BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS — Manager and Coach of the Len Harris Cricket Academy in Basseterre, Mr. Keith Arthurton, is thanking the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis for once again coming on board to assist with youth cricket development programmes initiated by the academy.

The academy, which is situated in Warner Park, is seeking to upgrade its cricket facilities and according to Mr. Arthurton the main objective for upgrading the infrastructure is primarily to create a level playing field for players seeking to use the facility at local, regional, and international level.

“Previously the local development programme and the academy cricketers have been restricted from using the practice facilities during crucial preparation periods,” commented Mr. Arthurton. “This project will enable us to use the Len Harris Cricket Academy when it is necessary for development work.”

Mr. Arthurton, a middle order batsman/left-arm orthodox bowler former West Indies Test player, outlined three areas of attention. These were a separation concrete wall 200ft in length and six feet high as a priority; a second shed to accommodate two teams at practice sessions; and practice nets for school teams, youth cricketers at U-13, U-15, U-19 and the Len Harris Cricket Academy team.

The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis has partnered with Mr Arthurton in the development of youth cricket in the past, and he as a result approached them and the bank agreed to contribute material to put up the wall to the tune of $17,749.65. He was the third Nevisian player on the Senior West Indies team, where he played 33 Tests between July 1988 and August 1995.

The cheque was presented to Mr. Arthurton earlier this month by Ms. Danienne Brin, the bank’s Human Resource, Marketing and Product Development Manager, who said that the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis has had a fruitful partnership with the Len Harris Cricket Academy over the years and would have witnessed the growth of young cricketers.

“Mr. Arthurton’s dedication to the growth of our cricketers is well documented here in St. Kitts,” said Ms. Brin. “It is our hope that through his efforts St. Kitts will realise the dream of putting one of its players on the Senior West Indies team in the very near future. He has dedicated his time to the growth of the youth and we applaud him for his effort.”

According to Ms. Brin, the bank’s interest is not restricted to cricket on St. Kitts but on Nevis as well where it has been a regular sponsor of grassroots tournaments organised by the Department of Sports in the Nevis Island Administration, and also the Masters Cricket. Support also goes to other sporting disciplines as the Development Bank believes that persons empowered in the field of sport also contribute to the country’s economic development.

“I want to thank Development Bank for the contribution towards Len Harris Cricket Academy,” said Mr. Arthurton upon receiving the sponsorship cheque. “I think this contribution obviously will go a long way in what we are trying to achieve, especially in these times where money tends to be drying up at times. So for them to make that effort to make the contribution to the academy I think it was a tremendous effort.”

He explained the contribution would go towards the wall that would make a separation in order to accommodate the local young players in St. Kitts because when there are regional and international activities at Warner Park they put a halt on the academy’s training programmes, and sometimes they do not get to restart for quite a while.

“So I sat down and I came up with this idea about making a separation so that whenever they have their part to play we can just move aside and not getting in their way and so continue our programme, and I think that will create that sort of level playing field for all of us,” said Mr. Arthurton.

“The wall is the first thing and then we are looking at concrete strips that are supposed to be going in for the nets to accommodate the youngsters and also additional shed on the western side of the academy. As long as we can fully establish those sorts of things I think they will go a long way.”

Asked about his immediate aspirations, Mr. Arthurton said: “My aim here in St. Kitts, and you know I am from Nevis but I have been living here for a long time, is always to produce a few West Indian players. The talent is there, but the support is what I need because Nevis has done it over and over in the past.” (Peter Ngunjiri)