Former West Indies wicket keeper batsman Ridley Jacobs is not in support of having a wicketkeeper who cannot make a valuable contribution with the bat.
In fact, Jacobs who is head coach of the victorious Antigua Combined Schools who played unbeaten to win the 2016 Sir Garfield Sobers Under-19 Cricket competition this week at Kensington Oval, told Barbados TODAY there was no room for any wicketkeeper in this day and age who could not make an impact with the bat especially where West Indies cricket was concerned.
His comments came in the wake of Denesh Ramdin’s exclusion from the regional side this month after chief selector Courtney Browne raised concerns about his poor batting average.
“If you have a wicketkeeper that can’t bat then he really and truly should not be in the team and that is how I see it because wicketkeepers bat at five, six and must be able to contribute big time in the batting order. Sometimes the top order fails and when that happens you have somebody that can come in and hold the order together, put some runs on the board and give you something to bowl to. So I think as a wicketkeeper you need to score runs and I think that is the way we in the West Indies need to go in terms of getting wicketkeepers that can bat while at the same time giving of their best behind the stumps,” he said.
The former left-handed batsman who played 147 One Day Internationals and 65 Test matches respectively, was also of the view that West Indies’ senior players were not performing well and therefore agreed with the approach taken by West Indies selectors to give younger cricketers a chance to play and show their capabilities.
“I have a strong belief for development but I also believe that you should select players based on their performances and not just select them because you want to pick them. Once we start to select players based on their performances I think that the cricket will be much stronger with consistent performances and that is what we want in the Caribbean. We want to feel happy again knowing that our team is going out there and performing at a higher level and we are going to get good results.
“I honeslty think that these youngsters need to play a lot more cricket because they need a lot more exposure and we are not getting that in terms of the tournaments we are playing and the Sir Garfield Sobers tournament might be the only one that we get an opportunity to play in different from West Indies tournament. I think that we need to have at least three or four other tournaments that these guys can develop their skills much faster. If you realize in the West Indies team at the highest level we are not performing as well because I honestly think the young cricketers are not getting enough exposure, they are not playing enough cricket and we need to afford them those opportunities in order to get our cricket back on track,” Jacobs said.
Also a former Leeward Islands player, Jacob is playing his role to help develop young cricketers through Sandals Foundation that launched its cricket academy in Antigua.
The 48-year-old told Barbados TODAY that being a coach at the youth level has been going great but he would love to see certain mechanisms put in place for regional cricketers, especially those that got lost at the under-19 level.
“The guys are really keen and willing to learn and I think that we are getting the results that we are looking for in terms of players performing at a high level. We just need to put the right mechanism in place for our players because what happens is that a lot of our under nineteen players just vanish. It happens in Antigua and I guess in other countries so we need to put things in place so when these players finish under nineteen they have something to look forward to perhaps an under-21 to 24 [competition] in order to keep players developing. In fact, twenty-one to twenty-four is a good age to make the West Indies team, but if we don’t have those developmental programmes to nurture these players we are taking a step back in the Caribbean,” he pointed out.