If all goes according to plan, the West Indies Cricket Board could soon include some of the legends of the game in its development programmes on a much greater scale.
That was the word today from president of the West Indies Cricket Board Dr. Julian Hunte as he and WICB chief executive officer, Michael Muirhead, toured the Cricket Legends of Barbados Museum on Fontabelle, St Michael.
Hunte noted that the International Cricket Council was donating $3 million to assist the board with its training programmes as part of the five-year strategic development plan. Hunte told the gathering of cricketing giants that included Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Wes Hall, Seymour Nurse and Charlie Griffith among others, that a formal meeting would be set up with the legends to determine how they could best fit into the strategic plan.
“It is an important aspect of our work, going forward. We need to bring everything together. We need continuity in our cricket. We cannot have a breakdown every time some new administrator comes around,” he said, underscoring the need for past cricketers to be part of the link with the present and the future.
Muirhead suggested that the West Indies cricket brand was being undersold and it was an area in which he intended to focus. The newly-appointed administrator said the WICB would be looking to collaborate with the Legends of Barbados to better merchandise aspects of West Indies cricket.
Former Barbados spinner Rawle Brancker impressed upon both Hunte and Muirhead that there was a need to replicate the concept of the Legends of Barbados Museum throughout the Caribbean.
Brancker said the Legends of Barbados had a board headed by Sir David Simmons and consisted of other persons with the capabilities of assisting the WICB and the other regional territories in making the concept a reality throughout the region.
He said the Legends had been trying over the last five years to explain to the Barbados Cricket Association the role they could play in assisting with the development of the game in Barbados and across the region.
The former Empire stalwart who toured England with the West Indies team in 1966, said cricket was an industry and indeed should be the biggest industry in the Caribbean. He pointed to football in Brazil as a sport that was a major industry in that South American nation.
“We should be marketing the game. We are not involved in coaching cricket around the world,” he said, noting that there were teams in the United States which were employing Pakistanis and Indians to coach the game and there were no West Indian involvement.
Ready to assist
Brancker said the Legends stood ready to assist the WICB.
During the morning session Sir Wes took the WICB officials on a guided tour of the facility, where they inspected several pieces of merchandise, memorabilia, photographs, documents, cricket CDs and other items, including a hall dedicated to the life story of national hero Sir Garry Sobers .
Sir Wes said that in addition to the items present that within the next two weeks other exhibits would be made available to the public.
During a chat in the boardroom former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes urged the WICB hierarchy to ensure that young and upcoming cricketers be assisted in learning the West Indian story and identifying with those who had made the game in the Caribbean the great product that it was.
He stressed that he was not suggesting that people outside the region had nothing to offer the Caribbean with respect to advancing the game, but noted that in the final analysis West Indies cricket belonged to West Indians and those who had played a part in its development should not be side-stepped.
Haynes pointed to the fact that currently at the University of the West Indies’ High Performance Centre, none of the legends was involved in the programme in a really meaningful way.
Muirhead said he felt humbled to be in the presence of the gathering and promised that the board would be drawing from their expertise as part of the way forward. (WG)