With the International Cricket Council’s Women’s World Cup in the Caribbean just mere weeks away, the National Sports Council (NSC) is playing its part in promoting interest in the game among females in the island.
That’s the word from NSC senior coach Adrian “Ockie” Donovan who toldBarbados TODAYthe council had a vested interest in seeing women’s domestic cricket develop. The veteran sports official and chairman of the organizing committee for the Guardian Group Herman Griffith Primary Schools Competition said that as part of the effort to facilitate that development the sports council had employed West Indies fast bowler Shakira Selman with a view of getting more girls involved in the sport.
The Barbados Cricket Association has partnered with the NSC this year to ensure not only a successful tournament but also to encourage more girls to play the sport. Donovan gave the governing body the thumbs up for the return of chief executive officer Dr. Roland Toppin who he said was one of the driving forces behind more females playing the game.
“It has been a difficult period, and some of the girls are not encouraged, so therefore we have to find other ways to get them involved in the sport,” Donovan said.
The NSC has very few cricket coaches with Selman being the lone female coach. Even though the NSC is in need of coaches, new chairman McDonald Fingall hinted that they were unable to take on any additions now especially in cricket.
“We are going through a situation where an amalgamation is taking place, and anything of that nature would have to be a wait and see. They are going to be combining the sports council with the gymnasium, and there is going to be a lot of restructuring. You are talking about more, there might be less, so until that is settled, I wouldn’t be able to answer,” Fingall said.
Despite not having the numbers to coach, Donovan said the NSC would work with the schools to aid where necessary with the donation of equipment. He also pleaded with the principals to let the children play even though it was the same year as the Common Entrance Examination.
“There are several challenges that we must address regarding why young people are not attracted to cricket anymore, and Guardian Group is the perfect example of a private sector enterprise giving back to society through sports and development. It is a problem for some schools who do not have the equipment and only last year the BCA donated several cricketing materials that were identified by the NSC which went a long way in assisting some of the teams with their preparation.
“It is unfortunate that in 2018 we are still faced with some principals not allowing class four students to play in the year of the Common Entrance Examination. This backward thinking of years gone by has seen several schools not taking part in sporting activities.
“We are finding that some schools’ population, especially from the boys, are dwindling for one reason or another, and some of our more qualified young cricket coaches are deployed into the classroom focusing on the academics. On the other hand, more females are now outstripping the male teaching population which means in many cases that females oversee the respective coaching teams. In the case of cricket, it is not working at some traditionally strong schools who have numbers and are struggling to get teams together,” Donovan expressed.
According to Donovan, Kiddies cricket was an excellent introduction to Herman Griffith, and he said that with Toppin at the helm he was confident that more focus will be placed on the developmental aspect of the game.
“Kiddies cricket is a good introduction, but we have to take it to another level when the boys have to be exposed to the hardball.”