Former Barbados captain Philo Wallace is of the view that Barbados’ cricket is not strong.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Wallace said that Barbados cricket has started to struggle at the various age groups.
“We have the Under-13 and Under-15 titles at the regional level. We are on the verge of losing the Regional Under-19 tournament championship, these are indicators that something is wrong with our cricket,” Wallace said.
“I read the recent annual report of the Barbados Cricket Association and the report from the chairman of the Everton Weekes Center of Excellence, Roland Bucther, was just six paragraphs in which he just thanked people. There was nothing in the report about the development of our young cricketers,” the former West Indies opening batsman said.
Wallace noted another massive problem facing cricket was that some of the club in the Elite and First Divisions were struggling to find players and he
was recommending that the BCA forged a link with the schools to filter players into the clubs.
“Let’s face it. There are
several boys who want to play cricket but only 11 can play for a school team. I think the BCA should have a system where boys who want to play cricket can be absorbed into the clubs. These boys would be playing with senior players and will be learning the game and being mentored at the same time,” said Wallace.
He suggested that there were several talented young players in Barbados and the West Indies but most of them were missing one key component.
“Most of our cricketers have the raw talent and their performances are reasonable at the junior level but when they are selected to play for the senior team too many flaws are being exposed,” Wallace said.
He was emphatic in his support of the BCA paying coaches in the Elite and First Divisions but the former Spartan captain said they should be supervised by the Director of Coaching at the BCA,
“The BCA pays the coaches but I do not believe that they are getting a return on the investment. There are not enough players and coaches coming through the system and I feel that if we are going to develop a semi- professional league then the cricket authorities and the clubs must be singing from the same hymn sheet,” Wallace explained.
He suggested that the BCA has not done enough to make the clubs stronger. Wallace acknowledged that the clubs had a responsibility to help themselves but believed the BCA should give them a framework and a timeline for charting a path for the development of club cricket.
Wallace said that the BCA must strengthen the club structure and one of the ways this could be done was by devising a programme within the schools.
“There are several schoolboys who wish to play cricket but cannot make their school team. The BCA should establish a link between all the schools and clubs. Every year each school will supply a certain number of boys to a club. In this way the clubs will have a steady stream of players and boys who wish to play cricket will be playing with men and senior players who will be mentoring them,” said Wallace.
The former opening batsman also questioned the issuing of contracts by the BCA to players.
“What do these players to when they are not playing for Barbados or their clubs? Are they meeting
as contract players and practising? Who supervises these player? Are they following a regime planned by the BCA coaches? We do not know,” Wallace stated.
“Most of our cricketers do not work and that is a major concern for me. In my day we worked, we left our jobs on evenings and we went to practice that taught us responsibility. I as a former Barbados cricketer am concerned that a lot of our cricketers do not work. They do not bring the discipline of working to their game and yet we expect them to be good cricketers. It would not happen”, suggested Wallace.
Despite his concerns about the state of the game, Wallace was adamant that cricket in Barbados would rebound because of its history and legacy.