By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies fast bowler, Winston Benjamin, said he will turn his focus to the development of young cricketers in Antigua with the reopening of his cricket academy.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Benjamin, who was overlooked for an extension on his contract as coach of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, said his academy will cater for players from a very young age.
“For the general public, yes, Grassroots Academy will be reopening its doors shortly and the dates I will definitely give at a later time. Looking at what is going on and my stint with the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, things have got to be done differently because, for instance, we have under-15 competition, under-17s and the under-19s. I think the time has come now for us to be specific with these guys like the 13s or an exceptional 12 because you have to be preparing these guys for competition while you’re developing them technically,” he said.
Benjamin, who racked up 100 ODI wickets and bagged 61 Test victims as a player, explained why it is necessary to start at such a tender age.
“That is the period where you just run around. You might learn one basic skill or technique every week because the attention span is not as great so they want to have fun. So while you’re having fun you’re teaching a skill; once you hit 12 and 13 years old now, it’s specific training you’re going to be doing,” the former player said.
Also a former footballer, Benjamin gave some insight as to how the academy will function.
“Instead of having everybody in one place on a Saturday, we are going to have sessions. So Jojo at 15 is not going to run around with a 10-year-old and you’re going to be dealt with on a one-on-one. We are trying to get you up to speed as quickly as possible so the more one-on-one time you would have received, that should improve your cricket much faster,” he said.
Benjamin was replaced by Nevisian and former West Indies opening batsman, Stuart Williams, as coach of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes for the next two seasons in the WICB Professional Cricket League (PCL).