WE HAVE leapt into 2003 and, as usual, everyone will be making predictions and resolutions for the rest of the year, and the West Indies Cricket Board is no different to many of you.
There were signs in the past year that gave us all hope that 2003 will be a better and brighter year for the sport of cricket in the region and we are looking forward to the excitement that lies ahead.
Our obvious objective has been over the last year to consolidate and put down the foundation that will eventually lead to the West Indies returning to the pinnacle of world cricket in the shortest possible space of time.
We must admit there is still a fair way to go before we reach the destination, but we believe that with everyone pulling together that we can take the process forward in a major way during this year.
When we look back on the performances of our teams at various levels, we believe that this year will be critical in the resurgence of the West Indies as a major force in world cricket.
Memories of the Young West Indies team reaching the semi- finals of the Youth World Cup in New Zealand at the start of last year, and strong performances by the senior team at home and away all did much to raise our optimism that our cricket is on the way back.
But neither the WICB nor the players can afford to become complacent. Both of us will face our share of challenges in the ensuing year. But we cannot afford to cower and run from the hurdles that might be ahead.
The WICB and the players must be determined to make the challenges count for something. We will need to either find ways of conquering them - whether they come in the form of finances or the Australia cricket team - or using them as a building block towards a bright future.
So there is plenty of work ahead of us all. The WICB has to work at providing a sound platform on which the players can perform in the way in which we all want. This will mean for the WICB that we have to become more astute administratively and, for the players, they must show more commitment, passion and professionalism.
To all of you, the supporters of West Indies cricket everywhere, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year and we look forward to your continued support throughout the year.