ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Chief selector and coach of the Leeward Islands cricket team, Ridley Jacobs, said he would reject recommendations supporting the importation of players from outside the sub-region.
The former West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman said that although the current crop of players are not producing at a high level, some of the blame must be shared by the coaches and administrators.
“I think that we have enough quality players in the Leewards. I think we just need to work with these guys and give them an opportunity to really perform to their best,” he said.
“When we play, the result speaks for itself; but I believe that we need to have proper structure in the Leewards. We have a board now that is willing to work with players who want to develop their skills.
“I think that they have the right attitude and that once we get the right set of people to work with these guys, in a couple of years we should have good players coming through,” he added.
The Antiguan hinted also that a number of new faces could be featured in the team’s next match against Barbados as he seeks to expose as many of the players to this high level of competition.
“We can’t win the tournament anymore and so it’s very important that everybody gets a chance to play at this level. So I believe we are going to give everybody an opportunity to play in the last game who did not get a chance in the previous games,” Jacobs said.
“I know most of the guys personally. I’ve played with them and I’ve trained with them, so I know the capability and I know what these guys can give.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen; we didn’t get the performances we were looking for and I still have hope in these players because I know they can give a lot more than what’s being given,” he added.
Leeward Islands lost by five wickets to hosts Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday at Shaw Park in Tobago.
Antigua’s Devon “Booby” Thomas stood out with the bat as he hit two sixes in his knock of 42 runs from 52 balls. His stay at the crease lasted just over an hour.
Jacobs said he wanted to see the player contribute more.
“We wanted him to bat much longer because we were in a situation where we wanted someone to bat through the innings and especially since he was batting extremely well I thought he would have carried the innings through to the end. But then he got out and then we just fell apart; but the game is gone and we have to improve from our mistakes,” he said.
“Cricket is a very simple game and I keep on telling these guys that you can’t keep over-complicating the game. You play what you see. The ball comes to you. You negotiate and you play.”
Leeward Islands will tackle Barbados on Monday at Queen’s Park Oval.