High praise for Centre
The Sagicor High Performance Centre has been hailed for the vital development work it continues to do in producing the next generation of West Indies players.
Philip Osborne, Sagicor’s group chief financial officer (CFO), said he was impressed with the professionalism of the staff and the vibrancy of the participants.
He was speaking following a visit this week to the HPC training base at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
“I was very impressed, and it is an excellent, professional outfit,” Osborne said. “There are a number of serious people working here, and I met with the players and they seem to be learning and developing. This augurs well for West Indies cricket.”
The HPC is exclusively funded by the West Indies Cricket Board through assistance from Sagicor.
It was launched two years ago to elevate West Indies cricket to new competitive levels, taking up the challenge of ensuring that elite players in the region developed the skills to meet the physical, mental and social demands placed on them to perform at the highest levels of the game.
Against this backdrop, Osborne said the HPC fitted alongside the values for which the regional financial services company stands.
“We are a Caribbean company and this is a cross-Caribbean project, which dovetails well with what we are about,” he said. “Sports and youth are two of the main areas of social activity which we support.
“We recognized that West Indies cricket needed to improve its game. We had fallen behind the other countries like Australia, England, South Africa, [and] India and we needed to match what they were doing.
“We know our players have the talent. They are as equally gifted as any other. We saw it in Sri Lanka last Sunday (October 7), when West Indies rose to the challenge and won the ICC World Twenty20 tournament.
“But you need a solid foundation and I think the HPC will be a key component in providing that solid foundation for future success in West Indies cricket,” the CFO said.
The second squad of HPC players recently returned from a one-month tour to Bangladesh. Led by Barbadian all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, they played a series of matches against local opposition and were very competitive.
The players have been encamped from June 1 and exposed to a programme that has been broadened to focus more intensely on developing their mental prowess, in addition to the rigorous training in skills development and fitness required for high performance athletes.
“We believe Sagicor has come at a time that is difficult, but at a critical time in the resurgence of West Indies cricket,” said HPC administrative manager Rodney Alkins.
“Sagicor’s involvement has brought a sense of confidence that allows us to focus solely on the goal at hand, which is to re-establish West Indies as the leading brand of cricket.”
This year’s HPC programme, under the direction of head coach Graeme West, a former Middlesex County academy director in England, will conclude in May next year.
The first squad of HPC players graduated last November and included current West Indies Test opener Kieran Powell and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel. (CMC)