'Year of Millions'- says Chetram Singh By Roger Persaud
Stabroek News
December 14, 2006

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Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) President Chetram Singh said the year 2006 could be called the year of millions with the Guyana team winning the regional Stanford Twenty20 competition which had US$1m first prize at stake and the staging of the local Shapoorji Pallonji nationwide competition which had G$2.8m at stake.

The President addressed a packed audience at the GCB annual awards ceremony at the Umana Yana Tuesday.

He recalled the excitement generated all over the world when Guyana defeated Trinidad in a dramatic finish in a gripping final for one million US Dollars.

Locally, 32 first-division clubs battled for one million Guyana dollars first prize in the Shapoorji Pallonji Twenty20 cricket competition.

Singh said high rainfall created several challenges for the Board's Competitions Committee affecting all the competitions scheduled but the erstwhile committee persevered and a surprising amount of cricket was played.

He had no trouble eliciting applause for the Guyana under-19 team's performance.

The team played unbeaten in the preliminary round and beat Barbados on first innings in the final at Bourda winning the regional TCL competition after an eight year drought.

He highlighted Gajanand Singh's batting performance of 417 runs with two hundreds and two fifties at an average of 69.5; the performance of Verasammy Permaul who was the leading wicket-taker in the competition with 31 wickets and Krishna Deosarran's hundred in the final of the U-19 competition as playing key roles in the team's triumph.

Singh also lauded Steven Jacobs' fine all-round performance and captaincy as Guyana won both the TCL League Trophy (for playing unbeaten in the preliminary round robin matches) and the TCL Challenge Cup.

The local board was last minute hosts of the competition after Barbados pulled out in the ninth hour.

The president said the GCB received US$200,000 from the Stanford Twenty20 tournament.

This cash influx is being used in various development projects; Singh said among which were (1) the refurbishing of the Bermine Community Centre ground which includes plowing, chipping and leveling of the playing field.

(2)The building of two sight screens, a score board, and a press box at the Anna Regina community centre ground.

(3)The construction of six practice pitches, four turf pitches and two all weather pitches and a changing room at the Guyana National Industrial Corporation (GNIC) ground.

(4) The upgrading of the grounds at Suddie and Bush Lot.

Singh also disclosed that several items were also purchased by the board including one pitch roller, one field roller, three motorized mowers, one 15 seater-bus and four bowling machines.

The availability of the funds facilitated the addition of 21 cricket coaches across Guyana in an important development project geared at the youth of Guyana, the GCB boss said.

According to Singh under the GCB's Development Officer, former West Indies fast bowler Colin Stuart, several developmental training courses were held involving players at all levels and age groups.

He noted, however, that while the number of umpires is currently adequate, there is a shortage of qualified scorers. This challenge will be addressed in 2007.

In an appeal for financial support, he asked the private sector to assist the local umpires' council in their bid to host the 2007 West Indies umpires conference in Guyana. Singh said no report on cricket would be complete without mentioning the International Cricket Council's 2007 Cricket World Cup.

He said he hoped the West Indies could be the first host country to win the World Cup. "No sport or sporting organization can exist successfully without sponsorship, and on behalf of the GCB and its affiliated boards, I would like to thank all the cricket sponsors, for their invaluable support," he said.

He also thanked Guysuco for their sterling contribution to sport especially cricket and offered special thanks to the National Sports Commission for their assistance.