Interview with Mr. Chris Chappell Junior Coordinator TDCA 2003 Season


Colin Mohammed


The core of any competitive club and/or league is with the training and development of a viable, functional and evolving junior programme. We have learnt hard lessons from the past detailing in some regard, a neglect of talented u-19 development. Mr. Chris Chappell has the job of taking probably the largest pool of young cricketers, arguably in Canada from a state of relative disorganization and disrepair into a well-run league to train them for eventual promotion and ultimately National selection.

It is incumbent upon us to encourage our junior players to aspire to high ideals. Canada is poised at a do or die point. The issues raised with selection of our current National team will be addressed by the development of a strong junior programme within the urban centers, Provincially and Nationally. Mr. Chappell's efforts, I hope will lead to success and begin that trek to have players on the 2007 World Cup team, products of a unified, Canadian junior league.

Thank you for consenting to this interview Mr. Chappell, I know that the readership is anxious to find out about your plans to rejuvenate the junior progamme in the coming season. Can you give us some of your cricketing qualifications that will give a better understanding of your abilities?

A: I have been playing cricket for over 40 years, 32 in the T&D and 17 for Canada. I was a member of the 1979 World Cup Team and have been involved with cricket at both the local and international level. I reestablished the cricket program at Upper Canada College and have coached there for the past three years.

Q: In regards to the nagging question about player development, how do you propose to change the current 25 over structure to better prepare the juniors for 50 over games?

A: At the current time, the U-19's play 30 over cricket; the U-15's play 25. I believe that the U-19's should be playing a 40 over game so that they have an opportunity to build an innings cautiously. Twenty-five over cricket is perceived to be a slugfest and this is not what we are trying to produce. The U-15's need to find this game fun and exciting. Changing their games to more than 25 overs would create a lack of enthusiasm and lose the fun that we are trying to instill in these junior games.

Q: Umpires, there's a lack of quality umpiring within the Junior progamme, mostly because they were viewed in the past as a "non entity" can you clarify as well as state your position on creating a defined umpiring structure?

A: There hasn't been any discussion yet with regard to the umpiring situation, but I feel strongly that at least 1 T&D umpire should be utilized in every game. The existing situation needs to be changed.

Q: In terms of steadfast rules governing junior movement into higher divisions? In the past, junior teams were plagued with their players being called up last minute to higher divisions leaving games in limbo. Would there be any laws governing such movements?

A: If there is to be any credibility to the junior league, all players need to finish games. Leaving games in limbo or leaving a team short handed is not tolerable. Starting games earlier is not possible, so other ideas need to be addressed. If we want to expand the games to 40 overs, 2 days may be required to finish the games. Maybe the games are played on Saturday and Sunday mornings, perhaps Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Whatever the solution ultimately is, having players leave early is not an option.

Q: There exists a tremendous pool of talent within the Toronto, Peel and other GTA school boards, as well as within the private school system. Can you comment on bringing these entities to the TDCA?

A: There is a tremendous amount of talent in the Toronto area that needs to be found and cultivated. Integrating these kids into the T&D will not happen overnight, nor is that necessarily the best solution. Coordinating the School Boards and all the schools and kids within, will be a tremendous challenge. We have some leads into all the area school boards, but this will not happen immediately and we are a little late in commencing this project for this year. While I believe that we will have some type of structure in place for these kids this year, it will probably be quite small and localized.

Q: Chris, as a corollary to the above question, are there any plans to develop an elite system, via special coaching clinics, invitational tours or other means within the TDCA Juniors?

A: One of the biggest problems of cricket in Canada is the lack of quality coaching. Kids need to be attracted to the sport and for that to happen, qualified coaches are required. Games and practices need to be fun and productive. To this end, I envisage that qualified coaches be enlisted from abroad to travel to Canada and enroll interested people into Level I and Level II coaching certification programs. Once we have the coaches in place, camps and coaching clinics can be started at different venues throughout the region. There are no tours planned as far as I am aware this year. I believe that if we are to develop the players in the region, coaching needs to be the primary goal for this year.

Q: In terms of development, the ICC has a directive to encourage more female on the field, any plans to approach this?

A: This hasn't been broached as yet, but I would think that as we enter the schools in the area, many girls might be interested in participating. There is no reason why girls cannot get involved with cricket in Canada.

Q: Would you approach any change in the infrastructure. For example, sponsorships, coloured clothing to make the junior game more attractive?

A: Sponsorship would be a huge asset and this has been addressed already. I am open to any ideas that would make the game more interesting and fun for the kids. To make changes just for the sake of making change is not rational. There needs to be a plan and concrete ideas that will endear cricket to the kids, and hence kids to cricket.

Q: In the past, there were inter-league competitions, It is a good ground to test the competitive level of the other leagues within the province, is there going to be a resuscitation of this system?

A: I'm all for this type of participation, however, the OCA and CCA would have to get involved to make this credible. There should be a long-range plan for the interaction of all leagues, at all levels. I'm confident that inter-league play will happen this year, but to what extent I don't know.

Q: Thanks, Chris for answering these questions; in closing would you like to add anything else?

A: There needs to be a commitment from all the clubs and volunteers to see junior cricket grow and prosper. This means time, money and a desire to see improvement in all aspects of this game. I've talked to a lot of people involved in Toronto area cricket and if half of these people get involved, we will have more than enough people to take junior cricket to the next level and beyond. I would like to thank you and for showing your interest in moving junior cricket forward.