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“I always reach out to youngsters—I have a few who play for Guyana Under-19 and Berbice Under-15 and -19…like Shawn Pereira—I taught him a lot about captaincy—I give him homework, because I see he has potential in leading a team, but not only that…in skills—batting and bowling.”By Leon SuseranMany of our ‘Special Persons’ featured here week after week would have experienced tough times. While these persons have the option of sharing those struggles with us for the inspiration of readers (and many opt not to), most of them are brave enough to talk about such experiences. And they must be commended for this.Randolph LatchaRandolph Latcha sacrificed everything for his love for cricket. He lived and breathed it from the age of five and now at the relatively young age of forty-five, he still does. But his struggles go way deeper than this.HUMBLE BEGINNINGS AND CRICKETING INVOLVEMENTAt just five months old, Randolph’s mother and father could not continue caring for him. Luckily, adoptive parents, Baby and Tommy Senwasane took him into their Williamsburg, Corentyne home and have nurtured him into the community-minded, cricket enthusiast he has grown into today. The stack of trophies and medals in his living room is testimony of his stalwart accomplishments.Latcha was not hesitant to speak about humble beginnings,Andre Branch Dolphins Jersey, nor did he hide the fact that he dropped out of Lower Corentyne Secondary School to pursue his dream in cricket. He skipped school frequently to watch the games being played at the Albion Cricket Ground. And it was one day at the tender age of 13 during which he absconded from school and where he impressed senior cricket officials at Albion during trying-out sessions. He later heard his name on the radio being announced as having made the Guyana Under-19 team.He recalled being spotted while playing a game at Hampshire on the Corentyne, “they saw me and decided to take me because I had the ability, so I went to the Port Mourant Cricket Club.”Latcha, in his school uniform, had ridden off to the Albion Cricket Ground (Albion Sports Complex today). “With no boots,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys, a short pants and cricket gears,Fernando Rodney Jersey, I took my father’s cycle and got away. I was 13-plus years, so I stand up and a guy named Leslie Amsterdam was there.” They were having the Berbice Trials session whereby they were selecting the talented players. Then a selector, (Leslie) Amsterdam, a former Guyana player and former West Indies Manager, who was in charge of the trials, noticed the lad and asked him to bowl a spell “and then he gave me a bat.”Posing with his medals and trophy collection.Latcha bowled a spell of 45 minutes of medium pace. Amsterdam said, “Okay! But do you know to bat?” Latcha nodded. Amsterdam then said,“Pad up!” Of course, the young teen from a poor background had no gears. He then begged someone to borrow their pads, put them on and demonstrated his natural ability in that regard. Later that day, his father heard his name being announced on the radio. Latcha made the Under-19 team!In 1986, he played for Port Mourant during a tour to Trinidad. He also played at Bourda, Albion and Hampton Court. He was in the Bristol Cup-winning team for three consecutive years.In 1988 Latcha was selected to tour Barbados with the National under-19, but hours before the team departed he was forced to pull out due to illness and his place was taken by fellow Berbician Devendra Deola.Latcha also played at the Albion Cricket Club for several years; and Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club from 1992.He represented Berbice at the Under-19 level for 5 years as well as the Senior Team from 1989-1998. He was Berbice senior inter county Captain in 1995.He received numerous awards and medals during his competitive playing years. He alluded to the fact that it was very difficult to get into the national team, “because there were big names around—Clayton Lambert, Sudesh Dhaniram, Roger Harper, Mark Harper, Andrew Jackman,NFL Jerseys Cheap, Rabindranauth Seeram and Carl Hooper.”Receiving GuySuCo’s Sportsman of the Year Trophy in 1995 from Admin Manager of Blairmont Estate, John Bart.