By Neto Baptiste
Former national and Leeward Islands spin bowler, John Archibald, believes that the country “missed the boat” by no capitalising on the fortune of having produced some of the best fast bowlers to have ever played the game of cricket.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Archibald, who claimed two wickets in four First Class matches, said he has had discussions with some in authority about the possible formation of a fast bowling camp involving the country’s former greats, something he said that has fallen on deaf ears.
“I am talking about Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose, Kenneth Benjamin, Winston Benjamin and it goes on. How couldn’t we have had a fast bowling coaching unit? And whether it was out of an academy I am sure we would have had people out of Australia, England, New Zealand flying into Antigua during the summers in order to get their athletes better equipped in terms of fast bowling,” he said.
Archibald’s call was supported by another former national cricketer and former West Indies fast bowler, Kenneth Benjamin.
Benjamin added however, that an attempt by Antigua to break away from the Leeward Islands back in the 80s was a right one and should have received the necessary support from all concerned.
“That was the best thing that could have happened to Antigua’s cricket, and all the people who didn’t support it, they were fools, and I don’t think the government did enough to make sure it happened either in terms of getting the four grounds so we could host the under-19s and so forth. I think that was an opportunity that we missed, and I don’t think it is ever going to come back,” he said.
‘I think Antigua was ripe at that time, and Clarvis said it – that when you selected an Antiguan team you selected all the Antiguans and then you said, we have to put in some other guys from the other countries so it looked like a Leeward Island’s team; so Antigua’s cricket was at a stage where it could have been competing with the other islands around the Caribbean, and for people not to support that, it was selfish and it was foolish,” the former player added.
The charge, at the time, was led by former WICB vice president and a then-member of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Clarvis Joseph, who explained that the proposal allowed for a promotion and demotion-type arrangement where teams would have been given the option of playing on their own, given their dominance over a period of time.