Tony Becca: The franchise system and West Indies cricket

first_imgFranchise cricket matches are supposed to be a way of pulling in the crowds and making money out of cricket, or, according to West Indies Board president, Dave Cameron, and the English technical director of West Indies cricket, Richard Pybus, it is one of the ways to develop West Indies cricket. Both ways can be right, but in West Indies cricket, both are wrong, and definitely so. As Mark Nicholas of BBC fame wrote recently, “Franchises spread West Indies cricket so thin that the franchises are a terrible sop. It is as if a fancy name will change anything.” Like everything else in life, it takes money and good sense to make money. Either that, or one must have some very good friends, or one has to be lucky, very lucky. On top of that, franchise cricket, a form of cricket in which players are bought and sold, does not, or should not, include sovereign nations. West Indies cricket is losing ground. In fact, it has lost ground for some years and is now trying desperately to find its way back. West Indies cricket is really falling apart, and the West Indies Cricket Board, in a desperate attempt to halt the slide, to improve the skill of its cricketers, and to make some money has gone the franchise route. Apart from money to make it work, however, franchise cricket, needs proper planning, a good atmosphere, and it needs competitiveness. The Professional Cricket League consists of six teams, not Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, the Leeward Islands, and the Windward Islands as usual, but the Jamaica Scorpions, Barbados Pride, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, Guyana Jaguars, the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, and the Windward Islands Volcanoes. Probably the biggest point about this version of the franchise system, however, is this: for a franchise system to be a real one, it should be free of certain restrictions. For a start, a franchise like the Jamaica franchise should be free to buy players from anywhere and from any country in order to strengthen their team. It should not be restricted to West Indian countries, and it should not be a forced situation. Even if a country has the money to accommodate a player or two – or any number for that matter – a country should not be expected to contract a player unless it needs to do so. If a country’s players are better than others in the market, why contract one? It may be too early to see the folly of the franchise system. However, right now, after Jamaica’s embarrassment in losing seven wickets for 20 runs in one session, despite the presence of a foreign player, although they came back to win, and after the Leeward Islands declaration at 24 for seven in the first session and losing the match inside two days, it certainly is cause for concern. The other concern, based on the lack of support for the competition and for the West Indies team, is this: where will the money come from to keep this system one going? The franchise system is not working out. Based on the crowds, it is not working in terms of money, and based on the action, it is not working in terms development, and certainly not when teams find it difficult to bat out one session. Players from other territories Free of certain restrictions This year, the territories were ordered to accept players from the other territories. The names sound impressive, like those of the American franchises. The difference, although it may be really too early to tell, is the appeal of the American franchises, the money they make daily, the quality of the players, and the competitive nature of the tournament. This season, the board, which is the source of funding for each team, has made it compulsory. Each team must have two or three overseas players in its squad of players and each franchise must have a manager, a marketing man, a coach, a physiotherapist, a trainer, a doctor, and an accountant. The plan is that the board will provide each franchise with money, some US$45,000, to run the franchise each year, and the territories are to select a squad of 15 players, including two or three overseas (West Indies) players for the tournament to be played as return matches and run from November to March. With some US$27,000 going to the salaries of the players, only approximately US$18,000 is left to pay all other expenses. The first question which must be asked is this: what will happen to the respective boards during all this? Will they simply mark time from day to day doing almost nothing, or will they serve the board as well as the franchises in a move to save the franchise some money? If this is so, if one man serves a territorial board and also serves a franchise, is it a move which could spell trouble in the long run? Another question is this: what is a franchise? Is it a group granted authorisation to carry out special commercial activities, is it an individual within a group that is granted such authorisation, or is it that one leads to the other? Is it that the West Indies Cricket Board is the franchise, or is it that Jamaica, for example, is the franchise? Is the WICB the franchise owner, and is Jamaica one of its members? Is Jamaica expected to finance itself, and expected to share any profits, or losses with the board? Is it that the West Indies Cricket Board is expected to finance Jamaica as the Jamaica franchise, or is Jamaica expected to develop young cricketers, to produce cricketers, through its own resources for the West Indies-Jamaica franchise? Will the franchise team, its players and its management team, replace, for example, the Jamaica Cricket Association as guardians of Jamaica’s cricket, in the school, the clubs and parishes, etc? West Indies cricket is weak, some of the regional teams and many of the clubs are very weak, and the franchise system is seen, in some quarters, as the way to improve standards and to balance things. Once upon a time, when a team was weak, people, like coaches, worked to improve the players’ skill. After this, however, people will simply shop around for a replacement, from anywhere, and according to the board, or so it seems, even from weaker teams. This, as sure as the night follows the day, will eventually lead to a situation where the stronger the bank account, the stronger will be the team, unless, of course, the governments of the West Indian territories step in and protect the sovereignty of their country.last_img read more

