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Bigger role for ‘Bird’

MIKE KING, [email protected]

Bigger role for ‘Bird’

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Joel Garner’s days of managing the West Indies team is over but he has an even bigger role now.

Garner is the first Ambassador of Cricket West Indies (CWI) and he will be the spearhead of the Windies Foundation which will help CWI fund the grassroots and community and club cricket within the region.

CWI chief executive officer Johnny Grave made this disclousure to the SATURDAY SUN at a Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) quarterly meeting yesterday at Kensington Oval.

“We have got a fantastic opportunity to raise a lot of money in a T20 game at Lords on May 31 where we take on an ICC World XI in a 20/20 game raising money for the cricket facilities that were damaged by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. So Joel’s going to help massively in the fundraising for that event as well as the 2019 England tour,” he said.

Grave said that Garner will be travelling the region discussing plans with Caribbean government officials on the allocation of games for next year’s tour by the English.

“Joel has not been demoted in any way at all, he will still be very much a part in West Indies’ cricket. He is a legend of the game and he provides enormous value to Cricket West Indies as an organisation.

“So we feel, and I definitely feel, that Joel provides more value to us as an ambassador. This foundation, I think, is a real game-changer, it revolutionises how we can fund grassroots cricket within the Caribbean. We have done well to protect our investment through Scotiabank support of primary school cricket, but secondary school cricket and club cricket has really lacked in its funding.

“Our coaching programmes have lacked in funding and we need this foundation to come and attract more revenue, more donations and Joel has a huge role to play in ensuring that we can do that,” Grave said.

Garner’s reassignment is one of the many changes that CWI has recently rolled out.

“We have made some changes to the management team and some of that was natural with contracts ending and some of that was policy decisions by us in terms of refreshing the group, refreshing the side heading into these all important games (in Zimbabwe),” he said.

Australian Stuart Law remains the head coach, Englishman Toby Radford, the batting coach, and Ryan Maron the fielding coach but there is a temporary appointment in a new one-day specialist bowling coach in South African Alfonso Thomas, who is on contract purely for the ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe next month.

Floyd Reifer is coaching the West Indies ‘A’ team, with another Barbadian, Roderick Estwick, being reassigned to the “A” side.

There is a new medical team in place, a new strength and conditioning coach in Corey Bocking of Australia and a new physio in Dave Kershaw, who has worked for Lancashire in England for many years.

Former Windwards Islands and West Indies leg-spinner Rawl Lewis has been promoted to team manager replacing Garner.

Grave said he was delighted that Kensington Oval would be hosting the first pink ball (day/night) Test match in the Caribbean when Sri Lanka tour in June.

“I am surprised that the West Indies have not hosted a pink ball Test match before I joined CWI. The four-day regional matches have been staged under lights for about five or six years now, we have tested it there, and it is only right that we now test it at the international level, and the Caribbean is made for pink ball cricket, playing under lights with the music blasting.

“We have got to get people watching Test cricket again, so it is all part of our plan to make Test cricket more appealing to Caribbean fans and the young generation.” (MK)