West Indies can reach top three again in Tests, ODIs
- WICB President says By Clyde Pestano
Stabroek News
December 21, 2003

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Former left-arm spinner, batsman and Chancellor of the Judiciary Professor Aubrey Bishop in conversation with former cricketer and WICB President Teddy Griffith at the annual awards ceremony of the GCB at the Ocean View International Hotel last Friday. (L

According to Teddy Griffith current president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), the West Indies cricket team can, and shall in his tenure, rise again at least to the top three of the ICC rankings in both tests and one day internationals (ODIs).

Griffith made this announcement while addressing the annual awards ceremony of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) at the Ocean View International Hotel, Liliendaal, Greater George-town. The president said that under-performance and a poor work ethic are two of the main reasons for the poor performances of the team in recent years, especially on overseas tours.

The WICB boss recalled the glory days of WI cricket a number of years ago and said that in those days the work ethic of the team was excellent and discipline on and off the field was good. In addition, the team then had an abundance of natural talent as well as players with the drive necessary to succeed. He also noted that West Indian cricketers had in the past benefited tremendously from their participation in the English cricket leagues where professionalism was expected.

The president lamented that in recent times professionalism seemed to be lacking by both players and administrators of the game throughout the region.

The way to go, according to Griffith, is to concentrate on a comprehensive plan which must be adequately financed by the stakeholders of West Indies cricket. These include the various boards and the governments in the Caribbean. He said that talented players must be identified and worked with on a consistent basis, and disclosed that retainer contracts will soon be put in place to keep the senior players at home when they are not playing international matches. He said also that the ICC will have to adjust its scheduling so that when the regional competitions are held senior players are not away on international engagements.

Griffith also disclosed that in the new year the board will put in place a collective labour agreement with the West Indian Players Association (WIPA).

Coaching and competitions

He noted that the future of West Indies cricket depends on heavy investment in the game at the school level and major improvements in the overall infrastructure of the region's cricket facilities. He announced the strengthening of the WICB's coaching programmes and the implementing of a linear programme of competition in the under-15 to under-23 level throughout the region to complement the current regional competitions. The president said he was concerned that the current structure of the regional four-day tournament was not doing enough to develop the kind of players that he wanted to represent the West Indies.

Griffith also cautioned that the financial resources, especially of the board, are getting scarcer and will continue to be that way. According to the president, the board has projected a loss of US$2.2M for the tour of Bangladesh and another US$1M annually on overseas tours where the WICB will incur expenses but earn no revenues. As a result, the president said that the WICB must now look at alternative sources of finance instead of relying on the usual traditional ones.

World Cup 2007

He said that while the region must hail its successes it must also understand that there are serious challenges ahead, especially over the next 39 months, by which time World Cup 2007 is due. Griffith said it is his personal goal to have the region in a 60% state of readiness by 2005. He said that the board is committed also to delivering the World Cup on time and on budget. The president also warned that even though a huge financial contract has been signed, it carries with it huge financial penalties should problems develop during the event.

Griffith said that the board may be able to garner close to US$100M, but out of that close to US$60M will be utilized for expenses and other fees. He added that the board can make a profit, all things being equal, and that profit can be utilized to re-launch cricket in the West Indies by lifting it to higher heights.

The president said that on July 5 next year the venues that have been selected to host matches will be announced and by December 31, 2004, individual contracts will be signed by the successful bidders.

Griffith appealed to the audience to help the WICB produce a high calibre event that will make the region proud.

Guyana's performance

Prior to Griffith's address, the GCB's President, Chetram Singh, gave a review of the board's activities during the year and said that it was one of mixed fortunes for Guyana. The Guyana team won the Red Stripe Bowl and was second in the Carib Beer competition. The under-19 team did well to reach the semi-finals of both the one day and four-day TCL competition.

Assad Fudadin, Zaheer Moha-med, Tyrell Tull and Zamal Khan were singled out for special mention.

Singh also mentioned that club cricket was going through tough times in Guyana with declining membership, paucity of sponsorship and diminishing human resources. However, he stated that despite this the GCB was committed to continuing its work and highlighted some of the board's achievements for the year. He also heaped praise on the sponsors who are still involved with cricket in Guyana.

Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, Gail Teixeira, also spoke at the ceremony and she congratulated the GCB for the work it has done under the various constraints. Teixeira said that more ways can be found to find sponsorship and cited the single example of a football team from Lethem, which had sought out and garnered sponsorship for its participation in the current Kashif and Shanghai competition.

The minister also said that she was disappointed with the state of women's cricket in Guyana, but was happy that two of the country's female cricketers Candacy Atkins and Indomattie Goordial were selected to be on the West Indies team.

Teixeira pleaded with the audience to put aside their personal and other agendas and to come on board for Guyana's bid for World Cup 2007.

She said that it was a daunting task, but the government is committed to ensuring that Guyana plays its part; the first step of which is to ensure the country gets a stadium as well as getting selected for matches in 2007.