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CCC to WICB: Please don’t leave us out

By Kern De Freitas

“CCC is our young cricketers’s ambition, our pride, our glory; we have a legacy to protect to show the Caribbean and our fans to show that we are the best young cricketers in the region.”

This statement from Combined Colleges and Campuses (CCC) player Kristopher Ramsaran, of Trinidad and Tobago, was just one of the many impassioned pleas from the “Students” at a press conference held yesterday in Barbados in hopes of persuading the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to change their minds about removing their team from the 2014 regional tournaments.

Last week WICB CEO Michael Muirhead said the regional board is considering axing CCC from the Regional Super50 and Four-day competitions. Fixtures for next year’s Super50 also include Ireland and the US in two groups of four teams, although it is understood that the US may not be competing after all.

The board meets on Saturday, and CCC’s future in the regional tournaments is expected to be one of the topics on the table.

But yesterday CCC–which said it has not yet receive any official correspondence on the matter from the WICB–voiced its concerns for the programme, and players pleaded with the WICB to not exclude them from first class cricket.

“At this time there are hundreds of young cricketers in schools and colleges across the region waiting for an opportunity to enter universities and to play for CCC,” said captain Kyle Corbin of Barbados. “We are the icon for a new generation of young players. We do not wish to see our hopes dashed. We urge your positive consideration.”

Barbados all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite said his stint with CCC helped him cement a place in the Barbados national team, and to experience “my boyhood dream of representing the West Indies (in 2011)”.

He named CCC’s “family atmosphere” and the “Clasico” against Barbados–comparing that contest to the rivalry of La Liga football teams Barcelona and Real Madrid–as highlights of his time with CCC.

Jamaican Akeem Dewar pointed out that he wanted an “avenue” that would have allowed him to both play cricket and pursue his education, which his parents could not afford.

He earned a scholarship to UWI Cave Hill in 2011 where he joined CCC, and he credited the programme with improving his cricket and his life, and allowing him an opportunity to play regularly without having to sacrifice academics, as it is very competitive to break into the Jamaica cricket team that has dominated the four-day tournament for the last six seasons.

“I was a product of the Jamaica Tallawahs team,” Dewar said. “And I believe my selection came through the CCC programme. If I wasn’t playing regular regional cricket, no one would have looked at me to be part of the Tallawahs franchise.

“So we’re all feeling disappointed with all the rumours going around and even the press release last week, but we certainly hope the WICB consider keeping us in the tournament, because over the years we have done very well.”

CCC reached the final of this year’s Super50 tournament, where they lost to the Windward Islands by nine wickets.

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