By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney, insists that wholesale change is needed in order to restore pride in West Indies cricket.
The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director however added that this change must start within the respective territories, Antigua and Barbuda included, and the focus must be on development.
“Most of us just have to be honest that the responsibility and the redevelopment of West Indies cricket lies on all of us involved with the cricket and the quicker that everybody that runs the cricket accepts the responsibility and stops dodging here and dodging there it won’t get better. All of us are responsible, every territory from the lowest level to the sub-regional and to the regional and I am not sure we are doing enough of that so I, also, must take some level of responsibility,” he said.
His statement comes amidst debate over the quality of the regional under-19 cricketers following the team’s Group D exit from the ongoing ICC Under-19 World Cup.
Acknowledging the need for more emphasis on youth development both at the national and regional level, Rodney said the approach must be unified geared towards getting results.
“Things are not the same as what it used to be and you can’t continue to want to develop on just the schools programme so funding cannot just come from the government but we as an association would have to designate somebody and whether the president is going to take the responsibility to go out and seek additional funding from the private sector with whatever fundraising you can put in place but it just can’t be the government alone,” he said.
“At the end of the day, once sports continues to develop then corporate is going to continue making money out of it because the hotels make money, the food and beverage people makes money so it has to be a holistic approach,” Rodney added.
The West Indies Under-19s failed to advance to the Super League stage of the tournament after suffering a hard-fought three-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka Under-19s at the Conaree Cricket Ground in St. Kitts last Friday.
West Indies play Papua New Guinea Under-19s Wednesday [today] in Trinidad & Tobago in a quarter-final of the ICC Men’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup Plate Tournament.
The Plate tournament is contested between the eight teams that failed to advance to the Super League quarter-final stage of the competition and is an important phase of the competition for the development of the young cricketers.