“It was very hard in the Guyana team—for example, cricket now,NBA Authentic Jerseys, is very easy—you make 30, 40 runs and you make the Guyana team.” In 1996, he played the national trials and was included in the 24-man squad, to represent Guyana in the Red Stripe Bowl, but unfortunately, he did not make the team.ENCOURAGING YOUNG BERBICIANSLatcha has a strong interest in Berbice cricket. Today, he is a member of the Development Committee in the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and he also served as a Junior Selector in Berbice. He encourages youngsters, especially his members in the committee, to get cricket further in the schools. “Come out, play the game and be disciplined,” he stated.He regularly travels back and forth between Albion and Rose Hall Town, “and I see a lot of talent in this Berbice area, but nobody is taking care (of them).”Working with young and promising cricketers is a challenge for him.“A former Test Player, Devendra Bishoo, never saw Alvin Kallicharran, and talking to him a few weeks ago, he said he would be glad to meet Kallicharran personally, so I think Berbice in general, should bring back former Test Players who people want to see.” This, he said, would motivate today’s cricketers and they can learn a thing or two from the experienced veterans.“With me being somebody in the cricket arena my son, Herman Steven Latcha, who I always wanted to play for Berbice, Guyana and the West Indies, made it in both Junior and Senior and he plays for Berbice Under- 15,-17,-19 and Guyana Under- 15,-19 and he made the Guyana Senior One-Day Team.”A proud moment! Lifting the Bakewell Trophy for the Rose Hall Team (Man-of-the-Match and highest scorer) in 2001 at Canje Welfare Ground.His son was also captain for the Guyana Under-16 team in England. He recently returned from Canada on a contract in Highlanders Cricket Club.“He had a very good season over there….I advise him a lot…every day, I would sit and talk to him—take him to the ground and train him and I think it is paying off, big time.” His son has received the support of the former UGBC Director Professor Daizal Samad as well during his [Steven’s] stay in Canada.“The Professor really came on board quickly. He helped in airfare; traveling to Georgetown called up overseas persons to make sure Steven gets good accommodation, so I admire Professor for doing that…he helped a lot in sports.”Latcha thanked Professor Samad with whom he [Latcha] worked side by side for the development of cricket of youngsters in Berbice.REACHING OUTIn 2011, they hosted 27 youths at a Cricket Academy at Port Mourant. They trained the youths with the support, too, of corporate entities and Vemen Walter, Mohin Persaud, David Armogan, and D. Samaroo. He is currently planning another such event to be held in the not too distant future.Our ‘Special Person’ is willing to work with youths across Berbice who wish to develop their skills in the game. “I always reach out to youngsters—I have a few who play for Guyana Under-19 and Berbice Under-15 and -19…like Shawn Pereira—I taught him a lot in captaincy—I give him homework, because I see he has potential in leading a team, but not only that…in skills—batting and bowling.”CRICKET TODAYLatcha believes that cricket in Guyana, today, can be developed more. He criticized the shorter Twenty 20 format of the game as, “not giving the youngsters a chance in elevating themselves to Test Players, because it is just three hours… and when you see the Guyana team going down, it is because of lack of application and batting skills.”He praised the Guyana team as the best in the Caribbean—Bishoo, Chanderpaul, Sarwan—”but they are not applying themselves.” “We have got to start back three-day cricket in Berbice and Guyana, where you have batsmen batting for hours,” he opined.Developing cricket in Guyana, he noted, can take place only if the sport is promoted in the schools themselves. “Every single school should have a qualified coach…and they develop the players.”Collecting the Man-of-the-Match cheque at the Bakewell 2nd Division Cricket Tournament in 2001.Apart from his cricketing pursuits today, Latcha also lends his skills and leadership qualities during community volleyball and football matches on the Corentyne, “I assist—if there is any fundraising activity, and I am called upon, I assist.”His advice to young cricketers in Guyana is “take their education seriously. When you are educated, you go into the sport and you would know how to behave.” “When you are not educated, you will get angry, walk away and curse. Cricket in this world brings a lot of money but you have to build it from schools and focus on the sport…The young players must avoid alcohol and drugs.”“I am here to assist any youngsters and cricketing club that need advice.”Latcha’s hero in cricket is Brian Charles Lara because “of his elegance, discipline and techniques.” Outside of cricket, his role models are Professor Samad and Contractor, Peter Lewis, “a reliable and good man.”
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