The West Indies will always be the team the rest of the cricket world looks to, despite whichever country is rated in the number one position by the International Cricket Council, says Minister of the Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King.
The minister made the comment while delivering the feature address at the opening ceremony of 29th Biennial West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (BICUA) convention which got underway in the Presidential Suite at Kensington Oval this morning.
“Regardless of who is the top cricket nation in the world today, the West Indies will always be the team that the rest of world looks to and wants to do well because when West Indies cricket does well, all of the other countries perform well,” King said.
He urged the umpires to never allow a crowd to intimidate them and advised them not to be scared to make mistakes.
“Mistakes will be made, feel free to make mistakes. A mistake is not a crime, it is part of who you are. I don’t want any of you to feel jaded or to feel any pressure when you have to do your job. A camera can record what is happening and replay it seconds later, but an umpire has a spilt second to make a decision. I would implore you to never ever allow a crowd to intimidate you because if they could have done your job they would be in the middle and you would be sitting in the stands,” King said.
King told the delegates and observers at the convention that they must take on challenges and should never be afraid to let their voices be heard when issues take place that they do not agree with. He encouraged them to present their case even if their views were not in concord with those of the ICC or any other cricket organization.
He reminded the umpires that they were an integral part of the game and even though the use of technology in the sport had increased, there was a human element of umpiring that was still exciting.
“Sports is entertainment, the reason why the people would come to the Caribbean and enjoy the antics of Gravy and Mac Fingall is because they provide entertainment. Even though your job is a serious one, you also are part of the entertainment. Therefore if you come up with creative ways to signal a boundary or to give a batsman out, you should feel free to do so because these are the things that show the uniqueness which has always been part of our cricket,” King said.
King expressed his pleasure that two local umpires Gregory Brathwaite and Leslie Reifer Jr. were officiating on the international scene and said he had been informed that another Barbadian umpire Jonathan Blades might soon be joining them.
“This within itself is an excellent accomplishment, I am also particularly impressed that Reifer is the youngest umpire to be elevated to the international level by the ICC. I have been informed that since his elevation, the Barbados Cricket Umpires Association have seen an increased interest in umpiring among young men. This interest among young men seems to be as a result of Leslie’s elevation. I wish to encourage you to continue to promote the field of umpiring. It opens up new doors for our young people. It is not just about being involved in cricket as a player, there can be umpires, groundsmen, or part of the media. There are several careers West Indies cricket and cricket in general offer to our young people,” he added.
President of the WICUA Cecil Foster in a short address said he was extremely impressed with the number of people who were attending the convention.
Over 100 delegates and observers are attending the convention which ends on Friday.