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Facilities Must Be A Prime Priority In 2007

By Orin Davidson
The cricket season may have ended six months ago, but it is always instructive to reflect at the end of the calendar year.

Everyone indulges in the practice, hence cricket should be no exception, and more so because it needs much inspection to advance to the next level of development.

Standard-wise, encouraging advances were made in 2006 despite the absence of proper facilities. The sport is now played at a serious level by a much larger population of youngsters compared to 2005 and before.

And it is splendid to observe that training schemes are being recognized throughout the United States for the value they are to development.

Many cities took the lead of New York’s Cricket International youth development program which kick started the drive four years ago.

Presently, the results are in black and white for the world to see.

America’s Under-19 team was the first from the country to qualify for any level of World Cup competition and this year went on to win at least one match in its debut in faraway Sri Lanka.

Junior players dominate the composition of club teams like never before and the exposure, albeit in archaic conditions, have resulted in a steep rise in standard.

A much younger national senior team almost ran Bermuda and Canada out of the Americas Cup this summer.

It is now only left to the administrators to find the necessary facilities to fast forward the current rate of advancement.

The discovery of the Miramar Park which has all the basics for international standard, in Florida will help.

So will be the Broward County Stadium there, when it is completed next year.

But it is in New York and the Tri State area where the establishment of a stadium or other facilities close to such a description, will have the biggest impact.

No one will ever doubt that the largest pool of talent exists here and the technical expertise to go with it.

But so far all plans to build and refurbish were shelved or placed halfway there in 2006.

The Floyd Bennett Park is the ideal location, but it seems the wherewithal to get the project off the ground from the preliminary stage is sadly lacking.

And from casual observation many more such potential facilities exist around the city, but the political support needs strengthening.

So far the city has included a cricket field in its plans for the re-development of Canarsie Park in Brooklyn.

That project is due for completion next year also.

The Park’s opening should create some momentum for the drive to make cricket an integral part of future plans at City Hall.

It is now left to the powers-that-be in the sport’s circles to capitalize on that momentum in 2007.
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