Guyana’s Ali Calls For More Investment In West Indies Cricket Talent.

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President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has called for new regional legislation that could revive the West Indies as a world power in cricket that could have a say in any changes in the laws of cricket.

This was his charge during the opening ceremony of the inaugural CARICOM Regional Cricket Conference, held at the Hyatt Regency, in Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday.

The president said that this legislation can promote enhanced quality, and advance the agenda of revitalising the West Indies cricket brand.

“We have to have common legislation across all countries in the region, and the same level of governance reform,” the president said in his virtual address.

He called for a revamp of the entire cricketing ecosystem, amid a slew of challenges that have eroded interest in the Caribbean franchise.

“We are losing fans. The loss of ownership, lack of talent, lack of responsibility…these are the things that are real, and they require institutional rearrangement, governance rearrangement,” the Guyanese leader explained.

According to him, many of these challenges were brought about by a lack of investment in talent and weak institutional support, among other elements.

He lamented that there is fierce competition from the North Americas, and even hinted at a takeover of the sport, as the Caribbean brand fades into the background.

Under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd  and with the great batsman Viv RIchards and a team full of great fast bowlers and batters the West Indies won the  World Cup of 1975 and later continued thrashing the test match opposition into the early in the 1990s,  a period seen with a greater sense of nostalgia more now than ever before in light of the unfortunate losses that the game has gone through in the Caribbean since then.

Since that time the power of West Indies cricket has declined with several top players refusing to play for the national team due to pay and contractual disputes. Basically the issue was that they could make more money playing overseas than their local cricket authorities could afford to pay.

“The global system of cricket conspired against us in their rules and regulations. We were known for fearsome fast-bowling and elegant stroke-play, real fast-bowling, and then the system was changed. The rules were changed to deny us of this brand of cricket. And we allowed the rule to change without protest,” President Ali said.

As a result, President Ali called for greater financing for the sport, better management both on and off the field, accelerated brand building, and more robust policies to support sporting facilities, especially within the school system.

He said that Caribbean cricket is teeming with excitement and thrills, and its incorporation with the rich cultural heritage offers an immersive experience for any audience.

“We don’t need to change this. We need to master this. We need to expand this as our brand,” he urged.

The president continued, “Cricket is not only played on the field in this region, cricket is played in the hearts of our people, it is played to encourage positive living and we have to look at the entire cricketing ecosystem, if we are to address the issues of cricket in the Region. Cricket is linked directly to our economies, linked to our tourism product.”

The CARICOM Regional Conference is being held under the theme “Reinvigorating West Indies Cricket – A Symposium for Strategic Collaboration and Innovation’. It is chaired by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket, Dr. Keith Rowley, who also underscored the need to return Caribbean Cricket to its former glory.

“We do not intend to give up on cricket. We intend to defend cricket and we intend to play cricket at the highest level, and we will get back to the top,” Dr Rowley affirmed. The symposium continues today, as the regional leaders seek to address challenges facing West Indies cricket and explore viable solutions.

Source: Guyana Goverment Information Service.
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