Two young men in Somerset West, who abhor the impact of politics in sport on young cricket enthusiasts, are determined to make transformation work the right way, rather than relying on the quota system to ensure representivity.
“Too many young people who aspire to playing for a provincial or national side end up being side-lined because of the quota system. I understrand why it is in place,” Damian Fuller told Bolander on Monday, “but I believe the best way to ensure that our teams are representative, is to commit to developing children from the earliest possible age, so that they can be selected on merit, rather than because of quota system requirements.”
Bolander visited the FP Elite Cricket Academy in Asla Business Park on the N2 in Somerset West on Monday, where Mr Fuller and 18-year-old Faye Tunnicliffe will attempt to break and make world batting records respectively, starting on Friday at noon, concluding on Sunday at 5pm.
Mr Fuller and business partner Sean Phillips, provide expert coaching to 180 young people from nine to 24 years of age.
“There is no place for politics in sport at such an early age,” Mr Fuller said, “so what we aim to do, is raise funds to select a group of eight boys and girls who have cricketing potential, from black and coloured schools in the area, kit them out and coach them up to grade seven.”
The world record batting attempts, which will be conducted in accordance with the strict conditions imposed by Guinness World Records, are intended to raise awareness of the initiative, and to aid in raising the funds needed, a total of R100 000 a year, for the project.
“If we get them at age nine or 10, they won’t have learned any bad habits,” Mr Fuller said with a smile, “and we can equip them to be able to access scholarship opportunities at top schools, where their cricketing talent can be further developed. This will equip them to be selected for provincial or national teams on merit.”
“A number of friends, who although they are competent players, were selected for quota purposes, and they are uncomfortable with that,” Mr Fuller said. “We want to help change that.”
Aside from kitting out and cricket coaching, Mr Fuller has access to educational resources which will form part of the project, thus providing academic and coaching support.
“We need about R100 000 a year to make this programme work,” Mr Fuyller said, “so we’re hoping that donors will come forward to sponsor a child.”
Mr Fuller has already registered a non-profit organisation to house the project, so donors will have certainty that their money will be well spent, in a framework of accountability.
The current men’s world batting record stands at 51 hours, set in March by Rwandan cricketer Eric Dusingizimana. Mr Fuller plans to bat for 55 hours.
Ms Tunnicliffe, who will be batting alongside Mr Fuller, will be setting the world women’s record.
The attempts will be streamed live, and two scrutineers will observe constantly to ensure that the rules – a five minute break for each hour of batting – are observed.
Contact Mr Fuller on 079 780 0035, for more information. The public is encouraged to drop by the academy to cheer on the batters .