Cricket West Indies intends to work a lot closer with regional bowlers who are suspended for suspect bowling actions by the International Cricket Council (ICC), says Barbados Cricket Association president, Conde Riley.
Ronsford Beaton is the most recent West Indies fast bowler cited for chucking after he was reported last December during a One Day International series against New Zealand. That was followed this past Tuesday by Beaton being suspended from bowling in international cricket by the world governing body having failed an independent assessment of his action.
Riley told Barbados TODAY it was not impossible for the 25-year old right-hand pacer to rectify his form and return to international cricket. And even though Barbados hasn’t had such a case in a long time, he said CWI was doing all it could regionally to ensure players got the assistance needed to iron out any chinks in their bowling actions.
“If they are reported at the junior level, Under-15, 17, 19, in the case of Barbados, we try to sort their action out, film them and show them where they are going wrong and try to get that sorted out before they get to the senior cricket where they get very disappointed. But right now, the West Indies Cricket Board is taking that over and Ronsford is earmarked to go to Antigua at the High Performance Center to see if they can get him sorted,” Riley said.
Prior to Beaton being banned, off-break bowler Sunil Narine was also called for throwing multiple times. Former Jamaican and West Indies fast bowler Jermaine Lawson’s Test career came to a screeching halt in 2005 when he was just 23 years old after being called for throwing. He had bowled with the same action at the junior level and despite whispers in some quarters, he took that same action into the international arena.
Riley, a former director of the WICB, noted that even though CWI was there and willing to aid the players through the High Performance Center in Antigua, many of them instead of being patient and improve their bowling were often anxious to play franchise cricket for the money and refused the regional body’s help.
“But I think that they don’t want to miss tournaments so before they are given the all-clear by us, they say they want their franchise to do it. Like in the case of Narine [Sunil]. His franchise in India would work on him to sort him out and most of the time the players take it upon themselves to get it done, as opposed to letting Cricket West Indies sort them out.
“But in most cases with the amount of money being offered in the T20 leagues, they persistently go and play and are called again. Anytime in Barbados a player is reported we try to work on them especially at the junior level and give them the remedial work using cameras,” Riley said.
Speaking from a coach’s perspective, former Barbados player, Franklyn Stephenson, shared the same sentiments as Riley, saying it was not impossible for Beaton to refine his action but it must be something that he wants to do.
“It is an individual thing to work on something like that, it is going to take a lot of discipline. Obviously, he is going to have to rein himself back and still have the discipline to keep that change he is seeking to make even in pressure situations. Because he is not a youngster now that is just starting cricket, every time he bowls, somebody is trying to hit him somewhere to the boundary. So, he has got to be on top of his form, he is going to have to strive to produce that extra every time, so yes it can happen, but it is not going to be an easy thing,” Stephenson said, as he expressed his disappointment about Beaton whom he thought four years ago was the next best thing.
The head coach of the Franklyn Stephenson Academy said he did not believe regional coaches were to blame.
“We have had players in international cricket like Courtney Walsh, Colin Croft, a whole host of players that ordinarily people thought were throwing but the analysis said they weren’t and could bowl. So, it is very difficult for the coaches, I think that the ICC must implement a programme where every youngster that is gearing towards national, regional or international selection, can be analysed. But they [ICC] have taken the ruling onto themselves, only them can make the ruling.”
The former fast bowler criticized CWI for not doing enough to sustain the growth and development of cricket in the Caribbean. Stephenson described CWI’s attitude as myopic, saying there was much more to regional cricket than a West Indies team and pointed out that a lot more grassroots work was needed.
“Our cricket is dying, and every year, fewer and fewer teams are playing. And if the board can only see that they need to train the coaches and only send international teams out, then I am sorry that is not enough at all. We need to put a lot of work in on the ground and every basic academy that you implement is not only going to help the youngsters to learn and understand and gain longevity in the game. But it is also going to help your national and international players to get more practice and more meaningful input into the game of cricket.”