4Milla Academy cricket camp targets grass roots development
Former West Indies and Jamaica cricketer Nikita Miller (right) speaks to young aspirants during the 2022 4Milla Academy Summer Camp at Melbourne Cricket Club..

NIKITA Miller, director of 4Milla Academy, says helping to develop cricket in schools and throughout communities is a major target of this year's summer camp.

The eight-day camp, to be staged at Melbourne Cricket Club, is in its second year and targets children five years and older. It is scheduled to start July 10 and is to run from Monday to Thursday for two weeks. An award ceremony is set for July 21.

"We at 4Milla understand the importance of youth development and having the right kind of support and access at this stage to develop the basics of the game. We are committed to carrying out our mandate to develop all our players — on and off the field," Miller, the former West Indies and Jamaica left-arm spin bowler, told the Jamaica Observer.

An achievement coming out of the inaugural camp in 2022 was a partnership with Mona Preparatory which resulted in the academy providing the school with coaching support.

"We were able to get the Mona Prep cricket programme up and running. We are trying to get more schools involved, to support them however we can.

"We are partnering with Melbourne so players can transition, like a feeder system for the club. We are looking to grow the academy through the club and try to reach the schools and the communities and develop cricket more across Jamaica," said the former Melbourne CC player.

Miller, 41, first represented Jamaica in 2004 and retired from professional cricket in 2019.

He claimed 538 wickets in 100 first class outings at an impressive average of 16.31. He accumulated 2,296 first class runs at 17.52.

He played 50 One-Day Internationals, nine Twenty20 matches, and one Test for West Indies.

Miller has served as a member of the Trinbago Knight Riders coaching staff in the Caribbean Premier League T20 and has operated as assistant coach with the Jamaica Scorpions in the regional four-day and 50-over competitions.

The academy director said the camp offers the chance to target a wider pool of young aspirants.

"We plan to cover all areas of cricket — batting, bowling and fielding. Also, we will be covering the basic rules of the game, and [provide instructions about] umpiring and captaincy, as each player leaving our camp must know something about the game.

"The camp gives us the chance to interact with a wider group of players for a longer period, to develop the players' understanding of the importance of being a team player, and gives them a chance to showcase their skills in a team environment," Miller explained.

— Sanjay Myers

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