During the hosting of the current Digicel Series taking place at Warner Park, St. Kitts, a number of West Indian players were engaged in training sessions with a group of enthusiastic and talented kids from the Federation.
According to a release from Digicel, the young cricketers had the opportunity to learn some of the tricks of the trade at the Digicel Cricket Experience, held at Warner Park on the eve of the 4th Digicel ODI.
The release said that the 19 youngsters were taken through their paces by West Indies Captain Darren Sammy, who was joined by Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Tino Best, Ravi Rampaul and the newest addition to the squad, Devon Thomas. All of the participants are Under-15 cricketers from the WICB Digicel Grassroots Cricket Programme and were accompanied by their coaches.
During the session, the youth cricketers were separated into different clusters which focused on batting, bowling and fielding skills and were guided by the West Indies players. West Indies Captain Sammy made the fielding clinic more interesting by having the children compete for one of his training shirts which raised the level of competition and resulted in the skipper having to surrender two of his shirts.
“This is this biggest joy these kids could have,” said Livingston Lawrence, one of the coaches from Nevis who has 20 years coaching experience under his belt and been with the grassroots cricket programme since its inception. “Interacting with these West Indies players has been more exciting for them than the boat ride over from Nevis!”
13-year old Melicia Clarke was the only girl in the group but more than held her own against her male counterparts. The pace bowler from Nevis was very impressive and drew the attention of the West Indies cricketers.
“I’ve been playing cricket since I was seven-years old,” said Clarke. “Today has been awesome. I got some tips on how to hold the ball and run off the pitch and I got to meet my favourite cricketer, Ravi Rampaul.”
According to Nicola Sutherland-Hawkes, the Digicel Group Sponsorship Manager, the objective of the Cricket Experience is to bring the kids closer to the game and the West Indies players, so that they can get a glimpse of what is possible through hard work, discipline and determination.
She said that many of the current professional cricketers came up through programmes similar to the grassroots programme and have achieved greatness as a result. Sutherland-Hawkes added that they want to give the children the same hopes and aspirations and see them succeed in the sport.