Former West Indies middle-order batsman turned youth coach Keith Arthurton has urged the regional body to put more effort into making sure talented youth cricketers go on to transition into successful senior players.

Arthurton, the left-handed batsman who made 33 Test and 105 ODI appearances for the West Indies, was appointed as coach of the region’s under-15 squad in 2008.  Having seen a lot of promising youth players during his time, he believes there is no doubt that the talent is abundant but too many players for one reason or the other are unable to take the next crucial step.

“Because we’re so gifted, we are naturally able to play the sport.  At the youth level, you will always see the talent but for some reason, there is a transition [problem].  Based on the experience I have doing academy work and grassroots work and so on that transition is normally made at the age of 16 and it's a crucial transition that will either build you or break you,” Arthurton told the Good Morning Jojo radio program.

One solution, he believes, is to develop avenues that serve to provide consistent exposure and high-level competition for players at that critical stage of their development.  The coach revealed that the issue had already been broached with Cricket West Indies but, as it stands, concrete plans are yet to be fully fleshed out.

“You may hear about an under-21 team or an under-23 team but there is no continuation so it may happen for one or two seasons and then it is gone,” Arthurton said.

“We have to understand what we are trying to achieve and what the main purpose of trying to help these guys, the same guys who would be leaving youth cricket and looking to go into senior cricket and how we can maintain that important continuity for players to make the transition a lot easier for them.”

Cricket West Indies has agreed in principle to send a West Indies team to England for a three-Test series in July. The decision was arrived at during a meeting of the board on Thursday.

The decision comes only after CWI medical and cricket-related representatives and advisors have been involved in detailed discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and their own medical and public health advisers over the past few weeks.

These discussions involved the local and international logistics and protocols, which are already being put in place to minimize risk and optimize the health and safety of all concerned.  CWI has also received and reviewed detailed plans for players and staff to be kept in a bio-secure environment for the duration of the tour, with all matches being played “behind closed doors”.

The CWI will now be awaiting the England Cricket Board who is to get approval from the UK Government sometime over the next few days.

CWI’s management is also now in the process of seeking to put all of the approvals and logistics in place within the Caribbean, including seeking permission from the various governments to facilitate the movement of players and support staff, using private charter planes and conducting medical screenings and individual COVID-19 testing for all members of the touring party.

“I would like to thank the CWI management, the Medical Advisory Committee, and the Financial Strategic Advisory Committee for their detailed and timely presentations given to the Board meeting,” said CWI President Ricky Skerritt.

“In addition to our approval in principle of the proposed Test Tour of England, we made some significant financial management decisions that will be announced and implemented in due course.  The great detail to which the Board engaged in these matters is testimony to their urgency and importance, but it meant that we had to defer a few agenda items until next Wednesday (June 3), when we have scheduled to reconvene”.

Most of Thursday’s lengthy meeting focused on discussing the initial short-term recommendations from the Financial Strategy Advisory Committee (FSAC), a special purpose committee that was put in place by CWI President Ricky Skerritt on April 2, 2020.

The committee comprised a joint membership of Directors and Executive Management, all with significant financial management expertise, chaired by JCA President, Wilford “Billy” Heaven.

The Board agreed to the committee’s business continuity plan of action, for how CWI would have to operate in order to survive its cash flow crisis, in the context of the debilitating economic uncertainties of the global pandemic COVID-19.

 

Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves has given the proposed West Indies tour of England in July his blessing once Cricket West Indies can establish that the players representing the region will be safe.

Former Windies bowler turned commentator Ian Bishop has heaped high praise on the current India pace attack, drawing comparisons to the relentless West Indies bowling units of the 1970s and 80s.

With a line-up that included the likes of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, and Colin Croft, the West Indies team of that era became a nightmare for opposing batsmen.  The four-pronged bowling attack was relentless but also possessed some skill to go along with sustained aggression.

Despite initially being known for producing top-class spinners, India has in recent years produced a fearsome pace bowling attack of their own.  The likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, have proved capable of rattling even the best batting line-ups around the globe.

Bumrah has arguably been the pick of the pack and has developed a reputation for terrorizing opposing batsmen with pace and movement, despite a relatively short run-up.  Ironically, it was the West Indies that were rocked back by the bowler last year when he put on an outstanding display during a series between the teams, particularly during a Test match at Jamaica’s Sabina Park.  Bumrah returned outstanding figures of 6-16 from 9.1 overs - including just the third Test hat-trick by an India bowler.

“When you have three fast bowlers, sometimes four and an excellent spinner, it takes my mind back to the West Indies pace quartet before my generation, the Marshalls, the Holdings, the Garners, the Roberts – I’ll stick Colin Croft in there,” Bishop told Cricbuzz in Conversation.

