Ali: GCB Structure Still Strong
PRESIDETIAL candidate for the stewardship of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and present Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Products Limited (SPL) Ramsay Ali says the GCB still has a strong structure that he is willing to tap into, with an aim of resurrecting Guyana’s cricket.
“I have been a part of the GCB for the past four years and during that time, I have observed the structure which is a strong one. Unfortunately, it has eroded over the past couple of years, which in my opinion occurred due to a couple of self-serving individuals. But I believe the structure is still strong enough and can deliver, but what is needed right now is an amount of hard work and dedication and some new ideas into making the cricket fraternity here in Guyana a business.”
Ali will be contesting for the top seat against two likely candidates in present vice-president of the GCB, Bissoondyal Singh, and former secretary of the GCA, Bishwa Panday, when the election of office-bearers is held on Sunday January 30 at the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) pavilion.
He continued, “When you look around the world, cricket is a business apart from the onfield activities, you have to make it a business idea and a model and I believe that once I am selected to head the GCB, I can bring that, especially with the still strong structure that’s in place at the GCB right now. All that needs to be done is the tightening up of a few screws and the placing of the right individuals in the right place and I wish to say that any individual, who comes to the GCB to work under my stewardship, must bring their own skill sense and be able to work as a team.”
“I am looking for the best individual available to serve Guyana’s cricket. I don’t intend to take a team of individuals who do not have the ability to do what is required towards the development of Guyana’s cricket. The structure is strong and now would be the opportune time to tap into it with a team of individuals who have their own skill sense and are willing to work as a team. I am not an expert on cricket, but with the right people functioning in the right positions, I feel we can take Guyana’s cricket forward,” stated Ali.
Ali, who is the present Marketing Officer of the GCB, endorsed the opinion of Panday who in an earlier interview with Chronicle Sport last September, outlined the effectiveness of a strong board wherein the president and his executive must be a competent and cohesive unit.
“Certainly, I endorse what Mr Panday said 100%. I agree that we have to put together a team that is strong enough at all corners towards the efficient management of Guyana’s cricket. What I show to the stakeholders out there with regard to my plans, I know they will come on board as it is not just a piece of paper with writing on it, but a plan that is achievable, indicating the know-how to get what is desired, as it talks about funding and the necessary human resources needed to get the job done.”
Citing school cricket as the perfect example, Ali said such a programme is vital as the schools are needed to feed the clubs who in turn will feed the counties and the counties the country.
With that in mind, he opined that schools’ cricket cannot develop without the assistance of the Ministry of Education, hence he plans to approach the Minister of Education Shaik Baksh with a five-year programme in relation to schools cricket, disclosing a sponsor, whom he refuses to identify at the moment, already committing for that period and beyond.
“I have a firm feeling of this programme (schools’ cricket) apart from the Ministry who will be bringing their own views and ideas to the table. I don’t intend to run this programme for one or two years, I need it on a long-term basis as it is an important aspect in the development of our cricket.”
He continued, “I am looking at the availability of more cricket grounds, so the game can be played at the school level, along with a strong coaching programme in the schools. These two aspects can certainly help build our cricket.”
Another aspect Ali identified as an important spoke in the wheel of rebuilding Guyana’s cricket was funding of the first division clubs in Guyana.
“If you ask a first division club tomorrow morning what is their New Year’s resolution, you would hear them say to you, funding. My view of this is the use of T20 and T10 cricket around Guyana as fundraising activities, with the host clubs partaking in the proceeds made for the day.
In order to do so, we need to find the gap in between the calendar to create the avenue of having these specially organised fundraising events played, where the best of Guyana’s cricketers would be on show, as they would help to garner the funds at the gates and again, with sponsorship for such being a key, I have already gotten a sound commitment for this venture.”
When told about Minister of Sport Dr Frank Anthony’s desire to see the core group of cricketers being placed on a monthly stipend to train and play at home, the 48-year-old father of two endorsed the idea, saying the senior players are the special spoke in the wheel.
“When you look at what our senior players and even some not so senior players have been doing over the years, you would see them travelling to Trinidad and even England to not only play cricket, but accumulate funds. I have three individuals who are ready and willing to come forward and help offset with the expenses of this project, whose main idea is to keep our senior players at home, with a view of further developing Guyana’s cricket,” said Ali.
“I don’t pretend that I know everything, but I have some general ideas and what we need to exhibit to the general public is Guyana’s cricket has not lost its zeal. We need to have cricket, lots more cricket being played on the field, involving both the corporate and private sector in Guyana.”
With a view to making his plans and intentions known to all and sundry in the cricket fraternity, Ali proposed a way towards helping Essequibo’s cricket, saying the stakeholders in the Cinderella County and the newly elected executives should sit and map out a way forward.
“When you look at the fortunes of Essequibo’s cricket over the past two years, you see lots of talent, but the way forward for this county is not properly chartered. I am not saying that the problem can be fixed immediately, but once the executives of both bodies sit and iron out what needs to be done, in time it will heal and I am prepared to work with the Essequibo Cricket Board towards ensuring that goal is achieved.”
Ali also proposed to have a close discussion with Guyana’s senior players, with a view of turning around our results on the Regional scene.
“We don’t have enough competition for places on the West Indies team. You have mediocre players who are being selected, while there has been a recycling of players. Back in the 80s players such as Gus Logie and Carlisle Best found it difficult to make the West Indies team even while in their prime and only did so when someone was injured.
As president of the GCB, I would like to see many players from Guyana contend for a place on the Regional team, which means we have to have a strong competition for a place on our national team and that can only come from having more competitive competitions played.”
Ali highlighted Panday as his stiffest opponent, come January 30, and even offered to have the former secretary on his executive, since he has the know-how to attract sponsors for cricket and while he did not state what his slate would be like, he did say that he is looking at members from the public and private sectors along with members from the three County boards.