Former Barbados and West Indies cricketer Ryan Hinds says cricket changed his life for the better, and has suggested that sports be used to allow others to make a positive contribution to society.
Hinds, who played first-class and international cricket between 1998 and 2014, said that with concerns about some youth heading in the wrong direction, sports should now be used more as a life-changer.
“Cricket changed my life, by providing opportunities for me from an early age as a member of the Barbados Under-19 cricket team, the Barbados senior team, and the West Indies Under-19 team and created a path for me to make a contribution to the society as a cricketer and a coach. Some young people may not be strong academically, but are talented in a particular sport, if they are guided properly and allowed to develop their talent, they can make a significant contribution to society. The society must acknowledge the role sports can play in the life of young people, especially at this time where there are concerns that some of our youth are heading down the wrong path,” the former Barbados captain told Barbados TODAY.
“Grassroots sport draws members of communities of all backgrounds together. I think communities play an important role in the development of young sportsmen and women not only on the field but off the field in teaching life skills that help us to become better people. In cricket, grassroots programs are important, because there is the first step for young players to take to move on to the next level. The majority of cricketers at some time in their life would have been part of a grassroots situation, whether it was organized at the community level, the National Sports Council, or some other government program. I consider grassroots sports as a critical part of the development of a budding sportsman or sportswoman. It would be nice to have sponsorship to assist more of the grassroots programs because they will inject life back into the community and provide a moral compass for some of our youth who are lacking guidance. I have benefited from a grassroots program, therefore, I am cognizant of what this program can do for our youth,” Hinds explained.
Hinds, who is employed by the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) as a coach at the Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence, described the Centre as the bedrock of Barbados cricket and lauded the quality coaching programs conducted at the Centre.
“The coaching programs at the Centre have allowed us to develop players at a rapid rate, our cohort ranges from the Under-13 level to the recently added Under-23 cricketers. The Centre provides a pathway for our male and female cricketers to the next level. Several graduates of the Centre are members of the West Indies men, and the ladies’ side are graduates of the Centre, which is an indication of the quality of cricketer we are developing at the Centre. Money is important, to supplement the programs, but Covid-19 has placed the country under serve economic strain, be that as it may, we have continued to do excellent work at the Centre”, Hinds said.
The former left-handed batting all-rounder who is also a national selector, said a domestic franchise tournament would strengthen cricket on the island.
“What I would like to see from my standpoint as a national selector is a franchise tournament with the best players on the island taking part. I think such a competition would enhance our cricket because the players are going to be competitive which will make the game attractive to the fans. It is my view that such a tournament can also assist our guys that are playing internationally. Sometimes a player is not selected to represent the West Indies because of the loss of form or the lack of fitness, I believe a franchise tournament where the cricket is tough can bring out the best in cricketers who are looking to regain a place in the West Indies. On the other hand, it would motivate youngsters who are looking to make an impact nationally,” Hinds stated.
He added:”We have to be innovative about our cricket, a franchise tournament would add a new dynamic to local cricket, a competition of this nature was being mooted last year, but it was placed on the backburner due to the coronavirus pandemic. I think such a competition will be a vital part of domestic cricket in the future. Cricket West Indies doesn’t have a structured A team because of financial constraints, therefore, we have to find imaginative ways to keep on improving our cricket. Barbados sets the tone for cricket in the region. We have won the most first-class tournaments in the West Indies, and have the most Test cricketers per square mile, therefore, we have to protect our cricketing heritage.”
Since retiring from first-class cricket, Hinds has completed several coaching certificates, including Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) Level one and two, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s level two which he sat at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in 2018. He also passed the level three coaching exam in Antigua which was held by CWI in conjunction with the ECB.