National coach and skipper say better club structure will improve domestic cricket

Senior National Head Coach Leon “Kuma” Rodney and skipper Wilden “Polo” Cornwall said an overall improvement in club structure will enhance domestic cricket in Antigua & Barbuda.

Rodney said clubs today cannot compare themselves to the period of 1970 to the late 1990’s when Antigua & Barbuda produced several outstanding cricketers for the West Indies, including Sir Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts, Richie Richardson and Curtly Ambrose.

The national coach said while many clubs in those years didn’t have coaches, they had an abundance of talent at that time.

He said the clubs need help in their administration of the sport. Rodney, who is also head coach at the Empire Cricket Club, said clubs must stop live in the past and move ahead with the times.

“We need to very positively get clubs to understand they need help. Yes, you can look back in the past when clubs may not have had coaches, but that was an era that you just can’t test. That era when Antigua produced players such as Sir Viv and Andy Roberts there was an abundance of natural God-gifted talent,” Rodney said.

“At the same time, not withstanding they had an abundance of talent, what they also had was a hunger for success. The players wanted it. They knew the direction they wanted to go and there wasn’t so much distraction. I remember vividly when the football season finish it would then be the cricket season. The same people playing cricket was the same people playing football. Now it’s different.

“We must accept that times have changed. I am saying that the clubs need help from a management standpoint, coaches standpoint and I think it’s clear to see on the local level the clubs that are assisted with coaches appear to be doing things a little different to those who don’t have except the teams that are experienced teams. So we need to dig deep from the school level and so forth.”

Cornwall, who is a member of the Liberta Cricket Club, also emphasised that the lack of a proper club structure is the root cause of a lot of the problems currently being experienced in domestic cricket.

“When you look at local cricket there are so many things needed to be done with Antigua local cricket. Then again it all goes back to club structure such as how are you going to manage the club and how are you going to do things to improve the players,” he said.

Liberta Cricket Club is a member of the community’s wider umbrella sporting body, The Liberta Sports Club.

Cornwall said Liberta can be used as a model by other clubs in the country to help improve their respective organisations.

“Liberta have things in place to help Antigua cricket. We have an academy out there, we have summer camps and things like these need to be done. People need to come onboard to bring back Antigua cricket where it is supposed to be.”