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Pybus hails WICB professional league

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2015 | 3:30 AMJermaine Lannaman

Director of Cricket of West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Richard Pybus, has lauded the recently-concluded four-day WICB Professional League, saying that it has resulted in a general improvement of the regional first-class game.

The former Pakistan and Bangladesh head coach, whose tenure in the post dates back to just over a year, and, who has been instrumental in the implementation of the league, said this is reflected largely in the performances of several players.

"The feedback which I have had from the franchises is extremely positive," Pybus told The Gleaner.

"The players were very excited at being able to train properly, to be able to develop their skills, to play double-round cricket, and, to be able to really get into the details of their game."

"They were also able work through poor periods of form, and consolidate when things are going well."

The tournament, which started last November, ended two weeks ago with Guyana Jaguars claiming the inaugural title.

The Jaguars, captained by young West Indies Test batsman, Leon Johnson, had in their line-up Test players Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine and Assad Fudadin.

They also had in their line-up promising Barbadian all-rounder Raymon Reifer, who they drafted at the start of the season, and the spin pair of Devendra Bishoo and Veerasammy Permaul.

The champions finished ahead of Barbados Pride, Windward Islands Volcanoes, Jamaica Franchise, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, and Leeward Islands Hurricanes, respectively.

Devon Smith with 822 runs, including two hundreds, and two half-centuries topped the batting with his teammate Tyrone Theophile, 689, two centuries and three fifties, and Barbados captain Kraigg Brathwaite, 660, comprising of three tons, and two fifties, rounding off the top three.

The bowling was spearheaded by Permaul, who claimed 67 wickets at 14.07 runs per wicket, Bishoo, 61 at 17.06, and Trinidad and Tobago leg-spin all-rounder Imran Khan, who took 56 at 21.89.

A former first-class player and coach, Pybus, who was born in England, also believes there is a lot of room for improvement going forward.

One such area he highlights is that of coaching, saying that the best available talents around the region need to work with the best coaches.

"One of the mandates of the franchises is to make sure that have highly qualified experienced staff in place to work with the talent," noted Pybus.

"Going into the off-season,  each franchise will have to evaluate their coaching staff as we want a tough and challenging coaching environment where the elite coaching talent is working with our best players."

Meanwhile, as it relates to the impact of the tournament on the West Indies team, Pybus, who is on a three-year contract, expressed the belief that by the end of seasons two and three there will be benefits.

"When you look at the professional league set-up, it is over 24 to 36 months, I really believe the region will  see the impact of the professional system," he said.