The T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) with assistance from telecommunications provider Bmobile, launched the TTCB Cricket Academy programme yesterday at a press conference at their headquarters in Balmain, Couva.
President of the TTCB, Azim Bassarath underscored the importance of the Academy and heaped praises on Bmobile for its sponsorship. According to the long-serving Bassarath: “This unique programme we are gathered here to launch is an accomplished finishing school for our most outstanding cricketers between the ages of 17 and 22, who have been identified by the Cricket Board as future national, regional and international stars. And we are especially pleased to have Bmobile, our premier telecommunications provider once again coming forward to exercise their corporate responsibility in the interest of the development of cricket and our promising young men.
“Bmobile has previously pioneered, in conjunction with the Cricket Board, a mentorship programme for age group cricketers involving world batting record-holder Brian Lara, which apart from being groundbreaking, inspirational and very successful. The company has stepped up its game and we are very proud to have the prestigious Bmobile brand associated with this well-executed and visionary programme. It is no understatement to say the Bmobile TTCB Cricket Academy seeks to embellish the great latent cricket talent which is present in every nook and cranny of the twin-island nation.”
The programme was first introduced in 2002 and according to Bassarath: “This mentorship initiative was described as revolutionary and was indeed unique in its structured format which served to elevate our best players for the international stage. At its inception, among those who benefitted were Kieron Pollard, Kevon Cooper, Gregory Mahabir, Sherwin Ganga, and Amit Jaggernauth who are all accomplished cricketers in their own right. Since 2009 when the insightful and innovative programme was restructured in my first term as president of the Cricket Board, we have seen the emergence of several outstanding cricketers among whom are Khary Pierre, Derone Davis, Akeal Hosein, Philton Williams, Ewart Nicholson and the talented Ottley brothers, namely Kjorn and Yannick.
In the Bmobile TTCB Cricket Academy, the youngsters will spend 90 per cent of their time in a live-in camp over several weekends at the Sir Frank Worrell Development Centre, doing technical work associated with their specialities. They will get the opportunity to polish their physical and mental talents in anticipation of the challenges ahead as they are all poised on the doorstep of regional and international recognition.
Apart from the nitty-gritty of honing their skills in practical aspects of the game on the field and in the classroom at the highly regarded Sir Frank Worrell Development Centre, the academy inductees will also be schooled in other equally important subjects complementary to their ascension.
These include introducing the boys on handling the media attention which is certain to come their way; motivational lectures to structure their mental preparedness; insights on money management when they reap the rich rewards of their hard work and sacrifice; developing self-awareness; and crafting inter-personal communication.
Also included in the comprehensive program are lectures on nutrition, cricket history and other aspects that are certain to contribute to their successful development as all-around holistic athletes.
Rhonda Lee Yapp senior manager of marketing and communications at TSTT said: “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement. I believe remarkable achievements can be accomplished if one lives by this mindset. I also believe, the fact that we are all gathered here is confirmation that young sportsmen selected to participate in the bmobile cricket academy for 2018 are on the right path to living this mantra.
“Our partnership with the TTCB began in 2016 when we hosted the very first Future Stars Cricket Programme during which a list of experienced local coaches including bmobile brand ambassador Brian Lara trained, educated and mentored the participants as they prepared for their respective West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional tournaments. The bmobile future stars cricket programme was held just before the competition and each team returned home with a regional title.”
Lara did a live video link from India and urged the 18 young men to take advantage of all that has been given to them and to work hard to achieve their goals. He said he would join them as soon as he returns from India.