March 20, 2008
The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) rolled out its welcome mat for the United Kingdom (UK) Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Tuesday 18, March with Cocktails at the Mount Nevis Hotel.
Sports Minister Hon. Hensley Daniel conveyed the sentiments of the NIA that sports broke down barriers and promoted interpersonal and international relationships. He added that the NIA’s thrust was to use cricket to chart a new course for young people on Nevis.
Mr. Daniel referred to the adage that cricket was a gentleman’s game and crime and drugs were against the ideals of cricket. “I believe sports builds character and personality among young people and that sports through cricket would help young people to reject anti social behaviour,” he said.
He also revealed that the NIA viewed sports as a celebration of excellence and as a public health measure. He said, “We want our young people and older people excel in sports and we want to see more people take sports seriously and link it to health and fitness. We regard this as critical to deal with the emerging threat of obesity in the Caribbean countries among our young people, so we are particularly please to welcome additional competition and additional activities in sports.”
He further expressed that the NIA’s sports programme rested on six pillars namely, Coaching, Physical Education, Participation in Administration and Management, Funding and Financing and the Upgrade and Maintenance of Sports Facilities.
Minister Daniel spoke about Nevis’ cricketing prowess when he mentioned that the NIA was decked with persons who were past Presidents of the Nevis Cricket Association.
He also said “Nevis has the most Test Cricketers for an island of 36 square miles and by any stretch of the imagination, take 36 square miles anywhere in the world and you don’t have that number of Test Cricketers. We have in Nevis a competitive and comparative advantage in cricket and other countries that competed against us has felt the pressure over the years. “
In the spirit of competitiveness, Mr. Daniel recalled an instance of another visiting cricket team who played some friendly matches with Nevis. He said “In 1968 one of Nevis’ outstanding cricketers Mr. Livingston Sargeant scored 136 runs. Mr. Daniel added “I don’t know who would be the Livingston Sargeant that is going to do that on Sunday,” he said.
The moment had arrived for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to respond and the team’s Manager Mr. Graham Monkhouse gave an overview of the MCC. He said “the Club is somewhere around 20 thousand members and there is a 21 years waiting list to join the Club.” He further added that cricketers could get into the Club by their playing ability and the majority of members who are on the tour were accepted into the MCC for their cricketing ability.
Mr. Monkhouse spoke with passion about the gamesmanship of the game. He mirrored his concerns with the way he said the game was played during the day’s when he played cricket.
“I am somewhat troubled at times whenever I would watch Test Cricket, which was obviously a showcase of the professional game. I am sadly worried with the attitude of Test Players and the sledging. I think people can say that most professional sports puts more pressure on people to succeed, there’s more finance in it but there comes a time when people do have to take a stand and say that’s not the way the game should be played.”
He said his team was comprised of cricketers who have a wealth of experience from having played English County Cricket games and more importantly the MCC came to Nevis to play some “good cricket” against the Nevis teams.
“We intend to play the game with the right spirit. We would smile and enjoy the game when we communicate with you about the game and that’s the way we think that cricket should be played and we hope that’s the way you would like to play the game of cricket with us,” he said.
Mr. Monkhouse indicated that he was delighted to accept the invitation from the NIA, the Nevis Professional Team and the Nevis Cricket Association.