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After living away from home for years DFCs grads talk about how

first_imgWillow FiddlerAPTN News They say it takes a community to raise a child- but what happens when children have to leave their communities for an education?Tanisha Chikane left her home and family in North Caribou Lake First Nation, to attend Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School in Thunder Bay 500 km to the south.She was only 14 years old at the time.“That was hard,” she said. “I didn’t have anybody to look out for me for a while and I had to learn to look out for myself.”Now, Tanisha is being celebrated for her accomplishments.The valedictorian just graduated with 23 of her classmates.The reality for many First Nations in northern Ontario means students have to leave their communities to attend high school.Aaron Guthrie has been a teacher at DFC for nine years.“They’re the ones who’ve made the sacrifice, who’ve said I want to graduate high school and I’m going to put my life on hold,” Guthrie said.He said that also means saying goodbye to parents, siblings and sometimes their own children to move away.High school can be a challenging time for any student and that’s no exception at DFC. Students often travel hundreds of kilometers by plane and road to get to Thunder Bay.Visits home are limited to holidays.Valedictorian Tanisha Chikane and her daughter Baelee. Tanisha plans to pursue welding in college. Photo: Willow Fiddler/APTNTanisha became a mother at 15. She had to leave her daughter Baelee at home with family so she could finish high school.“My mother wouldn’t let me drop out so, she wouldn’t sign the papers,” Tanisha said with a chuckle.She said she focused on her assignments and gave it her all for one reason.“My daughter. I figured since I’m out here I should do my best,” Tanisha said.Guthrie said the students need a supportive community to succeed. At DFC, that means having staff who are committed and dedicated to student life outside of the classrooms.“I tell people all the time I’m not just a teacher. I feel like I’m a part-time teacher, part-time social counselor, part-time friend, part-time parent, part-time coach like we play a lot of roles in our student’s lives,” Guthrie said.Miguel Quequish, also from North Caribou Lake First Nation, faced his own challenges throughout high school.Five years ago, his sister Cheyanne died by suicide.“It was kinda hard the first two years,” Miguel said about her death.“She was like a mom to me. She would always make sure I was well-fed, made sure I made it to school on time.”Miguel Quequish from North Caribou Lake First Nation lost a brother and sister to suicide. They told him to never give up on his education and he plans to go to college in the fall. Photo: Willow Fiddler/APTNThen last October, his brother Trevor also died by suicide.Miguel said he wanted to give up.“It was hard to go back to school. I didn’t feel like going, I didn’t feel like coming out to DFC,” Miguel said through tears.“But the staff and other fellow students helped me pull through and I would like to them for that.”The needs of the students at DFC are diverse and unique but it’s also what brings them together as a community.“We know the kids don’t have their parents with them here, we know that they might need an extra hand, we understand that the majority of our students are coming with some type of traumatic life experience in their back pocket,” Guthrie said.Destiny Fiddler, a young mother from Sandy Lake First Nation, left her daughter at home with her family so she could get her high school diploma. Destiny is going to pursue nursing so she can work in northern communities. Photo: Willow Fiddler/APTNDestiny Fiddler became a young mother two years ago.She came to DFC to graduate last year while her daughter Creelyn stayed home with her family in Sandy Lake First Nation, 600 km northwest of Thunder Bay.She stayed connected to her daughter through FaceTime calls and short visits home.“I kept telling myself and people kept telling me that I was doing it for my daughter and her future,” Destiny said.The future is something Alaina Sakchekapo is excited about. When we first met her two years ago, she had already lived in seven different boarding homes.“Because I didn’t have a stable boarding home, DFC was my stable place,” Alaina said at the graduation ceremony.Alaina kept busy with sports, academics and extracurricular activities. She most recently traveled to Parliament Hill in Ottawa where the students met with political leaders to discuss their needs.“It was very humbling and it really broadened my horizons of what I can do,” she said about her involvement at DFC.Alaina Sakchekapo from North Caribou Lake First Nation lived in 13 different boarding homes while attending high school in Thunder Bay. She is getting her own place with her sister and going to college in the fall. Photo: Willow Fiddler/APTNAlaina said she is planning to stay in Thunder Bay to work for the summer and wants to pursue university to become a teacher – she’s already found her own apartment with her sister.“I’m adulting,” she said with excitement.Miguel said he hopes his brother and sister are proud of him.“They would always threaten me, better finish or else I’m going to break your Xbox or my sister would be like don’t come home until you get that diploma,” he said laughing.Miguel said he doesn’t intend to quit now either, he plans to attend college in the fall.Tanisha said she is also planning to go to college to pursue welding – a skill she picked up thanks the trades program at DFC.While some students have their eyes set on college and university, Guthrie said that’s not always a priority for students.“They’ve been away from home since they were 14 years old and they yearn to go back to live on the land,” he said about the importance of returning home.“To reconnect with their parents and their siblings and their grandparents and you can’t blame them for that.”Valedictorian Tanisha Chikane from North Caribou Lake First Nation. Photo: Willow Fiddler/APTNIn her valedictorian speech, Tanisha said it helped to be in a supportive environment with her peers.“Being around everyone and being a First Nations person gives me such motivation to do the best I can, at all I do,” she said.Both Destiny and Alaina said while they are sad to leave the school they are grateful for the experience.“They make you feel like you’re family right away,” Destiny said, who plans to pursue nursing so she can work in northern communities.Alaina said she is leaving with many great memories but one thing stands out for her.“The people that have helped take care of me while I was out here,” she said.But at the end of the day, it’s the students who deserve the diplomas they’ve worked hard for.“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it,” Tanisha [email protected]@willowblasizzolast_img read more

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