“There is so much talent around, especially in Nevis where you find that because of the barrier being broken back in 1973 by Elquemedo Willett, we have been able to come through.”
These were the words of former West Indian batsman, Keith Arthurton, who sat down for an interview with this media house on Saturday, June 24, 2017, at the Elquemedo .T. Willett Park (E.T.Willett Park). On this day, members of the Keith Arthurton Cricket Academy journeyed over to Nevis for friendly matches, and to meet the great Elquemedo.T Willett MBE.
Mr. Arthurton stated that the academy focuses on creating that foundation which will elevate youngsters to a higher level.
When questioned about the academy being in St. Kitts when he himself is from Nevis, he explained;
“I’m from Nevis but currently living in St. Kitts. When it comes to cricket, the infrastructure in St. Kitts is better and more professional than what Nevis has over here and the opportunity to put things together is easier. We try our best to see what we can do.”
Mr. Arthurton is one of the six Nevisian cricketers who followed in the footsteps of Elquemedo Willett, and likewise, made it into the West Indies Cricket Team. The other players were Derick Parry, Stuart Williams, Carl Tuckett, the late Runako Morton and Kieran Powell.
While he is happy to be able to play his role with helping the youngsters in the academy, and being a role model, he admitted however, that there is much more that could and should be done to improve the sport within the Federation.
“We are trying to develop a relationship with the guys in Nevis because we hope to have more fun days like this where Nevis can come over to St. Kitts. It will be a great experience for them, because, like I said the infrastructure down there is a lot better and the opportunity to put things together is a lot easier.” said Arthurton.
However, when asked why is it that St. Kitts has yet to have a player on the West Indies team given all these comparative advantages over Nevis, Mr. Arthurton had this to say;
“A lot of people ask that question. I have some experience in the past where I think that some players themselves create their own downfall. In life, you are going to have your little knocks but, at the end of the day you can’t give up because even though the Lord blessed us with the talent, he never said that it’s going to be easy.”
Arthurton continued by stating;
“Anything you want to achieve in life, you must set yourself to get a little knock, and sometimes the knock is good. You learn from it and sometimes you can take some positives out of it.”
Mr. Arthurton also noted that no Kittitian having ever made it to the West Indies Cricket Team may also have something to do with the barrier not yet being broken for St. Kitts.
“Because that barrier hasn’t been broken as yet, it makes it so difficult for the players that are coming. Like I said in the opening ceremony this morning, I don’t think that if Willet had not broken that barrier that so many of us would have came through.” Arthurton stated.
“This guy (Willett) made the team at the age of nineteen and, at that time West Indies could have provided three or four teams. They could have competed at the highest level and be competitive and he made the team from a little island like this at the age of nineteen. That tells us something.”
When it comes to the state of cricket on Nevis in particular, Mr. Arthurton had this to say;
“When it comes to Nevis, I find that they are taking it for granted. That gentleman downstairs, Elquemedo Willett, has a lot to contribute. Willett used to do things that are unbelievable and we just look at him like nothing and he has it inside of him.”
“If we don’t start putting things into perspective, what’s going to happen is we are going to lose these guys and you know where they are going to go,” he stated.
Mr. Arthurton also noted that nowadays, some persons get involved with cricket not to create a legacy but because of the benefits it affords. Then, there is the fact that what happens at the top seeps right down to affect the youngsters at this level who are looking at them to be role models, and for motivation to become better at the sport.