Skerritt hails appointment of Sir Viv By Ezra Stuart
Guyana Chronicle
June 13, 2002

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PORT OF SPAIN - West Indies’ cricket team manager Ricky Skerritt has hailed the appointment of the legendary Sir Vivian Richards as chairman of the regional selection panel, as a good move.

“It has to be,” Skerritt said on a television programme here yesterday morning ahead of the fourth Cable and Wireless One-Day International against New Zealand at the Queen’s Park Oval.

“(Sir) Viv is one of the greatest players to ever play for the West Indies. He is obviously a cricket brain,” Skerritt asserted.

“Having been a very gifted player, getting into the team at a very young age, I think he will appreciate as much or more than anybody else, how important it is to give young people a chance and to really invest in them because he benefited from that when he was a youngster,” Skerritt said.

Sir Vivian, the West Indies’ leading batsman in Test cricket with 8 540 runs, took over from former Test wicket-keeper Mike Findlay following the conclusion of the recent home series against India.

“I think it is a very exciting time for West Indies cricket. People are expecting a lot of Sir Viv and we all wish him very well,” remarked Skerritt.

“But obviously, we are going to have to be patient with him, give him a chance to settle in to the job. It’s a new role for him and I know he is very excited about it. He is very enthusiastic about doing a good job,” added Skerritt.

Skerritt, who is in his third year as team manager, said there are many challenges facing West Indies cricket, especially the management of its finances.

“It is certainly time for a change in how we manage and earn our money because the cricket side of it has its own peculiar problems.

“Our President (Reverend) Wes Hall, who is himself a very committed individual, is working feverishly to try to reorganise how we go about managing in our cricket, how we go about preparing our youngsters and I think we are going to see a lot more development work,” Skerritt declared.

“It is all beginning to take shape but the problem is going to be how do we fund that and how do we manage those funds where we don’t lose as much money as we have been losing,” noted Skerritt.

Hall, who came into office last year following the sudden resignation of Jamaican businessman Pat Rousseau, disclosed after the regional board’s annual general meeting in Jamaica last month end that the WICB had incurred a loss of US$15 million during the past three years.

“So the West Indies Cricket Board has a very difficult couple of years ahead of us until the English Sky contract kicks in, in 2004 with some additional revenue and then leading up to the 2007 World Cup,” Skerritt said.

“Everything that I hear suggest financially the stress continues for probably two more years and then things get better,” added Skerritt.

Skerritt also disclosed that the members of regional team have been trying over the last couple of years to reach out to the Caribbean media and fans of West Indies’ cricket.

“We have focused a lot more on the media and the fans but you’re talking

about hundreds of thousands people around the Caribbean and around the world as opposed to just a few media personalities. This is an example of trying to be more available,” Skerritt remarked.

“It would have been great if the West Indies was really one country and it was the same every way but it isn’t. Every country has its own peculiarity,” Skerritt added.

“We have been well received everywhere…(but) its an ongoing challenge to meet the demands in every country, every day. There’s just no let up,” Skerritt charged.