NAGICO Insurances has committed its continued support to Leeward Islands cricket. Imran McSood, CEO of the insurance company said on Tuesday that there is not enough cricket being played in the Leeward Islands and in order to improve the level of cricket in these parts of the region, there must be frequent cricket matches taking place.
As a corporate citizen the best way to give back to the community, McSood said was to have the islands, where Nagico operates compete against each other in a competitive environment while bringing the fans and the community together.
In fact, McSood strongly believes that improving Leeward Islands cricket will eventually help improve West Indies cricket and return it to its peak. "I do believe that West Indies cricket will always be better if Leeward Cricket is better," McSood said. "I honestly believe that a strong Leeward Islands team will do well for West Indies. In the days of the glorious West Indies team….what we saw during that same period is that Leeward Islands produced some very great players," he added. These include Curtly Ambrose, Keith Artherton, Viv Richards, Richie Richardson and many others including the late arrival of Omari Banks. "We (West Indies) were strongest when Leeward Islands had players in there," McSood said.
Concerning the quality of the teams this year, McSood believes the standard this year is higher and it only speaks well of Leeward Islands cricket. He is also pleased with the crowd support he has seen thus far at the Caribe Lumber cricket grounds in St. Maarten for all the matches so far, even before a semi-final match is played. "Rain was falling all day Friday and Saturday and we couldn’t get the match started till 1:30pm; but yet there was a packed house," McSood said. "I haven’t seen that in a long time. This was not the finals or the semi-finals …I am very impressed with the way the crowds have come out and the level of the cricket," McSood said.
Meanwhile, there have been concerns in some circles that despite the creditable performance of St. Maarten players in the tournament, St. Maarten still does not have a player in the Leeward Islands selection. Last year the team finished second having lost the finals to Antigua and Barbuda. But only one player was selected—Romain Doodnauth on the reserve team. McSood, a long time supporter of St. Maarten cricket believes the selection of players is up to the selectors. The players on the other hand have to put in great individual performances consistently during the NAGICO Leeward Islands tournament to impress the selectors. That was the case of Asa Edwards who played for St. Maarten last year. Edwards however was injured and was unable to participate for the Leeward Islands team if selected. "At the end of the day it’s not who made it to the finals it’s about the quality of the cricket and the quality of the players and their individual performances," McSood said. The NAGICO CEO noted that while St. Maarten played well last year, there were not individual standout performances, except for Asa Edwards, the fast bowler who was injured at the end of the tournament. "I am thinking that the selectors would have picked him had he been fit, but he was badly injured with a very bad knee in the finals," McSood said. "It is for the players to convince the selectors not for we the administrators to convince them and I do not believe in getting involved in the selection policy or selection matters," McSood said.