From boys to men

West Indies players Shannon Gabriel (second left), Kemar Roach (fourth left), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (eighth left) and Narsingh Deonarine (fifth right) with the players and coaches of the St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School. Also with them are Digicel’s senior marketing executive Krystle Smith (left) and marketing executive, Randy Howard (right).
West Indies players Shannon Gabriel (second left), Kemar Roach (fourth left), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (eighth left) and Narsingh Deonarine (fifth right) with the players and coaches of the St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School. Also with them are Digicel’s senior marketing executive Krystle Smith (left) and marketing executive, Randy Howard (right).

Fifteen young cricketers from St. Leonard’s Boys Secondary got the chance of a lifetime when, thanks to Digicel, they were invited to Kensington Oval yesterday to receive first hand training and gain invaluable insight into the game they love from members of the West Indies Cricket team.

Following the regional team’s official practice yesterday, the 15 youngsters underwent a fun-filled, interactive training session, where they were taken through a number of exercises, including warm-ups, stretches, batting, bowling and fielding drills, all while receiving a number of helpful tips, tricks and secrets from West Indies players, fast-bowler Kemar Roach, veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, left-handed batsman Narsingh Deonarine and rising fast-bowler Shannon Gabriel.

†Commercial director of Digicel (Barbados) Limited, Alex Tasker, said the session was part of Digicel’s ongoing efforts to assist with the development of cricket in Barbados at the youth level: “Whenever the West Indies team comes to Barbados we engage some of the local school children, usually by inviting them to the matches. However, this year we endeavoured to be different and come up with something we believe would have a greater impact and leave a lasting impression on the youngsters. By interacting directly with the West Indies players we’ve given the boys the invaluable opportunity to learn from them, as they are the ones these youngsters look up to and aspire to be like in the next 5 to 10 years.” ††

†Over the last few years the St. Leonard’s lads have been continually improving their level of performance in the local junior competitions, becoming one of the more consistent teams, which was the reason for them being chosen this year.

†St. Leonard’s Under-15 captain, Deswin Currency, spoke on behalf of the youngsters, indicating that they were very excited when they heard about the session.

“To go out on the field and actually play with Shiv, Kemar, Narsingh and Shannon was incredible. We love to watch the West Indies play, they are our idols and we want to be just like them, so to be on the field so close to them, talking to them and getting tips to make us better cricketers is something we would never forget,” he said.

Acting physical education coordinator at St. Leonard’s, Christopher Trotman, said the experience would go a long way towards boosting the confidence of the boys. “It’s one thing for them to watch these players or even get their autographs, but to actually be trained by them, have an opportunity to ask them questions, and play the sport they love with them, is something which I think will inspire the boys to perform even better going forward.”

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