Jamaica Sports Minister: Windies cricket needs to be protected

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As the Windies cricket team continues to struggle on tour in Bangladesh, Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange has repeated her call for West Indies cricket to be protected as it is part of the region’s cultural heritage.
She said the time has come for personalities to be set aside in the interest of saving a sport that has been in decline regionally for the past two decades.
“It is time to forget the egos, to get over ourselves and to focus on fixing and bringing back West Indies cricket,” the minister said during the St. Catherine Cricket Association Awards Ceremony held at Chedwin Park on Thursday night.
“There is enough blame to go around.  Let us end the blame game and show our commitment to eliminating the problems that prevent West Indies men from consistently producing good results. We must all remember that for our people, cricket is not just a game.  It is part of our heritage.  It is part of who we are.
“Let me say, straight up, that I am a lifelong supporter of West Indies cricket,” the minister continued. “I cannot think of a reason to ever withdraw my support from the West Indies.  The Windies represent us.  They are a part of who we are.  They are a part of me. So you know exactly how I felt when I saw the recent results against Bangladesh.”
Bangladesh completed a series sweep against the West Indies in the recent two test series — each time defeating the Windies within three days.
“West Indies cricket, the men’s game, is into a time of intense difficulty and a proud part of our heritage — our cricket — is in danger.  And it needs protection,” said Minister Grange.
She drew a contrast between the performance of the men’s team and the women’s team.  West Indies women were a force to be reckoned with in the recent T-20 World Cup where they went to the semi-finals before falling to the eventual champions, Australia.
“Why do the women look so good — even without adequate support?  And why aren’t the men doing better? Is it leadership?  Is it talent?  Is it commitment?” Minister Grange questioned.
Minister Grange said it was now urgent for all stakeholders in West Indies cricket to come together to protect the people’s game.
On Sunday, the Windies lost the first of three ODI matches against Bangladesh by five-wickets. (www.sportsmax.tv)

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