Cayman Cricket hits six with Legends Reunited

L-R: Desmond Haynes, Christopher Gregory (NCB Cayman), Gordon Greenidge, Hector Robinson QC (Cayman Cricket VP)

Cayman Cricket’s fundraising efforts benefited from the presence of the sport’s most iconic opening partnership, as Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes were the featured guests at the Cricket Legends Reunited weekend of events.

The weekend featured an 18-hole golf tournament at North Sound Golf Club on Friday, 17 March, where teams of four were able to interact with the West Indies greats.

They also stopped by the regular Saturday morning training sessions for young cricketers and offered tips to around a dozen players about how to improve their game before posing for pictures and signing autographs.

Then was a gala dinner at the Marriot Grand Cayman Beach Resort. Welcoming supporters and sponsors, Cayman Cricket president Abali Hoilett said hosting the Cricket Legends Reunited weekend of events was an important step in heling rebuild the sport locally.

Dir. of Sports Collin Anglin, Asst. Chief Officer Joel Francis, Gordon Greenidge, Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden, Desmond Haynes, Cayman Cricket President Abali Hoilett.

“We, as an organisation and cricketing family, have come a very long way over the past two and a half years. Tonight’s event is yet another milestone in the relaunch of cricket in the Cayman Islands,” Hoilett said.

Funds raised from entry fees to the golf tournament, tickets to the gala dinner and from auctions of cricket memorabilia will be used to bolster the association’s programmes, especially those targeting the youth, Hoilett noted.

“The future of cricket rests with the youth,” he said. “And this has been one of the driving forces behind the events that we have had over the last few days.”

Desmond Haynes give tips to young cricketers.

Although many attendees enjoyed mingling with the stars, the highlight of the night was a candid question and answer session with the legends moderated by Cayman Cricket vice president, Hector Robinson QC.

They shared stories about their different experiences rising to the ranks of the then dominant West Indies team and their agreement of Australia as being one of the toughest opponents to face.

After talking about memorable moments of their own careers, the focus shifted to the modern game, particularly the T20 format.

“I think that T20 is really good for the game. If you look at the fielding and catching that you see in T20 cricket, to me it is fantastic, it is what the public wants,” said Haynes, who played in 118 Tests from 1978 and 1994.

While he sees it as a great development, Haynes questioned the approach many young players have been taking.

Desmond Haynes takes the first shot of the golf tournament

“I had great difficulties being involved in the Caribbean Premier League a few years ago, and batsmen would go out there in the first over of a T20 game let go one big slog and come back and say ‘coach, I was trying to hit a six. To me, I don’t think that that makes sense,” said the 1991 Wisden Cricketer of the Year.

“If you look at the guys, they feel good enough to hit a big six [or] bowl one tight over and they feel that is enough. I still believe that even with the shorter game, that you should try to work your technique and improve your game.”

Greenidge, who was regarded as a master technician with the bat, lamented that too many players are only intent on preparing for the shorter form of the game, which can land them lucrative contracts in the Indian Premier League, the Australian Big Bash, and more recently the Caribbean Premier League.

“What frightens me is that too many players now want to only practise playing T20 cricket. Nobody tries to hone their skills for this game. If you train and develop yourself to play the longer version of the game, you’re going to acquire all the skills you need to play this game in any form, and that’s what players don’t do,” he said.

Having Greenidge and Haynes as an opening act was only fitting for Cayman Cricket’s Legends Reunited event but Hoilett noted it would be a tall order to raise the bar for next year. NCB Cayman Ltd was a gold sponsor of the event, with DART and Cayman National Bank as silver sponsors, and Mourant Ozannes as bronze sponsor.

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