NEW VERSION OF CRICKET The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 tournament of 2016 is behind us and despite many events of its kind – and many successful ones at that – the world of cricket can truthfully say that this one was a tremendous success. Maybe it was the different types of pitches found in India this time around and maybe it was the different kinds of bowling, especially the presence of right-arm leg-spin bowling, which made it so successful. Maybe it was the quality of batting throughout, the tournament and the brilliance of the fielding which lifted the standard and thus the excitement throughout and maybe it was the energy and performance of the minnows which caused it all. Maybe it was, in the final analysis, the performance of the big hitters of the West Indies which made the difference and the stylish and dramatic way in which they ended the tournament on a winning note, with the ball disappearing into the outskirts of Kolkata. Maybe it was simply an improving mindset by the players. Whatever it was that caused it, it was a tournament to remember and to duplicate and, at least, the next time around. For years now, and but for a few changes, cricket has remained the same. It has been basically the same teams, with nothing new to add spice and colour to the scenery. Cricket, it is said, is a hard game to learn, but that is Test cricket. RANKED NO. 3 T20 cricket is ranked number three in the general scheme of things. It is played regularly in local competitions, hardly in international competitions and up to last month, it was played every two years as a world tournament. Regrettably, it is scheduled for every four years as of the next time. T20 cricket is big business. It is, however, easy to play, it is fun, it caters to the spectators, and although the players, including the West Indies players, or most of them, prefer the Test version, it is the most popular format today. T20 cricket is ideal as a tool to spread the game. The minnows can upset the ‘big boys’ occasionally, just as how The Netherlands defeated England in both the 50-over World Cup and the World Twenty 20 and just as how Afghanistan defeated the West Indies a few weeks ago in the World Twenty20. Those defeats were embarrassing for England and that defeat was also embarrassing for the soon-to-be crowned world champions, West Indies, a few days ago. They added to the excitement of the tournament, however, and as far as The Netherlands and Afghanistan are concerned, they contributed to the growth of the game. The ICC has a duty to its minnows and a responsibility to cricket to let them loose and offer them more opportunities. This is the time to allow cricket to grow. There is a new version of cricket, however. It is T20 cricket. It is taking over like wildfire and it has given those in charge the opportunity to spread their wings, to cover the whole wide world. For years now, there has been a call to add more teams to cricket and there has always been a counterclaim by the ‘big shots’ of cricket that the game would be too one-sided if that was done. There is no doubt that was true. Can you imagine a Test match between Australia and Canada at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and, at end of day two, at the end of the first innings, the scoreboard read: Australia 400 for one or two declared, Canada70 and 20 for five? Who would watch this match and who would pay for the exercise? Based on their performances over the years and their performance this year, however, the minnows, or some of them Ireland, the Netherlands, Oman, Afghanistan, Scotland, Hong Kong and Kenya, deserve their places. And so do others like Papua, New Guinea, Canada and the USA. If they never get to compete, no one will ever know of them, just as we would never have known of players like Mohammad Shahzar; Afghanistan’s batsman Kyle Coetzer; Scotland’s batsman Zeeshan Maqsood; Oman’s batsman Dawlat Zadran; Afghanistan’s pacer and one of the real finds of the tournament, Afghanistan’s young right-arm leg-spinner Rashid Khan. And what of countries like China, Argentina and even Brazil if they so desire? T20 cricket is made for them.
…during annual staff conferenceStaff of the Social Protection Ministry’s Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) were on Wednesday honoured for their hard work and dedication at their agency’s annual staff conference. The annual year-end activity provided the agency with an opportunity to reflect on its achievements and challenges for 2017 and set the tone for the new year.According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), the event was hosted at Parc Rayne, Rahaman’s Park, East Bank Demerara Public Road, under the theme “Diligent commitment, aggressive case management to improve service delivery”.Minister within the Social Protection Ministry, Keith Scott commended the staff for their efforts. “You have done a wonderful job and my hope is that for the new year, you will be able to be more resolved and you will understand the full meaning of the word vocation, in that your job is really a calling and those of you who understand that will have lifelong satisfaction in being able to see your accomplishments each day as you go to work,” Minister Scott told the staff.Scott noted that persons must understand that they have a role to play not only as educators or social protection agents but as citizens. “We have got to reclaim that feeling that as villagers, this global village, we have got to look out for those children…What happened is that we have taken the ‘care’ out of ‘childcare’ and we are going to put it back,” the Minister stressed.Minister Scott noted that in moving forward, parents must also be given support that will see them providing that necessary guidance to their child/children.Meanwhile, Social Protection Ministry Permanent Secretary Lorene Baird told the staff that even as they celebrate, the opportunity should be used to critically review their actions over the past year and plan for the next.Baird observed that the importance of child care could not be overemphasised – children need protection, they need care and they need to be loved and nurtured if they are going to grow up and be somebody. She noted that institutions like the CCPA have a critical role to play in ensuring these children reach their full potential.Baird applauded the CCPA for its work in 2017, but noted that much more needs to be done in the coming years to protect the country’s children. She also said that the agencies alone could not do it, and urged stakeholders to get on board.Staff members received prizes for the Staff of the year (officer); the Staff of the year (auxiliary staff) and most improved staff.