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Sincere congratulations to Mr. Emanuel Nanthan - president of the Dominica Cricket Association (DCA), and now vice president of the West Indies Cricket Board - and members of the DCA for the effort they put into having a cricket academy established in Dominica.

This is a step in the right direction in an effort to improve the standard of cricket in Dominica and the Windward Islands. The man named to head the academy is Mr. Liam Sebastien, a young and promising cricketer who is well qualified for the job, given his academic qualifications and his cricketing status, no question asked.

As I look at this promising and well-thought idea, I cannot help looking back at the poor state of West Indies cricket over the past few years and how best this Academy is going to improve cricket in Dominica and the Windward Islands. Throughout my involvement in cricket, dating back from my school days, I always believe that the sport is not only about batting, bowling and fielding. It is also about reading the game's history in Dominica, the West Indies and the cricketing world.

As I say this, I am reminded of an address I delivered at the prize-giving ceremony of the DCA in 1994, when I made these observations on the topic: 'Cricket as a game and as an institution'; I mentioned great cricketers which Dominica has produced - there have been many, both rich and poor. Who could ever forget the likes of the late former national player, Simon (Sec Moo) Francis, who would frequently walk from Grand Bay to Roseau, with bath on shoulder to represent his Roseau team.

This brings me to a very valid comment I made recently regarding the establishment of a Sports Gallery in our new stadium, in keeping with prevailing trends that exist in all sports stadium the world over. But this has not been given the semblance of a thought by the cricket authorities. Dominica is the only country with a sports stadium such as the Windsor Park Sports Stadium without a sports gallery. Some years ago at an umpires convention in Guyana, I took time off to go to the Bourda Cricket Ground to show the umpires a board with the names of all Test cricketers who have scored a Test century on that Ground in which Irving Shillingford of Dominica is included for the 120 that he scored there, against Pakistan; it is also recorded in the 1978 Wisden.

Just imagine Irving has the distinction of scoring a century in each innings in a tournament here in Dominica and there is nothing to show. Players like Clem John, Norbert Phillip, Lockhart Sebastien, Kaleb Laurent, Thomas Kentish, Cecil Larocque, Augustus Gregoire, Roy Marshall, just to name a few, who have distinguished themselves with bat and ball and there is nothing to show.

So there is a lot to be taught in our cricket academy, please take note.


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