Toronto cricketers come to learn

23 August 2004

Herman Roop Das (Trinidad Express)

A 16-member team from the Toronto Cricket Academy is in Trinidad and Tobago to improve their basic cricket skills at the Sir Frank Worrel Cricket Development Centre, Balmain, Couva. Plans have also been made by the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) to have the visitors play seven matches against top local teams as well as against the national Under-15s and Under-17s.

Managed by Brian Hale, the president of the Toronto Cricket Academy, the team comprise Riyaz Sheikh (captain), Riyazkhan Pathan, Miles Packeer, Adil Ally, Arsalan Qadir, Sarfaraz Khan, Abhinav Krishna, Rohan Kittur, Pratik Patel, Akshaan Kaul, Tarun Gambhir, Nitish Kumar, Varen Patel, and Kanstaub Takor. Also in the contingent is Phillip Luther, the International Development Officer attached to the Academy. The Canadians previously toured Guyana in 2000 and England in 2002, making every effort to be exposed to the skills necessary to improve their cricket, so that in the long run Canada would be considered as one of the top countries engaged in the sport, according to the Academy’s President Hale.

“Our aim is to demonstrate to the cricketing world that we have the available talent of young players to climb to the top given the right exposure and that is what we have been doing, and will continue in that direction until we achieve our desired objective,” Hale added. At a welcome party organised by the TTCB at the Sir Frank Worrel Cricket Development Centre, last Wednesday, Hale thanked Chief Executive Officer Alloy Lequay for his prompt response to their request to visit Trinidad and Tobago. He said he was impressed with Lequay’s interaction with the Academy officials. “As a matter of fact since our arrival here we have discovered that all the personnel of the Board we have met so far are very professional in their approach at handling day to day problems,” he said.

He was also impressed with the facilities at the Sir Frank Worrel Cricket Development Centre. “From what we have seen so far we are certain that in this learning process we will improve our game and also take back fond memories of your country,” Hale said. “We are here to do everything to make our cricket better and to find out really what makes cricket tick the world over,” he added. He thanked the TTCB for opening up “your doors to us in such a hospitable manner and we must express our grateful thanks in dealing with us in such a professional way to ensure that we benefit immensely from this exposure in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Dudnath Ramkessoon, First Vice President of the TTCB, said the visit would definitely impact on the visitors and would help develop the game in Canada in the future. “We are making every effort to see that our youngsters improve their skills in the game just as you are attempting to do, and in the final analysis the winner will be the game itself,” Ramkessoon said. He told the youngsters that apart from the basic skills that they would learn, it must be emphasised that cricket is still a gentleman’s game and it would help in fortifying their lives in terms of character building. Ramkessoon told the Toronto officials that they were free to use the Balmain facilities (provided they are available) and offered assistance as far as it is practicable.

The itinerary for the visitors is —