West Indies fast bowling legend Sir Andy Roberts has aimed a bouncer at Cricket West Indies, saying it is not doing enough to develop cricket in the Caribbean. He says the professional franchise system is failing.
Speaking on the Mason and Guest radio cricket show in Barbados on Tuesday, Sir Andy, also a former West Indies coach said: “I’m very disappointed in this present (Ricky Skerritt) administration as far as cricket is concerned. I don’t think they are doing enough to help the cricket to develop.”
President Ricky Skerritt and vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow came into office in 2019 promising to implement a “Cricket First” policy. But Sir Andy is not convinced so far that cricket development is being given the attention it deserves.
“It takes a lot for players to develop themselves, and you need guidance from the top,” he said on the show. “We have a director of cricket (Jimmy Adams) who we don’t hear from and I think that is where we should be looking into, for him to come with plans and say this is where we need to go.”
He added: “At the beginning of the programme, I think they went ahead to develop governance while leaving the cricket and the territories to their own personal development. I do not think the territories have monies to develop the cricket; that is where the Board comes in and help with the development of the cricket.
Concerning the professional franchise system which was introduced in 2014 under former president Dave Cameron, Sir Andy said it was not benefiting enough cricketers.
“I am not in favour of the professional set-up. The reason why is everything is focused on 15 players that these franchises employ,” he began, asking, “what happens to the rest of the cricket?
“The money is going to these 15 players and there is nothing going to the hundreds or the thousands of cricketers left around the region. We have to be fair and try to develop everybody, not just 15 players and I’m very disappointed that we don’t see we have two or three players coming out of the franchise who could go straight into the West Indies cricket team and perform well at international level; I can’t see that.”
Sir Andy would use the allocation for the franchises differently.
“I think that what they should do is to employ four, five or seven of your top players and the rest of the money goes into a pool to help the remainder, but not just 15 players, and what you do, you still turn around and pay others to play,” he said.
“Some people say they prefer the pay-to-play than to be in the franchise setup. So this thing needs to be looked at from a holistic point of view where everybody is going to be involved with the cricket, not just 15,” he argued.