Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket inspires
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Coaches and officials associated with Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket in Trinidad & Tobago said the Interval Display during international matches was a huge incentive for many of the primary school-aged children attracted to the programme.
Kumar Rampat, the territorial development officer for T&T, said the young players work very hard throughout the year to be given the opportunity to come to Queen’s Park Oval during international matches and display their skills before an appreciative audience.
Over 80 children from eight primary schools in the two-island republic were given that “priceless” opportunity on the opening day of the second Digicel Test between West Indies and Australia on Sunday at the Oval.
The children hailed from the San Fernando Girls Anglican, Matura Government, Belmont Government, Sipira Road Presbyterian, Torriba Trace Presbyterian, Tulsa Trace Hindu, El Dorado Hindu and Longdenville Government primary schools.
“The Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket programme has been sustained in T&T from its inception in the very late 1990s, giving us a unique opportunity of growing the involvement of primary school children,” said Rampat.
“Our Kiddy Cricketers over the years have worked hard to get the opportunity to come to the Oval and have been given priceless opportunities to experience great international teams at play such as Pakistan, South Africa, India and England to name a few.”
He added: “This year is no different, as Australia graces the Oval, but what is really priceless as a coach is seeing the obvious excitement on the faces of our Kiddy Cricketers as they watched their team, the West Indies ‘live’ in action.
“The programme gives many of these children their very first experience at the Oval for an international match, which we hope inspires them to continue playing the game and continue onwards to further developing their craft.”
All eight of the schools participating in the interval display – along with new Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket mascot, Chirpy the Cricket – earned the right to be at the Oval after they successfully emerged from the National Kiddy Cricket Festival.
Brent Francis, vice president of the National Primary School Cricket League, said the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket programme continues to evolve and make a steady impact on the quality and retention of young players in the game at an early age.
“We are proud that the programme not only focusses on performances on the field, but integrates academics in order to facilitate well-rounded development of our children,” he said.
“We enthusiastically support the West Indies Cricket Board and Scotiabank in this essential initiative and look forward to its continuation into the extended future, especially with activities like the Kiddy Cricket Interval Display.
“This creates long-lasting experiences and opportunity for not only for the Kiddy Cricketers, but also the coaches and parents who support them.”
Heidi Bason, general manager of marketing, Scotiabank T&T, said the game of cricket meant a lot in the region and it was important to make it attractive for children at an early age.
“Cricket is a game that teaches them strategy, life skills, team spirit and at the same time creates a forum for that important physical activity that is being challenged by this age of sedentary digital sport,” she said.
“Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket is also more than just sharing the passion for cricket, but it allows us to help shape more well-rounded individuals who, as the leaders of tomorrow, will be a part of carrying on the rich heritage from which cricket was born.
“A heritage that has joined us as a Caribbean people and one that brings us to the world stage as we compete against teams like Australia, as we are now in the Digicel 2012 Series.
“The exposure the kids get through playing the sport and networking with the senior players is exactly what, when coupled with the skills they build playing the game, will make them world-class individuals with the ability to perform in sport, at work and generally in life.”
K.J. Singh, WICB project officer for the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket, said the regional governing body recognised the important role the programme was playing in helping to promote and develop the sport in the Caribbean.
"The Kiddy Cricket programme is an enormous investment in the youth of the Caribbean by Scotiabank and indeed the WICB," he said.
"It's not just a programme to hone the skills of the budding players, but it also helps primary school children gain and maintain an appreciation for the game, while developing positive values and enhancing the appeal of their education."
The next Kiddy Cricket Interval Display is scheduled to be staged in Dominica on the third day of the third and final Digicel Test between West Indies and Australia on April 25 at Windsor Park.