In the inaugural column of this series (August 4, 2019), Dr Akshai Mansingh, Dean of the UWI Faculty of Sport, stated that the faculty was committed to a symbiotic relationship between itself and sporting bodies to enhance a collaborative approach towards the development of sport in the region. As the Project Officer in the faculty, I wish to take the opportunity to elaborate on this aspect of the faculty’s thrust and share the significant strides we have made in the short period since its inception.
The faculty has collaborated with Cricket West Indies (CWI) to develop its Cricket Coaching Certification Programme. In July 2019, the first Level Two Coaching course was completed in Guyana with 27 participants. The last time such a course was delivered by CWI was eight years ago. This accomplishment involved a UWI-led process which started in late 2017, when an analysis of the existing cricket certification in the West Indies was undertaken, followed by a comparative analysis of certification offered in England and Australia. English and Australian certification were chosen because of their stature in world cricket and the fact that during the eight-year gap without CWI certification, those nations were called upon to facilitate certification in the West Indies.
I would like to thank CWI Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams, CWI Project Officer Fawwaz Baksh, Dean Mansingh, Keith Tomlins (Architect for England’s coaching certification), Ryerson Bhagoo and Keshava Ramphal for their support and contributions to the delivery of the Level Two Coaching course. In the ensuing months and year, the faculty and CWI will review and benchmark the Level Three Coaching course, which is intended to complete CWI’s coaching certification pathway from Foundation Level to Level Three.
It is the ambition of the UWI Faculty of Sport to continuously build capacity in practitioners in sport, administrators, athletes and student-athletes alike. In a practical sense, a team manager or liaison officer should have a minimum standard of training and certification to fulfil such roles and these roles should align with global best practices.
In the spirit of collaboration and development of sport in the region, the Faculty of Sport blazed a trail with its inaugural World Universities T20 Cricket Tournament in January 2019. This tournament brought together five university teams, including USA (Combined) and Oxford MCCU. This was a very strategic move. While cricket administrators focus on promoting the viewership and profitability of the various leagues and tournaments, there remains a glaring void in player development at the tertiary education level. The demand for professional players continues to outpace talent development and preparation for transitioning players into professional and international cricket. The UWI World Universities T20 Tournament is poised to play a critical role in both areas. This tournament is the only one of its kind at the tertiary tier, providing much-needed exposure and competitive grooming for players who require same to advance into professional cricket.
This year, with support from our sponsors, the UWI World Universities T20 Tournament 2019 not only provided the platform for players from five university teams to compete and develop, it also led to a UWI agreement with CWI and the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to provide opportunities for five of the best university players (batsman, spinner, fast bowler, wicket-keeper and fielder) from this tournament to train and develop alongside five CPL Franchise teams in 2019. More significantly, it created a real conduit for student athletes to effectively transition from amateurs into professionals. Trinidadian fast bowler Jalarnie Searles joins Trinbago Knight Riders; Vincentian Keron Cottoy, ranked the best fielder in the tournament, was picked from the main player draft and joined the St Kitts Nevis Patriots; the best batsman Christopher McBride from the UK joins Jamaica Tallawahs; Dominic Clutterbuck from the UK, the best spinner, joins Barbados Tridents and James Seward, also from the UK, joins Guyana Amazon Warriors to pursue their developmental opportunities. Hopefully, CWI, CPL, CPL franchises and stakeholders will all view this tournament as a feeder and/or nursery where young talented players are unearthed and harnessed.
The UWI intends to host the World Universities T20 Tournament every two years with the blessings of the International University Sports Federation, FISU America and its partners. With the participation of teams from universities across the world on a first come first served basis, the UWI T20 cricket tournament will not only advance student cricketers but also provide incomparable academic and non-academic networking opportunities to them in addition to creating an avenue to enhance the international reputation of the participating universities. This tournament will be a focal point or “meeting of the minds” in the area of leadership in sport at the tertiary level, which is expected to contribute positively towards talent development, global networking and relationship building.
Daren Ganga is the Project Officer, Faculty of Sport, UWI. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org