New dawn in WI cricket
By Alan Harris
A new era in West Indies cricket has begun.
The highly anticipated and long overdue Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre (HPC) was officially opened last night at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
A who’s who of West Indies cricket, past and present, turned out for what was truly an inspiring evening filled with yesterday’s pride and tomorrow’s hope.
“This is a historic day,” Julian Hunte, President of the West Indies Cricket Board, declared to a packed Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination. “This Centre is for the fans who are longing for the glorious past of West Indies cricket to return.”
Based in Barbados at the picturesque Cave Hill Campus, the High Performance Centre is the first cricket academy of its kind in the Caribbean region. It is a unique educational and training experience which strategically works with elite athletes to enable them to fully integrate their sporting, lifestyle and career aspirations.
“We have travelled a long road to each this milestone,” Hunte continued with an optimistic tone. “The dominance of West Indies cricket ended 15 years ago. The challenge to West Indian dominance was met with the stark realisation that we had not properly prepared during our years of success to meet the challenges we should have anticipated. In the past 15 years, we have seen a steady loss of pride, dignity and standards.”
In response to this loss, the High Performance Centre has been created.
“The challenge to advance West Indies cricket to meet the contemporary conditions is clearly before us,” he said to much approval. “We have undertaken the necessary actions to regain our competitiveness among the elite cricketing nations of the world. The launch of this High Performance Centre in Barbados is another immediate action to prepare ourselves for the road ahead”.
One of the top priorities of the High Performance Centre is to bridge the gap between youth cricket and international cricket. In keeping with this mandate, 15 young cricketers between the ages of 19 and 27 have been selected as the Inaugural Team.
They will spend three months at the High Performance Centre where they will be exposed to state-of-the-art training facilities, coaching techniques, equipment, education and sports science.
“The West Indies Cricket High Performance Centre has become a reality after a prolonged period of gestation,” Sir Hilary Beckles, Chairman of the HPC, said during his address. “The HPC is the coordinating hub of the WICB regional cricket academy that will utilise the facilities at all our international cricket venues where satellite academies are being established. Its location within the walls of the University of the West Indies is logical given its regional character and the considerable resources it will make available to sustain excellence in cricket.”
Sir Hilary commented that West Indies cricket was currently at a crossroad in its history but with the High Performance Centre becoming a reality, that junction could be crossed successfully.
“We believe that this learning facility will have a tremendous impact on the performance culture of West Indies cricket,” he said. “The combining of talent with tenacity, commitment with capacity, and discipline with dexterity will underpin the pedagogy of the Centre’s programmes and enable the development of higher calibre players. I have every confidence that the High Performance Centre will be a catalyst in the further development of West Indies cricket.”
Adding his vote of confidence to the new Centre was David Thompson, Prime Minister of Barbados.
“Cricket is important to our Caribbean civilisation,” he said. “I hope that this High Performance Centre will be a very vital and critical turning point in West Indies cricket.”
The first group of players are: Shamarh Brooks, Jason Holder, Shane Dowrich (Barbados), Kyle Corbin, Kevin McClean (Combined Campuses & Colleges), Brandon Bess, Ravindra Chandrika, Veerasammy Permaul (Guyana), Nkrumah Bonner, Andre Creary (Jamaica), Kieran Powell, Devon Thomas (Leeward Islands), Shannon Gabriel (Trinidad and Tobago) Keron Cottoy, Delorn Johnson (Windward Islands).
Toby Radford – Director and Head Coach
Andre Coley – Assistant Coach
William Bourne – Spin Specialist Coach
Shannon Lashley – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Courtney Browne – Wicket-keeping Coach
Roddy Estwick – Pace Bowling Coach
Simon Grayson – Performance Coach
Jacqueline King-Mowatt – Physiotherapist
Jessica Reid – Administrative Assistant