By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies fast bowler, Winston Benjamin, believes sub-regional players should be given more opportunities to grow within the Leeward Islands set-up rather than the franchise investing in developing talents from elsewhere.
Benjamin, a former Leeward Islands player and coach, blames the Enoch Lewis led board for what he has called a lack of development in the sub-region and the wanton disregard for players who would have shown potential but not given an opportunity to grow.
“If we are not developing our players there is not going to be anybody in the cupboard but what we are doing is giving opportunity to a number of players who will definitely return to their own country to represent,” he said.
“We have a young man in St Maarten named Daniel Doram who played his first game against Barbados [in 2018] and performed creditably. He was involved in two partnerships over 50, fielded brilliantly and the little bowling that he got from the captain, he did exactly what was asked of him. After the first match this young man was discarded and last year he wasn’t even mentioned. We have gone to Guyana now for a young man named Ashmead Nedd that just played in the world cup. Do you think that Nedd is going to play for us after two years?” he added.
Benjamin, who was replaced as head coach of the Leeward Islands following the 2018 Cricket West Indies (CWI) Professional Cricket League, said not many players are making the transition from the Hurricanes into a more challenging role.
“We have to develop our players in our region. For instance, look at the Patriots and ask yourself, how many Leeward Islands player are in that and you would see that it’s very few. We have two youngsters [Javier Spencer and Mykyle Louis] who went to the youth World Cup (2017) and none of the two have made any strides in our regional tournaments. Louis is probably our best opening right now [in the Leeward Islands] and I am saying that he will need some work but it is somebody we can invest in,” he said.
In 2019, Leeward Islands Cricket Board announced former West Indies batsman and Nevisian, Stuart Williams, as the team’s new head coach, looking past Benjamin who had reapplied for the job after coaching the Leeward Islands to a third place finish in the Professional Cricket League Regional Four Day Tournament.
Hurricanes had however, finished second from bottom in the Super 50.