By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies, Leeward Islands and national cricketer Kenneth Benjamin is hoping that serious dialogue could be held regarding his proposal that would see the revamping of Two Day cricket in Antigua and Barbuda and a movement towards a franchise type structure.
Benjamin, who is also president of the Liberta Sports Club and coach of the successful PIC Blackhawks team believes that his proposal, which calls for at least six franchises with each housing a development team, could help to improve the longer format of the game here, while also preparing players for the next level.
“I am just hoping that it could be discussed, and if it is discussed and then the ABCA wants to have further talks, then I don’t have any issue. They may discuss it and the clubs may just say hey, throw water on that and that’s the end of that but it is basically up for discussion and I just want to be very clear that it has nothing to do with the white ball cricket,” he said.
A copy of the proposal, which also suggests “incentives for good pitches” and “best vs best” competitions, has been sent to the game’s governing body, the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA).
Benjamin is hoping that all involved, including club presidents and players, could remain objective and open to change when perusing the document.
“It is a matter of discussions and being open-minded. I believe that too many of us are thinking about clubs, but the clubs will remain the clubs for the white ball cricket but this is to try and get cricket to a higher level. After a couple of years, the ABCA may look at it and say the standard is so good we want to go back and make the clubs play Two Day cricket but as it is right now, it is definitely not producing quality,” he said.
One key element of the proposal is the manner in which players could be selected by the franchises where each will be allowed to “protect” eight players with all other players entering a draft system. Each franchise would then be given the opportunity to select six additional players in the draft.
This, according to Benjamin, would however exclude the country’s international players.
“Once the draft is done and all of the six franchises have their players, both the development players and the senior league players then they would have to get on to these guys or their agents and negotiate with them to be a part of their franchise. A particular player can say I want to play with the franchise in the east or the one in the south or whatever, they would have that option to choose where they want to go,” he said.
The former fast bowler’s proposal also calls for the formation of a technical committee that will recommend how franchises are structured and the format of the competition amongst other aspects.