By Neto Baptiste
As the Leeward Islands Hurricanes continue to struggle at the bottom of the table in the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Regional Four Day Championships, the top brass has come in for heavy criticism from a former player and coach.
Hurricanes have 52.8 points after eight matches and occupies the cellar in the six-team standings.
Former coach and West Indies fast bowler, Winston Benjamin, believes that this is a manifestation of the board’s disinterest in the development of the game and players within the sub-region.
“We have the pal system, the clique system and nobody is interested in the sport itself, so unless we get rid of the pal system and look at the cricket and look out for the cricket [nothing will change]. Leeward Islands Hurricanes [LICB] president [Enoch Lewis] does not believe in development and he said so openly, send them to somebody else and let people develop them, but we don’t have the quality that other people are going to want to develop, so we have to develop our own,” he said.
“We have the young guy Javier Spencer, a left arm fast bowler, and he is one in the wilderness, and all of them need to go because they don’t make no sense,” he added.
Defending champions, Barbados Pride, lead the table with 134.8 points while Trinidad & Tobago lie second with 94.6 points. Hurricanes have won only one of their eight matches to date, losing five and drawing two.
The former fast bowler reminded that losing can become a habit. “When you’re playing competitive sports the L [loss]
and the D [draw] is something you’re not too interested in. The W [win] is the key, and the W creates energy, it creates motivation, it creates confidence and if you don’t have the W or you’re not getting the W, then everything becomes a burden and the cricket looks, to me, as if it has become a burden to the players, but then again, who am I to say that when the matrix says the coach is the best thing around,” he said.
Benjamin said that having seen the players in action against Jamaica here at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground last week, it appears as though they have given up on the competition.
“I went up there [Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground] to watch the game [Leeward Islands vs. Jamaica Scorpions] and from what I saw sitting in the stands the body language of the players is telling me that something is wrong, the players are not comfortable. I don’t know what it is, but you look at them and there is no energy, there is no life, they are just bland and going through the motions, to me,” the coach said.
Jamaica is third in the standings with 98.1 points while Guyana lies fourth also with 98.1 points. The competition has however been suspended as part of measures to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.