JCA blunder casts doubts on U-15s regional participation
A mere four days before the national Under-15 cricketers were to depart the island for St Kitts to defend their regional title, the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) will have to virtually replace the squad that was originally booked, or worse yet, consider withdrawing from the 2012 showpiece.
Local cricket boss Lyndel Wright confirmed that the JCA overlooked a vital amendment in the competition's Playing Conditions guidelines that rules 12 members of the 14-strong squad ineligible.
While some upset parents and guardians voiced their disapproval at Sabina Park yesterday, a quiet-spoken Wright admitted to reporters that the "error was made by the JCA" since the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) had given written notice of the change three months ago.
"An error was made by the JCA because we received information in May of this year in terms of the age-group limit (but) what was communicated to the selectors... (meant) players were selected who were beyond the age limit," said the JCA president.
The Jamaica Observer did procure a copy of the current Playing Conditions, a part which stated: "A player shall be eligible to represent his country if he is under 15 years of age on or after 1st September 2012. Therefore, players should be born after 1st September 1997."
Conversely, the applicable section of the 2011 version read: "A player shall be eligible to represent his country if he is under 16 years of age by 1st September, 2011."
Wright, who up to late in the evening was meeting with his executive team and the Cricket Operations arm of the JCA, did not rule out the possibility of not participating at the tournament.
"We (the JCA executive) will have to look at how we are going to remedy the situation and the executive will meet to have a discussion. We have not finalised the decision as yet... a part of the discussion (will be) to see whether or not we can field a team," he said, while adding that negotiations with the WICB to revert to the old guideline proved futile.
Joy Charlton, guardian for player Jason Tapper, who was openly critical of the JCA's oversight and was also curious about the reason for the WICB changing the age qualification for players, said she is disappointed in all parties involved.
"I'm annoyed!" she exclaimed.
"...Brought him into camp yesterday (Tuesday) and today (Wednesday) they are telling us to pick him up because they made a mistake. I really think this is a shame. The children are devastated.
"They were expecting to travel on Sunday and they are being told today that another team is going to be drafted and they are to be sent home. I am disappointed in everybody who is involved in this chaos."
Wright was more direct in placing the blame on the shoulders of the Cricket Operations and the JCA secretariat.
"I think that Cricket Operation has a major role to play and also the secretariat in terms of the information," he said.