Benjamin believes Windies have long road to recovery
Guyana Chronicle
September 26, 2002

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) - Former Test pacer Kenny Benjamin believes the West Indies have a very long road to recovery because there has not been enough focus on rebuilding and development in recent years.

The 35-year-old Antiguan, who represented the West Indies between 1992 and 1998, does not expect the regional side to return to the top of world cricket any time soon.

“We are a long way away from that,” said Benjamin in an interview during the CMC CricketPlus coverage of yesterday’s Champions Trophy semifinal between South Africa and India.

“I don’t believe we are going to turn the corner very shortly, because of the structures we have in the local cricket,” he added.

Benjamin said weak domestic cricket in the individual territories is translating to lower quality international players and the authorities should address the foundation of the problem first.

“I think a lot of the territories, their local cricket is in trouble, I believe that is why West Indies cricket is in trouble.

“I believe all the local associations and all the coaches should have one purpose in mind and that is to produce players for West Indies cricket team,” he said.

Benjamin, who also played professionally in England and South Africa, before giving up first class cricket last year, thinks over-emphasis on current performance of the senior team is also retarding the overall rebuilding process.

“Everybody is looking at the top, but what you plant is what you are going to reap. I think all the territories all the islands, they have to get proper youth development programmes in place and that is when West Indies cricket is going to benefit.”

He called on regional fans to be patient and not to have unreal expectations of the current senior team.

“I think the chairman of selectors Sir Vivian Richards, chairman of development committee Mike Findlay and coach Roger Harper need to come out and make the public understand that West Indies cricket right now cannot be about winning World Cups and that sort of thing.

“I don’t thing that is where our focus should be at, we should be at rebuilding,” he said. Benjamin, who helped Gauteng win the 1999/2000 South Africa SuperSport title, praised Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts in establishing a cricket academy for their players and suggested more territories should embark on similar plans.

“We need more of those in more of the territories. That would be a positive start and then is when we can start saying that we will turn the corner very shortly,” said Benjamin, who played 26 Test matches for the West Indies, taking 92 wickets.