Tony Becca | Selectors’ impact on talent

first_img Even if we do not go there, what havoc would a fast bowler like John ‘Jomo Kenyatta’ Hamilton, a leg-spinner like Lloyd Williams of Westmoreland, a hard hitting batsman like Trevor Henry of St Ann have created had they been given more than one or two chances. And what would a stylish batsman like Gerald Wollaston of Melbourne have achieved had he been given more than two chances – nine years apart? I remember sitting beside Tom Graveney – the England batsman, who, apart from playing for England, visited the island on two occasions with club sides – at a dinner party in a Leeds restaurant one night in 1984, and he asked me what had become of Henry. “That boy could bat. He was a lovely striker of the ball,” he said. Some of them never got a chance because of considered better players on the team at the time and some of them, like Hamilton and Colin Hinds, never got a chance because they were known as “throwers”. The majority of them, however, could bat. They could hit the ball hard, some of them could bowl fast and some of them could really spin the ball. In those days, however, particularly, in the days immediately following the arrival of Lawrence Rowe, no one looked at you as a batsman except you looked like Rowe, as a batsman. That is why a batsman, one named Richard Staple, got so many chances to make the team. I once saw him bat three times in the final trial match of one season at Melbourne Oval. Like Staple and Wollaston, those players probably would never have made it, probably none of the players rejected would have made it and probably the selectors knew that they would never have made it regardless of their figures in the local competition. Their figures were good, with Colin Hinds topping the Senior Cup many a time and Mitchell, among many fine efforts, claiming two hat-tricks and taking 10 wickets in one innings against the Cup champions, Melbourne, in 1969. There were others, some of whom never got a chance on the West Indies team. Batsmen like Neville Bonitto and Sam Morgan of Jamaica, Ralston Otto, Jim Allen, and Luther Kelly of the Leeward Islands never got a chance at West Indies glory. There were also few bowlers who never got a chance, including Robert Haynes of Jamaica and Harold Joseph, ‘Harry Jo’ they called him, and Ganesh Mahabir of Trinidad and Tobago. Nikita Miller, the left-arm spinner out of Melbourne, who has been selected for one Test match, way back in 2009, despite being around West Indies cricket for years and playing the odd ODI and T20 tournament, boasts figures which stagger the imagination, especially in the regional first-class competition. Stylish batsmen Cricket is a funny old game, and I say so although it is my favourite game. Were I to return to this world following my demise, I probably would not play cricket, not if I wanted to go places, not as long as there is a sport like track and field and not if I felt that I had the talent to go where I wanted to go. It is as simple as that and it is because of the selectors. The selectors brook no argument. Their word is final. In matters of selection, they are even more important than any president, or, in the early days when he was an important man, any treasurer. They are supposed to pick the best, but sometimes their idea of who is the best is baffling to the spectators, to the people who sometimes see more cricket than they do, know cricket more than they do, and can “select” cricketers better than they can. They are supposed to select players based mostly on their performance, but sometimes performance gets pushed aside and it gets pushed aside in favour of, for instance, a selector’s perception of a batsman’s weakness against fast bowling, or leg-spin bowling, or off-spin bowling, or his play on the front-foot against his play on the back-foot, or his defence if tested on a poorly prepared pitch. Their assessment is gospel. No one questions it, or should even attempt to question it. Today, I wonder what would some of the players who were ignored in the past have done had they been given the chance, just one chance, which they deserved, to represent their country? What would players like batsman Lionel Webb or right-arm leg-spinner Vincent Doctor of Trelawny, a batsman like Stephen Hinds of St Mary, a batsman like Len Muthra of Westmoreland, or one like Joseph Kirkpatrick of Trelawny have done had they been given a chance to represent Jamaica? What would a wicketkeeper-batsman like Fitz Nangle of Kensington, an off-spinner like Colin Hinds, and a medium-pacer like John Earle of St Catherine, a fast bowler like Junior Hall, and a batsman like Carlton ‘Baje’ Carter of Melbourne, and a fast bowler like Michael ‘Guru’ Mitchell of Boys’ Town do had they been given the opportunity to wear the national cap? Test cricket, up to now, is that by which cricketers are judged, and Miller is still to make it. Every Saturday and every Sunday in the Senior Cup, and every year in the regional competition, he terrorises and baffles batsmen to finish top or next to the top in the most wickets or average columns and yet, but for once when the West Indies team was not at full strength, he never got a chance. Miller’s first-class record to date is 80 matches, 403 wickets, with a best return of eight for 41, an average of 16.87 and an economy rate of 1.96. That is top-class bowling in any company and worthy of a try, a real try. Miller, it is said, does not spin the ball enough, and that is true. He does enough to get batsmen out on good pitches, however, and he is a difficult proposition on a helpful pitch. At age 34, it maybe is too late, but years from now, the selectors, who went through almost everyone who bowled spin in the region for the last 10 years without giving Miller a chance, a real chance, may yet say to themselves: “What if, what if we had given Nikita a chance in Test cricket?” Regional competitionlast_img read more

