Gone are the days when a proper afternoon game of cricket was played in the streets; when after the vehicles bearing the license plate numbers P97 and P118 passed, there was no further interruption of the game with the main road or the front yard as wickets. Gone are the days when cricket was the favourite pass-time of neighborhood girls and boys. Now, busy school curriculums, video games and other popular sporting games from other parts of the world have taken over. No longer is the play spaces occupied with youngsters enthusiastic for a chance to play. These games of cricket in the road lead to the emergence of West Indies players such as Elquemedo Willett, Derek Parry, Stuart Williams, Runako Morton and of late Keiron Powell, and although the likes of Victor Eddy, Luther Kelly, Harwood Williams and Steve Liburd have not obtained WI status, they too could be accredited for their great cricketing ability.
It is a pity, that these days, most people in the region see cricket as just another sport that is enjoyed elsewhere in the world, but cricket for the West Indies, in former years, when the team was number one in the world, meant so much more than just a game. It signified liberation, freedom and independence from white colonialism and from the English who believed that they were superior. It was a voice for the people. It was something to be proud of and the players were held in high esteem. We, as Caribbean people should be proud of it because it was and is a great achievement for West Indians. Just imagine, we were number one in cricket and most nations in the Caribbean were independent at a time when our black brothers were not allowed to vote in the United States. Cricket gave us that extra encouragement to venture into independence.
Regrettably, cricket has been on the decline in recent years and although a lot of interest was regained with the Stanford Twenty20 league, International 20 twenty formats and the hosting of games at our state of the art facility the Warner Park Stadium, cricket still needs a lot of help. Help is needed in terms of structure, coaching and other managerial aspects. There is a programme for the under 13 age group, funded by the WI cricket board, known as the Kiddy’s Cricket (WICB/Scotia Bank Kiddy Cricket) and it is presently functioning in St Kitts and Nevis. This programme would hopefully yield our future cricketers. Any help or support that can be afforded this programme in terms of finances, equipment, and expertise would be greatly appreciated by the coaches and volunteers. All efforts should continue to support cricket, especially local associations that are extremely handicapped by lack of funding and consequently suffering as a result of the downturn in the economy.
It is pleasing to know that there are people who are far away from home such as the members of the St Kitts and Nevis Nationals Association of Washington DC, but who are still interested and can contribute and represent cricket for St Kitts and Nevis, their involvement in enhancing the further development of the game would be valuable. Cricket is a part of our history, our culture, our way of life, and we should strive to preserve it.