A serious approach must be taken by the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) towards the growth and development of women’s cricket in Barbados, says Hartley Reid, former board member and past chairman of the women’s committee.
As an advocate for women’s cricket in Barbados and around the Caribbean, Reid said the blame for the failure to keep track of female cricketers from primary to secondary school must rest solely on the BCA.
“Where we have fallen down here in Barbados and when I say we it has to go squarely on the shoulders of the BCA. They are the ones charged with the responsibility for cricket. There is no tracking of girls who would have left primary school at the Common Entrance Examination and have gone into the secondary school,” Reid told Barbados TODAY.
He added: “No one knows where they have gone to. So, unless those girls continue to demonstrate their interest in cricket and would have moved to the BCA, [there is no follow-up on them].”
During the telephone interview, the longstanding cricket administrator and commentator encouraged the local governing body to put program officers in place.
This he said would allow the BCA to identify young female talent in tournaments such as the National Sports Council’s Herman Griffith Primary Schools Cricket Competition and the BCA’s Sir Everton Weekes Under-13 tournament.
Reid also stressed the point that, unlike the men who have been around for aeons, the women’s cricket must be fast-tracked which means there is a need to have programs from Primary School into Secondary School then into the senior team.
“Nothing has happened to capture these girls, record them and then also invite them to Kensington Oval where they can have their cricket [nurtured]. So, what we have to do is have program officers, one or two persons identified who would go in the Herman Griffith competition and the Everton Weekes Under-13 competition.
These are where we have to go and capture these girls and bring them into the BCA setup,” Reid explained.
He further charged that there should be a women’s committee within the BCA with responsibility for women’s cricket.
Reid called out the BCA for their silent treatment concerning women’s cricket.
“I do not know if it is working. I have no idea what is the position with it. The BCA has not announced a replacement for Ezra Moseley who was the chief coach and selector for women’s cricket.
So, no one knows what the plans of the BCA are because they have not made any announcements yet,” he stated.
A former manager of several Barbados teams over the years, Reid noted the likes of senior national players Shaquana Quintyne, Shannon Thompson, Hayley Matthews and Shakera Selman came up playing cricket from primary school which made them outstanding seniors.
On the regional front, Reid urged other Caribbean territories to replicate the schools’ program. Cricket West Indies he said, as the governing body, also has to draw up plans and procedures for women going forward.
Also, each territory, from Guyana in the South right up to Jamaica in the north, has to develop their own program in which it can produce cricketers, Reid insisted.
“We cannot have a situation where you are inviting 24 females to Antigua in a camp and you are taking females from the Windward Islands and the Leewards Islands. You are taking them from Jamaica and Guyana. But the only two countries that you know that have a standing program would be Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
“If Trinidad and Barbados are the only two countries that have competitions and women in cricket, how are we going to continue to find the women in the other four territories? How do we go about finding them? And what level of cricket are they when no one sees them? These are the serious issues and areas we must examine to ensure that the region is serious about cricket,” Reid said.
Next year is the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England where there is expected to be a women’s cricket competition. Then the following year in 2023 the International Cricket Council has rescheduled the Under-19 Women’s Cricket.
Reid questioned the readiness and plans for regional players in relation to these upcoming tournaments that are just months away.
“The ICC has now rescheduled the Under-19 cricket until 2023. So, this means the girls who were coming up in Under-19 or who we were looking to play this year, by the time 2023 comes around they have gone past the qualification age.
“If we do not capture these girls from Herman Griffith, Everton Weekes and go into a serious training camp in all aspects of cricket, well then we would only be participating because we cannot be serious about competing with countries that have programs. What are we doing in Barbados for preparation to compete?” he asked.