‘EU to Support Gov’t Pro-poor Agenda’ -Amb. Cavé

first_imgMadam Hélène Cavé, EU Ambassador to LiberiaThe European Union (EU) Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Hélène Cavé has reassured the organization’s commitment to supporting the Liberian government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.Madam Cavé spoke to delegates attending the 9th ROAC-FED meeting currently taking place in Monrovia, and said the EU will also work with countries in the West African sub-region to enhance sustainable forest management through the Network of National Authorizing Officers Support Unit in West Africa, through the European Development Fund to add value to forest resources.She added that the EU and its member states are fundamental and reliable partner in all the countries of West Africa, “not only because of our cooperation, but also for the political partnership we have with ECOWAS.”“Since the signature of the Lomé Convention and the Cotonou Agreement,” she said, “the role by the NAOs and RAO is very important in the context of our cooperation with the host ACP country.“By consequence, the NAO support unit is instrumental in the success of our cooperation, and is strategically linked to the NAO, the EU Delegation and the line Ministries.”The EU Ambassador emphasized that it is important to connect the National EDF programs to the regional cooperation, and also further on to the continental efforts.By doing so, she stressed: “Our aid can be more effective if a clear and complementary link can be made between these different levels. Priority sectors for the WA RIP: Peace and Security/ regional economic integration and trade/resilience and natural resources management, relevant for many parts in the region not the least Liberia. Important to see the synergies between the national programs and the regional program.”She said one practical example is the management of forest ecosystems where the regional program for West Africa will work with local communities including those in Liberia to ensure the sustainable economic development of the forest, while at national level will be building the capacity of all Liberian stakeholders to ensure that the export of logs can be certified as the highest possible price of timber can be obtained on the international market.For instance, fully certified timber can enter the European market with a 20-30% top up on the price. While recommending the regional bodies like ECOWAS, but also WAEMU to steer this regional integration process. Allow me at this point to mention also the key political role ECOWAS is playing in West Africa.For instance, here in Liberia, ECOWAS has been at the forefront, together with AU during the electoral process, when the situation was rather tense during the two rounds for Liberia as for other countries the regional additionally is important.Sanniquellie-Loguatuo road would not have been possible from the National NIP alone and the  €14.2 from the regional envelope made it possible to ensure this vital link  in the Western African Costal Corridor between Nouakchott and Lagos. For the EU it has always been important to help and strengthen regional bodies in Africa since the EU started as an economic regional organization, nowadays it has an enhanced and worldwide recognized political mandate. A similar development has taken place over the years within ECOWAS.The Ambassador indicated that despite being happy to see that migration has a place in the agenda other issues of mutual concerns such as climate change and terrorism need to be considered. “For the EU, migration has been and is a sector of growing importance and increased attention to the development agenda. Some countries are already benefiting from some development projects under the Trust Fund,” She emphasized.“What priorities the region might want to set within the next programming cycle, after completion of the post-Cotonou negotiations. Understand that this is still an ongoing discussion between the EU and the ACP group but it is important already to anticipate within the region and with a West African regional perspective on where the region would like to influence these discussions.”She then pointed out to the delegate “Sharing best practices is a must, I am sure than some of you have developed some useful tools you can share with others. I sincerely wish you all the best in your working session, and that you will go back to your country with new ideas.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Not cutting corners Resources minister says no rushing Trans Mountain review

first_imgCALGARY — Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi says the federal government won’t cut corners to speed up a full review of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.The government bought the pipeline for $4.5 billion last summer only to have the Federal Court of Appeal strike down Ottawa’s approval of it.The court said Canada failed to meaningfully consult with First Nations and that the National Energy Board failed to examine how the project would affect the ocean ecosystem.Ottawa is now consulting with Indigenous groups and the board has been reviewing the marine effects.The board is to have its report ready by Feb. 22.“They are on schedule,” Sohi said Thursday in Calgary, where he was making a solar-panel announcement.“I give regular updates to the cabinet … on how we are … making sure the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion moves forward in the right way, dealing with the issues the court has identified.”Sohi said he has lived in Alberta for 34 years and understands that  oil and gas workers are desperate for the project to move ahead.“We need to make sure that we are not cutting corners. We owe it to Alberta. We owe it to Alberta workers. We owe it to Canadians that we don’t get into the same situation that we got into the last time, which is very unfortunate,” he said.“The way the process works is that the NEB will make a recommendation to my department and once we conclude our (Indigenous) consultations there’ll be a new report prepared for the cabinet to reconsider the decision.”Sohi said he has consulted with 40 Indigenous groups so far and will be going back to British Columbia in a couple of weeks.The issues he is hearing about are related to land-title rights,  protection of water and fish, oil-spill response and marine safety, he said.Sohi declined to give a timeline on when to expect a new recommendation from the federal cabinet or whether any action will be taken before the next federal election due later this year.“I am not in a position to comment on that because my focus is fixing what has been broken and making sure we are moving forward on this project in the right way.”The Trans Mountain expansion would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to the B.C. coast for export to overseas markets.— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Presslast_img read more