Plan to make WI top Test team
By MIKE KING | Wed, March 19, 2014 - 12:03 AM
THE WEST INDIES Cricket Board (WICB) is embarking on plans, specifically professional structures, that will give the Caribbean much needed viability and marketing power.
President Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron, in an exclusive interview with MIDWEEK SPORT, said that anouncements to this effect would be made following a board meeting slated for Trinidad and Tobago this week.
“We have done well in the shorter formats such as the T20 but not so well in the Test arena. What we need to do to take us to the next level in cricket is to set up professional structures, and that is what we are moving towards.
“I will be able to say more on this issue following the board’s [annual general meeting] in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
Speaking at Kensington Oval at the end of the successful T20 series between West Indies and England, Cameron said it was important the West Indies improve their profile and stature in Test cricket.
“We in the board certainly believe that our value in cricket is based on our Test status and so while we enjoy the Twenty20 because it brings revenue, and new audiences to the game, we are still focused on being the best Test team.
“If the West Indies can be a force again in the Test arena, I would feel that strides have been made under my tenure. The plan is clearly to get us back to the top, not just the top three, but number one,” he said.
The charismatic Jamaican, who took over the leadership of the WICB in March of 2013, was in no doubt that the West Indies would be the team that all others had to fear most at this month’s World T20 tournament in Bangladesh, which started on Sunday.
“We have got the most dangerous players in this format of the game. In that opening match at Kensington Oval against England, we lost three wickets and had another four players match winners that didn’t bat. I am excited about our chances.
“We saw what Ramdin did recently in Antigua and that tells the depth of our batting. The boys are ready and I am confident about the team’s chances,” he said.
The 43-year-old Cameron is happy with the balance of the side.
“Narine and Badree are quality spinners, and we know how important the two of them will be in Bangladesh on those slow pitches.
“We have a very balanced team going to Bangladesh that will be prepared for the conditions out there. We are focused and I expect the team to to very well,” he said.
The West Indies are fifth in the world T20 rankings, but Cameron is not too worried about that. The WICB president said logistics meant that it had not always been possible for them to field their best T20 side in some tournaments.
“What has happened, and many persons have not really focused on it, is that each series we have played T20 is either a one-off or two matches.
“A lot of them we have played away from home and so we have not been able to afford to make the change from the 50-over side into a specialist 20-over team.
“What we have been using is a hybrid of T20 game players to play the T20 game. Now we have the T20 squad properly assembled, it is going to make a big difference.
“Take Dwayne Smith, for example. He has been busy plying his trade all around the world, but we now have him and that means a lot,” he added.
West Indies are in Group 2 in the 16-team tournament and are pooled alongside India, Australia, Pakistan and one of the qualifiers.
Following the completion of the first round which comprises Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and minnows Afghanistan, Ireland, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Netherlands, the two zone winners will progress to the second round and join the eight established countries for the Super 10 series.
The second round and the first major clash of the tournament is on Friday when India meet arch-rivals Pakistan.
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