Benjamin: Master Blasters not affected by resignations

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Former national and West Indies cricketer, Kenneth “Flipper” Benjamin, disagrees that his resignation as coach of the Antigua and Barbuda Master Blasters had a negative impact on their performance during the Independence Tri20 Cricket Tournament.
Benjamin and his assistant, John Archibald, tendered their resignations two Fridays ago, on the tournament’s opening day, following a disagreement over who should lead the team on the field during the annual tournament which also involved Jamaica and Guyana.
“The first game they won easily, the second game they made 170 and were on course and if they had won that game then probably they would have been in the finals so they were looking good. Obviously there were some mistakes made during the game and it cost them and they just didn’t seem motivated enough,” he said.
“I thought they were prepared well enough to go and compete. The two teams [Jamaica and Guyana] were better teams than us and apart from Baby [Orlando Peters], Booby [Devon Thomas], I don’t think we have anyone of that quality but we were competitive in the first two games,” he added.
The Master Blasters, who won the tournament in 2016, failed to reach this year’s finals after losing twice to Guyana and then to Jamaica last week.
The confusion started after the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) rejected the coaching staff’s recommendation of Kerry Montore as team captain and reportedly recommended Devon “Booby” Thomas.
Benjamin reiterated that his decision to resign had nothing to do with who was appointed captain in the end but rather was one of trust.
“I have principles, and I have some standards that I set that are non-negotiable. If you give me something to do and you don’t trust me 100 percent then I am out of there. I have to go forward knowing I have the trust and the backing of the association because I expect that if I mess up I get the axe,” the former player said.
Karima Gore could have been the captain and I would have gone because at the end of the day, you are saying to me that John Archibald, who has been around cricket for donkey [many] years and has worked so much, along with myself, cannot be trusted with a decision like who should captain a T20 team for Antigua and Barbuda then why should I coach,” Benjamin added.
Assistant coach, John Archibald, explained that his decision to leave his position was one taken in solidarity with the coach.
“I am not saying that I am a cricket god, Flipper is not a cricket god, but I am talking about two individuals who have been around cricket long enough that if we come up with a decision in terms of Mentore as captain that the association decides Devon Thomas so right there and then I felt that it was a situation of trust of the two individuals involved,” he said.
“Obviously, it was going to cause some sort of a situation because this was the Wednesday evening that the team was being selected where you are talking about two days before the [first] game and depending on what happens, you would have to be calling around to find out who can do this and can’t do that so it definitely would cause some sort of repercussion somewhere along the line,” Archibald added.
After winning their opening contest against Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda lost three straight matches to crash out of the competition.
Jamaica defeated Guyana in Saturday night’s finals to lift this year’s title.

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