting will be held. We should be communicating that to BAPPSS very shortly. So between the time of the boycott and now, we would have had our internal meetings to discuss the matter but we have to contact BAPPSS to let them know of the meeting time so we can continue our discussions,” Leslie said.
Chairman of the BCA’s Youth Committee and member of the board Kamal Springer also commented on the issue. He stated the BCA had a mandate to produce international players.
“We have a responsibility to the West Indies Cricket Board as one sixth shareholder to produce players for them. If we do that the schools benefit because they will have players in the West Indies team. We have been in discussion with BAPPSS immediately before this impasse, the chief executive officer of the BCA and I met with two representatives of BAPPSS in our boardroom and discussed in great detail a number of issues. Not only issues of concern to us, but also how we can work with the schools to be of benefit to them,” Springer explained.
He stated the schools were an essential part of cricket development in Barbados.
“It is in my view very difficult to take when we have young boys who could be in the West Indies team; who could be in the Combined Schools and earning their place by not only performing in the Elite Division but by batting in their natural positions within that particular team.
“It is okay for a young man to bat at number five or six for his school. Will he bat in that same position for country? If he is batting at number five or six for his country and proves to the selectors that he can perform in that position. He stands a chance of being selected because it is his natural position,” Springer said.
He suggested a player of lesser skills could be selected over a better player because one is playing in the Elite Division and the other is playing in a lower division.
“There are possibilities that by taking these players out, they [BAPPSS] can be hampering their chances to be selected for the national team,” Springer said.
He stated that throughout the years schools had been releasing players to play for the Combined Schools (Barbados Youth).
“Some schools are playing in the First Division where there is a system of relegation and promotion. The question now has to be asked. Is national development the priority? Or is individual school acclamation the priority? Springer asked, while stressing that a school would receive prestige when its players represented the West Indies.