CEO of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Johnny Grave said playing both the Regional Under-17 and Under-19 tournaments during the July/August holidays seems unlikely if the CXC and CAPE examinations are held in July.
The CXC and CAPE examinations normally run from May to June, but because of the covid19 pandemic the exams may be held in July.
Exams being held in July will clash with the Regional Under-17 tournament which usually runs for a week from early to mid-July. Last year’s Under-17 tournament ran from July 6 to 13 in Trinidad. The 2019 Under-19 tournament was held from July 28 to August 6 in St Vincent and if the tournament dates remain similar the Under-19 tournament is more feasible.
On the youth tournaments being played this year Grave said, “If the CXC exams are held in July then I don’t think it would be possible to have both tournaments played this summer (July/August). Once we get confirmation on when the CXC exams are we will make a recommendation to the board.”
The regional Under-19 and Under-17 players would be looking forward to the tournaments in an effort to impress the selectors ahead of the 2022 International Cricket Council Under-19 50-over World Cup to be held in the West Indies.
Grave said CWI may have to make the tough decision and play just one of the youth tournaments. “We may well have to prioritise one…but everything is still so uncertain. It’s really difficult to say what the situation will be in July and August and whether cricket will be back or not.”
A number of tournaments have been cancelled or postponed already this year. In the middle of March, CWI suspended all tournaments from March 16 for a minimum of 30 days, before extending the suspension until the end of May.
The final two rounds of the West Indies Four-Day Championships were cancelled and Barbados Pride were declared the champions as they were leading the standings.
Tournaments that put on hold were the Women’s Colonial Medical Insurance Super-50 Cup in Guyana (March 27 to April 12), the Regional Under-15 Boys Championship in Antigua (April 9-20) and the Regional Under-19 Girls Championship in Trinidad (April 6-12).
Grave gave advice to the cricketers during these challenging times saying to stay safe and continue to follow the Government’s guidelines. He also urged them to build their strength and fitness at home and said there will be regional and local tournaments as soon as it is safe to do so.
The covid19 pandemic also affected a number of youth cricket tournaments locally. The Under-17 Interzone tournament was stopped in March, shortly after the tournament bowled off and the much anticipated PowerGen Intercol T20 tournament was postponed, just before it was scheduled to start.
President of the PowerGen Secondary Schools Cricket League Surujdath Mahabir is hopeful that more youth cricket tournaments can be played in 2020, but their decisions depend on both exams and the CWI.
Mahabir said the PowerGen Intercol T20 competition, which would have been underway at this time, could be held later in the year.
Mahabir, like Grave, knows the regional youth tournaments are uncertain.
“In terms of youth cricket, we are waiting on CWI to decide if they are having a regional youth tournament at all. At this stage it will seem that the Under-17 definitely might be off because we don’t know what happening with CXC. That’s the other problem we are waiting on CWI and CXC to say what they are doing because if it have exams in July and August we can’t pull out the boys to play cricket.”
Mahabir said both boys and girls youth cricket tournaments can also be held when the new school year starts in September.
“The children need to play, they coop up for the longest while (and) they need to get a chance to go out there once they could, and meet their friends and have some fun and relax.”
Mahabir said after exams are complete it is important for children to participate in co-curricular activities because it will help them with their mental well-being.
The SSCL president also gave the youth cricketers some pointers on how to spend the time wisely at home. He said they can be disciplined by training at home and improve their mental toughness.
Mahabir encouraged athletes to read books, particularly books on former outstanding coaches and players. Currently, Mahabir is reading a book on former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.