Sun | Oct 22, 2017

WICB push for professionalism commendable

Published:Saturday | September 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Cricket has taken giant steps forward in the last week with a strategic change in the playing system in the West Indies. The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) have signed a collective bargaining agreement and memorandum of understanding signalling the official launch of the new regional cricket franchise system.

These franchises, based in the six regions from which the West Indies teams are selected (Leeward Islands, Windward Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana), will compete in the regional first-class and Super20 series. The 15 contracted players will train year round, and additional players can be called up from lower-level local leagues on a pay-as-you-play basis.

The teams will be funded by the WICB, which should have a number of sponsors on board to assist them in ensuring that the plans go ahead. One can only hope that the system achieves the success that allows it to retain these partners and attract others.

In addition to the recent successful launch of the CPL T20 league in 2013, it is clear that the new WICB regime is implementing well-thought-out plans aimed at helping the West Indies to develop high-level talent and allow the regional team to reach back to its former heights in terms of on-field results.

The outcry over the past few years in relation to West Indies cricket is that the talent level is not of a high enough standard to what we produced in the past, and that is why we are falling behind on the international stage.

TOTAL BUY-IN

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) was extremely decisive in its approach to the new system, issuing a press release and holding a briefing about the new system on Monday, after the Friday announcement by the WICB. It also unveiled the new Cricket Guy Inc, which will oversee the franchise. The board proactively shared information with the GCB's stakeholders and explained how it plans to approach the process of putting together their allocated franchise.

One can only hope that other national governing bodies, especially our Jamaica Cricket Association, are being just as vigilant about sharing the information. The level of buy-in from these groups will play a large role in the success of the new franchise system and the development of West Indies cricket, and it should be a task they approach with vigour.

The implementation of a professional system is long overdue, and it is something to be celebrated that the WICB has taken steps to take full control of the development of the sport at the elite level. I firmly believe that these actions by the WICB should be looked on as a blueprint by all national and regional bodies of sport, as to how to approach development initiatives.

MACHEL TURNER

Sports Professional/Business Owner

Prime Time Sports Management