March 29, 2009

Chile

Chile squad benefits from youth programme

Kanishkaa Balachandran

Michael Meade

The last few months in Chilean cricket have been quite busy with the ICC Centennial beach cricket tournament in Vina del Mar followed by three touring sides (Honourable Artillery Company CC, Falkland CC & Hollywood Goldien Oldies ) as well as the beginning of the second half of Chile's domestic competition, the Metropolitan Cup.

The Chilean youth development program that started in 2002 is finally starting to reflect on the national team. The Chile squad for South American Championships (SAC) in Sao Paulo includes four Chileans.

Christian Eyzaguirre and Thomas Dawes are both products of the youth development program and we are excited to see them make their debut at the SAC. Tristan Bradbrook and Pablo Mejias learnt their cricket in Australia and will also be making their debuts. Eyzaguirre, Dawes and Bradbrook are all members of Chile’s Under-19 squad which is planning on participating in the ICC Americas U-19 tournament later this year. This will be the first time that Chile will compete at the U-19 level.

The rest of the team consists of four players from last year’s Americas World Cricket League Division 3 squad as well as a pair of expats that were short of their seven year residence requirements in Chile but do have Chilean wives. The squad also welcomes back former national captain Stuart Nelson. Current captain Simon Shalders will not be traveling to Sao Paulo as he and his wife Tatiana await the arrival of their child who is due the same week as the tournament.

The national squad has been training on Friday evenings at the Casa Roja after the U-19 squad training.

Meanwhile, three coaches from Viña del Mar, Villa Alemana and Santiago have travelled to participate in the first coach exchange programme to be organised between the Chilean (ACC) and Argentine Cricket Associations (ACA).

Cristobal Castillo, Francisco Torrejon and Cristian Barrales were chosen as Chile's first representatives on this programme, as all three will be working with local government bodies to provide coaching for municipal schools as of April.

The programme, which is part funded by both the ACC and the ACA, has the coaches involved in education courses conducted by ACA Development Manager Billy MacDermott in the mornings, before working with local coaches in schools and clubs around Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the afternoons. The coaches will also attend nets sessions with local senior clubs as well as playing in Argentina's national Second Division competition.

In total, the programme will run for 10 days and will conclude with the coaches being awarded ACA certificates in coaching, umpiring and scoring, all of which will go a long way in ensuring that the ACC continues to provide quality coaching for its young players.

The ACC would like to thank MacDermott, Gary Savage and Grant Dugmore for helping to organise the programme and look forward to organising similar programmes throughout the year.

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Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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