Cricket’s popularity in Cayman has waned significantly in recent years for several reasons, resulting in mediocre results in international matches, but at least some players are getting a chance to improve their game at a higher level overseas, which may ultimately help the national side.
One of them is all-rounder Alessandro Morris who is on a two-year secondment in Ireland with law firm Walkers. He has been in Dublin since November and works as a lead systems administrator.
The 31-year-old Caymanian conceded just eight runs in his 10 over spell, while picking up four wickets last weekend for Malahide against Phoenix. It was their fifth win in as many matches.
Although a newcomer, Morris is leading the bowling.
He has adapted quickly to the higher standards where professionals from all over the world play.
Morris said his team has Irish internationals and a pro from New Zealand in it.
“Players like Kevin O’Brien (best known for the fastest century ever scored in a World Cup, against England in the 2011 tournament) and most of the Irish international players play in the leagues we are in,” he said.
“Pitches are world-class standard. They swing and good spin bowling dominates but if you are a good batman you will make runs.”
He is coping with the occasional cold conditions and enjoys some sunshine although it is still cold.
Morris hopes to top the bowling and get much needed exposure to prepare for the International Cricket Council Americas tournament in Bahamas in November and to help Cayman gain promotion to Division 5 next year at the ICC tournament.
All this experience is helping his game, an invaluable boost that other players in Cayman would appreciate.
“We need more exposure as the players don’t play enough cricket in order to develop,” Morris said.
“It would be nice to get the greats of Cayman cricket like the Wight brothers, Steve Gordon, Pearson Best, Larry Cunningham and Gary Tulloch and others, passing on the knowledge they have gained over the years.”
Nevertheless, Morris is optimistic about the future. “We have Ramon Sealy and Corey Cato also in the U.K. playing this summer. This is the first time in years we have Caymanians getting this kind of exposure but we need more of this so that we can compete with the fully professional teams in the ICC tournaments.
“Since the days when we used to do very well internationally, all those teams like Malaysia, Hong Kong, Jersey and Papua New Guinea have all gone fully professional.
“In Cayman we have full-time jobs and it is tough against teams that play for a Living – even though we are just as talented.”