“There is no release point, two come out, two come on.  There is no flow of runs and there is always a threat of penetration and physical harm to a lesser extent.  That is one of the things that makes this group of fast bowlers excellent.”

Retired South African middle-order batsman Jacques Kallis has not been getting a lot of respect lately from the Ultimate XI panellists on the Sportsmax Zone.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose was typically content to let the ball do the talking but recently recalled an occasion when he was tempted to let his fists answer a few questions of their own.

Tony Astaphan SC, attorney-at-law for former Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron, has taken exception to the appearance of what he termed a diminished sense of ‘collective responsibility’, considering some of the accusations levelled against his client in the recent audit report.

The financial report, which singled out Cameron for criticism on several occasions, was commissioned by the current CWI board and conducted by independent auditors Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF).  Among other things, it raised concerns regarding an inadequate accounting system that enabled financial irregularities to go unreported.

Cameron’s legal team has already requested a copy of the contentious document, which has already been leaked, but Astaphan has also been quick to point out that the structure of the CWI remains a board of directors and all decisions were taken and approved at that level.

“If the auditor is in fact making so-called findings on matters that were dealt with by the board and they are so concerned about irregularities and abuses; the directors, including the present ones, from top to bottom, are going to have to come forward and explain their votes to the region and the shareholders,” Astaphan said on the Mason and Guest radio show.

“You can’t just decide to throw one man overboard and say well there goes Cameron swimming down the lagoon again.  Collective responsibility is very important,” he added.

The lawyer strongly rejected the notion that the board members were bullied into voting by the former president, as has been previously suggested.

“It was said that the directors were subservient, subservient, grown men, grown independent men, successful businessmen, politicians and all were subservient to Cameron, that is why they went along with the votes.  As a Caribbean man I would consider that to be contemptuous of my position on the board.”

“There is an implication that there was this and that but everyone went along with Dave Cameron like the pied piper and the rats into the pond.”

Cricket West Indies has begun for a permanent head coach for the West Indies Women. That person will replace interim head coach Gus Logie who has been in charge of the women’s team since October 2019.

Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd agrees in principle with former players stepping in to provide mentorship for the new generation but has called for a careful screening process to get the best outcome from the experience.

The 75-year-old Lloyd has been respected for generations, not just for his cricketing ability but steady and inspiring leadership, which saw the West Indies lift back-to-back ICC World Cup titles in 1975 and 1979. 

With the team currently a long way from those heady days of success, several former players have pointed to the issue of mentorship as a missing element in the current team’s success and have been quick to offer their assistance to rectify the problem.  Not so fast, says Lloyd.

“We have to find out how strong they are in certain departments.  You can’t just say this guy is going to be this when he isn’t suited for that role.  You have to find out what strengths he or she has,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“I’m talking about players that have done extremely well, have been through the mill, and can pass the knowledge on," he added.

 "Not every great player can be a teacher but there are certain aspects and things that they are strong at, and that is what we have to search for, so that when we have a player coming through and they get to Test level they are not learning on the job they have already qualified.”

 

West Indies spinner Rahkeem Cornwall has vowed to 'stick to what he knows', despite being the subject of recent criticism from legendary spinner Lance Gibbs.

The 85-year-old Gibbs, undisputedly one of the region’s finest ever craftsmen in the disciple of spin bowling, was critical of the performance of the current crop of regional spinners on a whole.  His issue with Cornwall stemmed from what he described as the spinner’s short run-up and ‘lack of rhythm’.

Cornwall, who has insisted he only just heard of the remarks has insisted he is not fazed by the criticism as it was impossible to make everyone happy.

“I am not really on social media that much to see some of those things [comments] and if one or two people don’t say something to me I may not see it but I just don’t really dig too deep into it,” Cornwall told the Good Morning Jojo Radio Show.

“I really can’t stress on that, everybody has their own opinion and if you dwell on every opinion you will find yourself get mixed up in all sorts of things so you just have to control what you can control and when the opportunity arises to go and perform you just make sure you stick to what you know and perform,” he said.

The burly spinner, who made his debut for the West Indies against India last year, was recently named as part of a CWI 29-member preparatory squad for a possible tour of England.

Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt has insisted the organisation is in process of implementing several recommendations of a recently commissioned audit, which promises to deliver on previously stated targets of governance reform and financial transparency.

Recent news reports had pointed to financial irregularities discovered after an audit of the CWI balance sheets, which pointed to what was deemed to be, among other things, the improper handling of funds in a recent transfer. 

