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WI local: One-Days poorly organised

The annual regional Under-19 cricket championship has undoubtedly played a major role in the development of the game in the West Indies

Haydn Gill
The annual regional Under-19 cricket championship has undoubtedly played a major role in the development of the game in the West Indies.
Many of our Test players have been graduates of this tournament and each will tell you the tournament provided them with valuable experience.
Every one of them will also emphatically say that it was one of the most hectic championships they have played in. The itinerary is tightly packed and there are always plenty of negative physical effects.
There was always another shortcoming in that there was never any opportunity for the players to get a chance at the limited-overs game at that level.
Yet, the major international tournaments in the Under-19 age-group are primarily limited-overs competitions.
What we were doing was selecting teams for these competitions based on performances in a three-day tournament.
When you also take into consideration the limited exposure our cricketers were getting in the shorter form of the game, it should not have come as a surprise that the West Indies have never made it to the final in either of the three Youth World Cups.
By sheer coincidence, a regional Under-19 One-Day championship was played in the Caribbean for the first time two years ago.
It was slotted in after prolonged rain ruined the first two rounds of three-day matches in the 1998 competition in Trinidad.
In an effort to have some sort of meaningful competition in the time available, organisers hastily put together an itinerary for a One-Day competition.
Tournament a success
The tournament was a success and it emphasised to officials the need for such a competition on an annual basis.
They moved swiftly and by last season, a limited-overs championship was slotted in at the end of the three-day competition. It's the same thing again this year.
So is the problem solved? No and far from.
The itinerary features a minimum one match and a maximum of three.
How much can you really achieve in such a brief outing? Very little.
Not only is it meaningless, but it is nothing short of a complete waste of time, energy and financial resources.
If we are going to put a One-Day tournament in place, we must do it properly and not just make it seem to be an afterthought.
It must be a separate and distinct competition from the three-day championship. It should include a minimum of five matches per team, and if possible it should be played either long before or after the longer version.
By doing so, players would be fresh and teams would be given the option of selecting a few players who may be One-Day specialists.
Under the current schedule, the young players will be asked to take on the very demanding task of playing cricket on 18 days out of the 26 days they will spend in Guyana.
If there were frequent complaints about the schedule from all quarters under the previous arrangement, when they were required to play on 15 out of a possible 20 days, one wonders how much noise will be made this time around.
Last season, when Barbados won the three-day competition, the team appeared a little tired at the end and it was one of the reasons why we were unable to achieve the double.
Our young cricketers deserve better.