Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 03, 2008 (SKNIS)
Players from the Len Harris Cricket Academy team were grateful for the opportunity on Saturday, to discuss mental discipline and the rules of the game with members of the world’s oldest cricket club.
Head Coach of the 15-man squad from the Marylebone Cricket Club, Tony Cottey and four other players explored advanced techniques of fielding and batting as well as some of the technical and mental sides of the sport with approximately 12 players from St. Kitts.
“They taught me a lot,” said Andrez, a 16 year old player, as he explained how he now avoids hitting the ball to fielders at mid on or mid off. “When I play [the ball] on my front foot, I lean back and “¦ that causes the ball to go up in the air. They told me I have to keep my head over the ball and play it on the ground. I learnt a lot more about the game,” he concluded.
Jonathon, 16, a teammate of Andrez, told SKNIS that he appreciated that the MCC members took time out of their schedule to help the developing local talent. “It was very useful. It was a great experience,” he stressed. “They shared their knowledge and [game play] techniques. It was a real pleasure having them.”
Coach Cottey indicated that he was impressed with the young players at the weekend session in St. Kitts and those that attended a similar session in Nevis, one week before.
“A lot of talented youngsters are coming through [these developmental programmes], the facilities in St. Kitts are second to none “¦ and a good coaching regime is in place,” he noted, paying tribute to local coaches Keith Arthurton, a former West Indian test player as well as Junie Mitcham who is a Level 3 certified coach at the Department of Sports.
Cottey seemed confident that the efforts of local officials coupled with the cricket facilities will eventually yield success. “With facilities like this you hope that St. Kitts will produce a lot of test cricketers,” he stated, describing the wicket at Warner Park as “excellent.”
“The ground is the best fielding surface we’ve seen “¦ in the West Indies and I have played in Barbados, Trinidad, Grenada and lots of other places,” he added.
MCC Manager Graham Monkhouse reinforced his colleague’s sentiment during a discussion with the Director of Sport on Sunday, the eve of the team’s departure. He commended the hosting abilities of the Sports Department, the professionalism of the staff and friendliness of the population. The MCC official also had high praise for the practical and comfortable design of Warner Park, which he likened to the historic grounds of Lords in the United Kingdom, where the MCC is based. Monkhouse revealed that the layout of the stadium in St. Kitts creates a pleasant atmosphere for players and cricket fans.
Based on the hospitable welcome and productive stay in the Federation, MCC officials were confident that the team would return to Saint Kitts and Nevis in the near future. Last year, the MCC young cricketers toured the twin-island state on a preseason tour.