According to Skerritt, however, issues that have affected the organisation as it relates to governance structure and financial management systems were already being address in two previously commissioned reports.  The Accounting and Management Consulting firm of Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF) was employed to examine the organisation’s financial practices, with a task led by Senator Don Wehby expected to review governance systems.  The CWI president pointed out that PFK had already flagged several issues and that the recommendations suggested were already being adopted by the organisation.

“In carrying out its assessments PKF uncovered some illustrations of questionable executive standards and practices. It verified and emphasized the need for drastic operational reorganization and realignment, with an urgent need for improved risk assessment and cash flow management. The PKF consultants accordingly presented their report in person to the CWI Board of Directors in December, and their twenty-eight (28) recommendations were unanimously adopted,” Skerritt stated via press release.

The recommendations were said to include; Reinforcing the President’s role as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, with responsibility for strategic policy and governance, while empowering and supporting the CEO and his management team with full responsibility for all operational aspects of the organization; realigning the organisation’s leadership, reporting, and functional structure, to enhance accountability and reestablish clear lines of authority and responsibility; strengthening internal controls and ensuring timely reconciliation and reporting of all accounts; and modifying fundamental management practices to ensure transparency, and best practices.  It also called for discontinuing the operations of the Executive Committee of The Board and reporting to the Board on a timely basis, the accurate financial situation.

Skerritt has insisted the organisation did not consider the report for general release because it was an internal matter.  The CWI will now decide whether to release it in full.  According to the president, the recommendations from the Wehby report will be known in a few weeks.

Former Barbados Cricket Association member and women’s team manager Hartley Reid has claimed former West Indies Women’s team all-rounder Shaquana Quintyne is at times in ‘excruciating pain’ and barely able to walk after failing to properly recover from multiple cruciate ligament operations.

The 24-year-old bowling all-rounder has accused Cricket West Indies (CWI) of leaving her to fend for herself after getting injured during a training camp in preparation for the International Cricket Council 50-over World Cup three years ago.  Multiple operations and several failed rehabilitations later the player remains not only unable to resume her craft but on occasion has issues with mobility.

CWI CEO Johnny Grave has, however, strongly refuted claims that the organization has not been supportive of the player.

“We have provided enormous financial support and medical support for Shaquana since she got injured back in 2017…we have paid huge sums of money for her to try and get her career back and try and get back to full fitness,” Grave told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

According to Grave, the organisation’s Total and Permanent Disablement policy, which did not exist for the women’s team in 2017 was extended to Quintyne, in light of the injury.

Reid, however, also a former chairman of women’s cricket for the BCA when Quintyne was captain of the team, has also disputed the level of support provided by the CWI and does not believe it went far enough.

“When she got injured in Antigua in March 2017 she was not even taken to a doctor, a clinic, or to a hospital.  She got injured and was sent back to Barbados two days after.  When she came back to Barbados she was given instructions to see a doctor, that doctor was not even in Barbados.  So, she contacted me in all the pain and tears, and I took her to see an orthopedic surgeon,” Reid told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

Reid went on to explain that the player was unable to continue seeing that orthopedic surgeon in Barbados, after the CWI provided recommendations and means for the player to have surgery and treatment in Jamaica.  After some relief, the conditions, however, returned and Quintyne then got permission to be treated by the surgeon in Barbados.  The player again experienced some relief but after the conditions returned in 2018 was recommended for a third surgery, this time in Canada, on the advice of the Barbadian orthopedic surgeon.

“That is where Cricket West Indies assistance ended.  When she came back from Canada in March 2018, with the understanding that in three months’ time she would have returned to Canada for observation and further analysis, Cricket West Indies not agree for her to go,” Reid explained.

“So, she was in pain all of the time until she decided to go back with her own money.  In November 2018 she had another operation, all at her expense.  She was spending all of her money so she is poor now because she spent all of her money trying to get herself back in condition," he added.

“Right now, as we speak as she put it, her knee has locked up and she is in excruciating pain and she cannot walk, she is crying and immobile.”

 

Former West Indies batsman Ricardo Powell insists he could have benefited more from a better understanding of 'discipline' as a player and believes it is an issue to be addressed if the regional team is to return to a place of prominence.

Powell made a total of 116 appearances for the West Indies between 1999 and 2006 and is widely considered to be one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball.  Looking back at his introduction to the West Indies team as a 21-year-old in 1999, he freely admits that he had failed to grasp certain key elements needed for success during his development as a junior player.

“I remember growing up as a young player never understanding what discipline was in terms of the sport of cricket and how that was applied to cricket,” Powell told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“I always thought that this guy is indiscipline, he isn’t disciplined, not knowing that they were talking about the application to the actual game itself and not necessarily your behavior on and off the field,” he added.

