Sports Councillor David Wight and brother Chris Wight are unhappy with the state of cricket in Cayman after the national team returned home winless from the ICC’s WCL Division Five Tournament in Benoni, South Africa.
“I’m talking as a former Cayman national cricketer player, and I am really really disappointed and I am upset and I’m embarrassed” said the Councillor. Wight goes onto say part of Cayman’s biggest issue has been the lack of grassroots initiatives.
“There is serious problem in Cayman getting the younger players getting interested in cricket.”
Brother Chris Wight, a long time national cricketer for Cayman, points to the firing of former long time Technical Director Theo Cuffy approximately a year ago as the fall of youth cricket.
“Since Theo was fired, there has been no youth cricket, there has been no cricket teams at the under-13, under-15, under-17, under-19’s, and we cannot continue develop and we cannot succeed without youth cricket.”
Conroy Wright, a national cricketer for 10 years, and a member of the team in South Africa says the current team and Wight’s era are not an apples to apples comparison when looking at international success. Wright goes onto say it comes down to international experience, something Cayman’s current team lacks based on funding.
“They (teams in Division Five) play a good level of cricket, and these guys played most of their cricket in Cayman. So they haven’t really developed that much, the pool here is small and the competition is not strong enough.”
In a lengthy response, Cayman Cricket President Abali Hoillet says they are proud of the team’s accomplishments.
“We are certainly disappointed with the results of the tournament, but not with the performance of the players, the coaches and management who showed great commitment and dedication both during the preparation prior to the tournament and the tournament itself. The team displayed significantly improved performances compared to our last appearance in the competition which, in itself, was very encouraging. We scored over 200 runs in all but one of the matches and there were excellent individual performances from a number of players, including batsmen who each scored half centuries and bowlers who each took multiple wickets in a match. It has been quite some time that we have had such good performances from so many players, which shows that there was great depth of quality among the squad. The World Cricket League represents the highest calibre of competition with the ultimate reward being a spot in one of the ICC’s World Cup Events. To qualify for the event in the first place is no insignificant achievement. The competition gave us a good opportunity to assess the standard of play in the Cayman Islands relative to other countries, some of which have significantly larger populations, or the ability to bolster their teams with immigrants, or have access to significantly greater levels of public funding for the sport. We will continue to invest in the game and look forward to reaping the benefits of our recently revamped and revitalized grassroots development program.”