By Neto Baptiste
Former national and West Indies Under-19 cricket captain, Zorol Barthley, is calling for a return of three-day cricket at the sub-regional level.
A former chief cricket operations officer for the West Indies Cricket Board, Barthley believes young players from within the Leeward Islands have failed to adopt a higher standard of play because they are not being prepared for the rigours of having to bat more than 50 overs.
“I think the absence of multiple-day cricket or red ball cricket, three-day cricket, for example, is hampering the younger players coming through, players like Kofi James, for example, because your development could take place at three-day level where you’d learn to bat, get to know your game and you could bring that skill into white ball cricket or one day cricket,” he said.
“I just want to use one example which is Keacy Carty who was the Man of the Match for the Under-19 World Cup 2016. We all sit back and say Carty is not moving forward or he is not progressing, but here is the problem Carty finds himself in: the only time Keacy Carty plays cricket for more than one day is when he plays First Class cricket for the Leeward Islands,” he added.
Barthley, a former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), said the three-day format provided a platform for young players to hone their skills from both the mental and physical standpoints.
“What we have to look at from a developmental standpoint is how soon could Leewards get back to the Leeward Islands tournament of three-day cricket, for example, and even at the West Indies Under-19 level where they are only playing one day cricket. They need to get back to where these guys learn cricket over three days and learn to bat, and that is what is hampering us. What we are seeing at the international level is a by-product of what is happening at that level,” the former player said.
Barthley received support from former West Indies, Leewards, and national fast bowler Winston Benjamin, who said cricket in the Leeward Islands has suffered since the removal of the three-day tournament years ago.
“From the time that Gregory Shillingford made that change to Leeward Islands cricket, we have followed that failed pattern for many years, and it is reflected in the Leeward Islands’ performance in the West Indies tournament for the past three years, with two under my tutelage and one under Stuart Williams when they got to the final of the Super 50. We have not really looked at we have the capability to bat for more than 40 or 50 overs, so there is where we need to get back to,” he said.
The Leeward Islands Three-Day Tournament was last held in 2012.