In order to mitigate against such deficiencies affecting future generations of West Indies players, Powell believes the region must make a serious investment in mentorship programs.

“Mentorship should be a big thing in West Indies cricket right now because we are living in a different time and everyone wants to be successful overnight because of what T20 has brought to the game,” Powell said.

"I think a lot of mentorship needs to be taking place with workshops for younger players on and off the field.  The workshops also have to be relatable, with people like myself who have played the game and understand what it is to come from certain walks of life and make it to the top and understand what it takes to get there and how you are going to stay there.”

 

 

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave believes the development of a ‘culture of respect’ by regional players, and other stakeholders involved in the sport, would serve as a more effective solution than the prospect of broad fines levied against individuals for misconduct.

Recently, disparaging public outbursts directed towards other players from veteran West Indies players Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels has brought the issue of player discipline once again to the fore. In addressing the matter, CWI president Ricky Skerritt had previously expressed disappointment with the incidents.

 Outside of just the latest incidents, however, the region has had a long history of players choosing to air grievances in a public manner.  While some have suggested the implementation of public fines for instances of bringing the sport into disrepute as a solution, things can get more complex when the players are not directly contracted to the CWI.  Grave believes the best solution lies in a cultural shift.

“Individual cricketers that are outside of the framework of our cricket or contractual system can clearly talk openly and freely,” Grave told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“What I’d really want, rather than the ability to punish players, is to be able to create a culture of mutual trust and respect between all the stakeholders.  So, if there are disagreements or disputes, they are appropriately dealt with inhouse, and if we have to agree to disagree every now and again that will happen,” he added.

“I’d much rather have a culture within Cricket West Indies of mutual respect where we are not relying on a code of conduct or punishment.”   

Leeward Islands captain Kieran Powell has been left disappointed by his non-selection to the provisional 29-man squad for the West Indies tour of England which looks set to go ahead this summer.

Cricket West Indies announced the squad recently in lieu of agreements with the England and Wales Cricket Board about a tour that was scheduled for June but has now been postponed amid plans to make it safe despite the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

The squad had seen the return of pacer Shannon Gabriel, spinner Veerasammy Permaul and middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood.

There were also some new faces to the squad like Preston McSween, Paul Palmer, Shane Mosely and Keon Harding.

Powell, who last represented the West Indies on the 2018 tour of Bangladesh, was a notable absentee.

Since Powell’s exclusion from the West Indies set-up, he has scored fairly heavily in regional cricket, a fact that has elicited surprise at his non-selection.

“I haven’t really been as productive as I would like in the four-day format but I still managed to stand out above everyone else who played in the tournament so it’s disheartening for myself to learn that I hadn’t been selected based on the volume of runs I scored,” said Powell.

Despite leading the Caribbean in the Regional Super50 competition with 524 runs last year, Powell was not selected for series against India, Ireland and Sri Lanka.

There had been reports that Powell should have been a replacement for Evin Lewis in the Sri Lanka series. Lewis had failed a fitness test but the reports are suggesting Powell also failed that test.

“I don’t mind not being selected. This is part and parcel of being in West Indies cricket. It has been here long before me and I’m pretty sure it will be long after but communication is the most important thing,” Powell said regarding the failure of the fitness test.

According to Powell, he is yet to hear from CWI what aspects of the test he failed and what he needed to work on.

“Obviously there are more factors to it, which is what I am trying to ascertain. What are those standards, so I can work on whatever I need to work on so I can get my international career back off the ground?” he said.

While not calling names or suggesting this administration inclusive of coaches and board has anything more than the best interest of cricket at heart, Powell did point out that there was a certain stigma that has made his sojourn in West Indies cricket more difficult.

“I remember a coach of the West Indies team telling me that I don’t need to play for the West Indies team because I was financially good and that I should leave it for people who aren’t financially good and I didn’t understand,” said Powell.

According to the elegant left-hander, his finances should not be used to count against him playing for the region.

“No one would look at a LeBron James or a Cristiano Ronaldo, and so many others, that based on all the investments they have that they don’t need to play anymore. Obviously, we know the history of athletes going bankrupt,” he said.

Chief of selectors, Roger Harper, asked about the exclusion of Kieron Pollard, said the issue was one based completely on cricket and that there was no personal feeling toward Powell one way or the other.

“I don’t know of any problem with Powell. When we picked our squad, we picked what we thought was the best squad for those conditions,” said Harper.

The West Indies tour of England will see them fight to retain the Wisden Trophy they took from England last year.

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