JCA to use downtime to develop support systems, personnel

JCA to use downtime to develop support systems, personnel

Senior staff reporter

Friday, October 23, 2020

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Though the novel coronavirus has halted its local competitions, the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) wants to move ahead with developing the sport by rolling out several programmes islandwide.

Regional and local cricket competitions have been at a standstill since March when the virus took hold in the Caribbean.

But it is expected that competitive action could resume early next year, providing Cricket West Indies and regional governments can put health and safety measures in place.

O'neil Cruickshank, the JCA head of cricket operations and development, told the Jamaica Observer that the current window provides the chance to lay some groundwork.

“We, at the JCA, had made a projection that we didn't see us going out on the park to play competitive cricket until about February or March next year. We want to use this downtime to build capacity and develop our young players and support people a little bit more. We want to do those between November this year and next January,” he said, during a recent telephone interview.

Cruickshank said the development plans for youth players are to cover skills training in various facets.

“We would like for instance, on a weekend, to have, say, 12 young bowlers in an environment with two coaches, taking them through their paces where all they would be focusing on is the mechanics of fast bowling or spin bowling. Another week it could be wicket-keeping or in another week it could be batting, and all of that.

“We would select some youngsters we would call 'emerging' — those we believe right now are ready to go into enhanced programmes. We would like to find those — both male and female — and take them through special programmes. We want to create a group of youngsters who we believe are a little bit more advanced than others at their age,” he explained.

The local cricket operations and development manager said the sport's support mechanism, including coaching, training and officiating, is also a part of the wider plan.

“We have some plans to do some non-technical work, so we would like to upgrade the people who support the sport,” he told the Observer, while emphasising that competent support staff is integral to the overall development of the sport.

“We would like to continue our coaching development, we want to have a development programme for fitness trainers. We would like to develop analysts — not just scorers — but analysts who can support our coaches and players. We want to increase our management cadre, so we have more persons who we can choose from to become managers of national teams, and also to become managers of local cricket teams,” the cricket operations chief said.

Cruickshank added: “We are also looking to increase our cadre of match referees around the country. We are looking at the month of November to start all of these, so that by the time we are about to play cricket our support services and systems and personnel have undergone development.”

Globally, there have been approximately 40 million coronavirus cases, with over one million of those resulting in deaths.

Jamaica's case count stands at 8,321, including 173 fatalities, according to statistics released up to Sunday.

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