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Back to basics


by HAYDN GILL

Back to basics

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THE West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has approved a US$41 million budget for the next financial year that includes a significant component in player development aimed at returning the regional team to the halcyon days.
WICB chief executive officer Ernest Hilaire revealed yesterday that US$4 million would be spent on development in addition to another US$11 million on tours and tournaments for the board’s new fiscal year that started on October 1.
Speaking to reporters following the conclusion of a two-day directors meeting at the Accra Beach Hotel, Hilaire also disclosed that in light of ongoing financial challenges throughout the Caribbean, the WICB had opted to postpone the launch of the proposed Calypso Cup.
“To have a successful team you must start producing players of a certain level. For the last few years, we have not been investing in research and development to make sure that we produce cricketers of a certain level,” Hilaire said.
“We need to go back to basics. We need to start investing in the development of cricketers.
“Do you decide that you are going to spend your scare resources on trying to develop and produce better cricketers or in bad economic times – all sponsors are tightening their sponsorship budgets – to invest in a tournament which is supposed to be a profit-making tournament. At this time, it cannot be profit-making.”
While doing away with the Calyspo Cup, the WICB will focus on building the Caribbean Twenty20 brand by expanding the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament to include the two finalists of the England and Wales Cricket Board Friends Provident Twenty20 tournament in addition to Canada.
Among the other development initatives are the staging of mandatory preparatory camps prior to every West Indies tour and specialist camps in the areas of batting, bowling, fielding and wicketkeeping for elite players at all junior age groups and senior levels across the region.
The WICB has also appointed a kiddy cricket project officer who will be responsible for managing a restructured and re-energised Scotiabank Kiddy cricket programme across the region and a youth development cricket project officer who will be responsible for managing the Digicel youth development programme in the Caribbean.
The board of directors also received a summary report from Deloitte Touche Tomhatsu, a firm engaged by the WICB to conduct a study on the changing trends in international cricket and how they affect the West Indies.
As a result, there will be a major review of all WICB operations in the coming months.
“We all recognise there is a change in the cricket landscape and a rapidly changing one. We wanted to get some fresh ideas as how we can overhaul our own operations to remain more relevant,” Hilaire said.
“We received the interim report. The board has agreed to meet at the end of November to receive the final report, to discuss it and to establish a road map for the restructuring and reogansiation of the operations of the WICB.”

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