- FTC issues two decisions Read More
- ECCB to issue world’s first blockchain-based digital currency Read More
- Mottley against clean sweep Read More
- Call for mini-stadiums Read More
- Wanted: A more efficient airport Read More
- Low-hanging fruit for all Read More
- Mandela arrives for visit with PM and Buju show Read More
by Kenmore bynoeA new innings in West Indies cricket commenced with the official launch of the Sagicor High Performance Centre (HPC) at the Errrol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies Cave Hill on Sunday night, with president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Julian Hunte, indicating that regional cricket had travelled a long road to reach that milestone.Chairman of the HPC, Sir Hilary Beckles, also stated that a crossroad had been reached, and explained how successive WICB boards, regional governments and fans had all agreed that the HPC was critical to return West Indies cricket to its rightful pinnacle.With a virtual who’s who of the playmakers, players and sponsors of regional cricket, the 15 cohorts of the HP Centre were unveiled to the public in an impressive ceremony chronicling the past greats and looking to the future hope of West Indies cricket. With the hall at the Errol Barrow Centre transformed into an Oval, the spectators enjoyed a night of top-class deliveries and fine strokeplay with the setting of a ceiling-to-floor white cloth serving the dual purpose of a projector screen and a sight screen, while the podium stood at the top of a laid-out pitch placed in the centre of a green “outfield”.Prime Minister David Thompson – who indicated that he was deputising for Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart – could have easily picked three top class teams from the former greats present.Master of Ceremonies Ian Bishop did not see the need to give a pitch analysis, as the class of those persons who were in the night’s line-up would have proven adept in all conditions. Presentations from the Mighty Gabby, Paul Keens-Douglas and Lord Relator provided cricketing humour and entertainment for all.Relator’s snippets of tributes to Sir Garfield Sobers as well as Those Little Pals of Mine transposed the audience over 40 years back when that singer’s voice similarly evoked imagery of West Indies dominance.If the receding hairlines or grey tinges did not betray the age of the audience who enjoyed Relator’s presentations, then that number became obvious when the audience began to sing the chorus to his tunes. Even the usually sombre Clive Lloyd broke into a smile when Relator and the audience began belting out those immortalised tunes of days when regional cricket ruled the world.The evening’s tone was set in the first innings with a 15-minute video presentation which was written and narrated by Sir Hilary, where the genesis of West Indies cricket was detailed, leading to the rise and fall to another 20-year soaring before the collapse over 15 years ago. The passion and social significance which undercut that presentation would have stirred the spirit of all West Indies cricket fans.The second innings saw Hunte outlining a four-point plan “to regain our competitiveness among the élite cricketing nations of the world”. Hunte stated that the WICB would be paying attention to the following:- enhancing the institutional capacity of the WICB - We accepted that management has been ineffective in meeting the demands of a modern-day sports governing body,- generating the resources for the financing of West Indies cricket. This is critical for the implementation of any development plans and managing the operations of the board,- cricket development: if there is not product to sell, then, there can be no commercial programme to implement; and,- cricket operations: this has been undoubtedly a major area of repeated failures and shortcomings.The WICB president signalled that the board’s first aim was to get the senior team more competitive as well as to prepare the players on the fringes of international selection through the reactivation of the “A” Team programmes, while preparing the next generation of international cricketers.The third innings of the night saw Dodridge Miller, group CEO and president of Sagicor, speaking to his company’s support of the HP Centre for the next five years; while Sir Hilary said that in the past the villages created cricketers who learnt the craft by age 12. The disappearance of villages has led to the loss of that tuition, thus creating the need for the HP Centre, he said.The night’s match closed with a profile presentation of the 15 students in the HP Centre, while Shamarh Brooks was given the honour of speaking on behalf of his classmates.