There is a lot to be desired at the Sir Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence. And there is much work needed to bring domestic cricketers up to international standards.
Former Barbados and England batsman Roland Butcher says that these are two of the areas that are motivating him to seek another two-year term on the Barbados Cricket Association board when elections are held on August 29.
Butcher told Barbados TODAY he was not seeking reelection to be a director of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) just to sit on a board, but rather his was a commitment to serve Barbados cricket and a desire to complete his work with the Sir Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence.
“I have been a member of the board for eight years, and during that time I have been working diligently to help improve cricket in Barbados and move it to a higher level. I don’t think that the job has been completed so I am asking the members to return me to the board,” he said.
Butcher stated he served as the chairman of the Sir Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence which conducts the major player development programmes for cricket on the island. But he added there was still work that had to be completed.
“There are many aspects of the Centre that still need developing. I think the technology side of the academy is very underdeveloped at the moment and needs to be improved. There is a pressing need for vital equipment such as pitch vision and hawk-eye which will allow the coaches to sit down in a classroom setting with the cricketers and analyse their strengths and weaknesses. Along with pitch vision and hawk-eye there should be a library where coaches can review the various stages of the development of our cricketers. I think we got to work harder at the BCA to bring the Centre up to the standard of other academies around the world,” Butcher contended.
He stated the Centre was severely affected by not having an indoor facility, which was a basic requirement for an academy, and added it was vital if cricket in Barbados was to be truly developed.
“The coaches conduct their sessions at the mercy of the weather. We have difficulties in terms of practice pitches, because they are used by all and sundry. Therefore their quality is not up to standard. These are some of the areas that the board must address in the future. The facility at Wildey has been earmarked for several years as the home for the Centre. I think it is the ideal place to move our junior cricket in terms of practice. This would assist a lot of cricketers who might be finding it difficult to get to Kensington Oval. The two areas that I want to work hard on if I am successful in my bid to be re-elected to the board are the building of an indoor facility at Kensington Oval and the development of the land at Wildey to make it the home for youth cricket,” he explained.
Butcher noted that current players have been extremely successful at the regional level in all of the various age groups, and thus the challenge for Barbados was not winning titles regionally. But he explained the challenge was to bring them up to the standard of other cricket-playing nations.
“I think the challenge for us at the Center of Excellence is to develop players who are comparative to other cricketers in the world. This is going to require a lot of hard work and planning. It is okay to win the under-15 or under-19 titles, but the critical factor is how our cricketers measure up against those players of a similar age in England, India or Australia,” Butcher, the first black cricketer to represent England, said.
He stated that even though Barbados might be regarded as the leading cricket nation in the region, its cricketers must be world-class rather than regional-class.
“A lot of our players are being selected for the West Indies but are they performing at the level that is required? This is the real challenge for us, if we do not invest in these facilities that I mentioned earlier our cricket will stay at the level it is. I believe that our standard must be higher; it must be world-class. Anytime I have been involved with a project my objective is to make it world-class. This will not happen overnight but I will work toward that goal. I went to the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies as the director of sports in 2004 and everyone can see the results of my tenure there. My philosophy is based on professionalism which is fundamental to everything I do,” Butcher said.