KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange has announced, “initiatives being taken by the Ministry to give new life to cricket in Jamaica.”

Speaking at press briefing at Sabina Park on Thursday, Grange said that the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) had conducted a cricket talent search and that the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) was investing in a cricket development programme in primary schools.

“The island's best young cricketers were selected from INSPORTS summer camps conducted between July 12 and August 13 following an island wide talent search. The last five days were taken up with a residential development camp, the first such camp to be held by INSPORTS,” the minister said.

She added that the main aim of the search was to identify Under-14 age-group players who would be eligible to represent the country in 2022 at the Under-15 level. Seven players ranging from five to 11-years-old have been put together in a player development nursery.

“Meantime, the SDF will invest $12.3 million in a primary school cricket initiative in 120 schools across Jamaica to get youngsters at the primary age interested in playing the game,” Grange said, adding that, “$4.5 million has been approved to be spent in the last quarter of 2021 for the project which will begin with 30 schools depending on the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the country.”

Grange also stated that the ministry is interested in getting a T-20 competition started in high schools.

“As I see it, we have to build from the ground up and that is why this project by the INSPORTS became so necessary. For a first time effort, the Institute has done a fine job with the cooperation of the JCA,” the minister said.

At the press briefing, some of the players in the five-to-11 group showed off their batting skills with Minister Grange looking on. The minister then presented the youngsters with INSPORTS certificates of participation and school bags with books and stationery.

President of the Jamaica Cricket Association, William ‘Billy’ Heaven, thanked both the minister and INSPORTS for “this bold and historic move.”

From the Jamaica Observer