Poor selection process at youth level nothing new in Guyana
– U-19 Inter-County continues to affect CSEC student-athletes
By Brandon Corlette
Familiar trends continue in Guyana’s cricket; from poor selection at the youth level to the Under-19 inter-county tourney being held simultaneously with the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examinations. In the ongoing Hand-in-Hand U-19 3-Day inter-county, some surprise selections were made, particularly in the Guyana Select U-17 team.
Among the notable omissions were former Guyana U-15 players Jonathan Rampersaud, a gifted off-spinner who is capable with the bat and star wicket-keeper batsman Shamar Yearwood. The present Guyana U-15 players Isai Thorne, Rampertab Ramnauth, and Alvin Mohabir were not given the opportunity to play in the U-19 inter-county tournament with the Guyana Select U-17 team, after registering solid performances.
Thorne, arguably the fastest bowler in his age group, has represented the Guyana U-15s twice in as many years and he has a bit of experience. In the recently-concluded regional tournament in Antigua, he had a good showing with the ball. His Berbician team-mate Ramnauth was also disappointed in his exclusion from the Select U-17 team.
The elegant stroke-maker was the leading batsman at the inter-county U-15 tournament with 251 runs, including a high score of 147*. He continued his dream year when he played for the Guyana Select U-15 in the inter-county U-17 tournament. In the U-17 tournament, Ramnauth had 109 runs with a high score of 76 in the three-match tournament. He accumulated similar runs with Matthew Nandu (103) and Sarwan Chaitnarine (109) who are currently in the Guyana Select U-17 team.
Nandu and Chaitnarine are class acts who deserve their opportunity but Ramnauth should have made the cut in the Guyana U-17 team. Ramnauth also scored 114 against Jamaica U-15, 57 against Windward Islands U-15 and 92* against Trinidad and Tobago U-15 in the final round of the Regional U-15 tournament in Antigua.
It now seems that performance does not earn selection these days, but Guyana U-15 Captain Zachary Jodah, who has also been a consistent performer, is currently in the Demerara U-19 team. His performances may have earned him selection as did those of the West Indies U-16 sensation Mavindra Dindyal, who is in the Guyana U-17 team. Dindyal is easily the best batsman at his level; he shows his class against any opponent; hence, his readiness at the U-19 levels.
The biased selections have also been on display over the years in the Ancient County of Berbice: recently, the Albion Cricket Club have also been concerned that only a few of their players who have been performing are making the Berbice youth teams.
In addition, the U-19 inter-county is slated annually around the May-June period. This time is known as exam time in Guyana for the fifth form students who are often between the ages of 16 and 18. This tournament continues to affect the cricketers who often opt out of school to pursue their dreams in cricket.
Others give up their dreams in cricket and pursue academics, since education is the key to success, and it allows student-athletes to fall back on something, since there is life after cricket. The issue with the poor selection process at the youth level requires addressing as do the timing of the staging of the U-19 inter-county tournament.