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CEO of windward islands cricket board talks tough

CEO of windward islands cricket board talks tough

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Get in shape, or make way for others.

That is the message being sent to those selected for the Windward Islands Cricket teams.

Chief Executive Officer of the Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control, Lennox John, who is prepared to bite the bullet, has taken a no nonsense stance for compliance to a proper training regimen by the members of the senior team, and will do likewise with the recently selected Under-15 unit.{{more}}

John told SEARCHLIGHT recently that such a position had to be taken in light of an unsatisfactory report following the West Indies Cricket Board’s One Day Limited Overs regional tournament in Guyana last November.

“There were reports that some players had turned up unprepared and some not fit,” John stated.

The CEO said that in his capacity, he dispatched the report to the four individual Boards, as well as to the head of the Windward’s Board, Emmanuel Nathan.

John stated that the decision was unanimous, as everyone agreed that such a programme was necessary.

John said that the decision was made to have the players from the four islands overseen during the preparations for this year’s regional four day competition, which starts next week.

“We then set in motion a programme to have the players train at least two, three times a week, and monitored by someone,” John, a former long standing Windwards Board President added.

He said that players in the four territories are being overseen by the selectors.

“Here in St.Vincent (and the Grenadines ), Gunny (Stanley Hinds) is overseeing the Vincentians. In St. Lucia it is Julian Charles. In Dominica , Irvine (Shillingford), and the captain (Rawl Lewis) is seeing about the Grenadians training,” John revealed.

“ So far the reports have been good,” John said.

And, with this in train, John said that the other teams, namely the Under-19 and Under-15’ s will have to follow suit.

However, John admitted that the Windwards tournaments to select the various squads are held a few months prior to the regional tournaments, hence putting the players at a disadvantage in terms of readiness.

The Windwards, since competing as a separate unit from 1982, are yet to recapture the successes of their initial entry, when they placed second in 1982 and 1983.

Thereafter, it has been all downhill, recording no fewer than nine last places from 1987 to 2008, with a few occasions one from bottom, and coupled with two seasons where they lost all their matches.

The Windwards successes have been at the Limited Overs Competition, winning the Geddes Grant Shield in 1988, the Red Stripe Bowl in 2000, and was the beaten finalist in the KFC Cup in 2007.

In that period, too, the four island set up has put a mere nine players on the West Indies senior team.

Those making the Test grade were Ian Allen, Junior Murray, Cameron Cuffy, Rawl Lewis, Nixon Mc Lean, Devon Smith and Darren Sammy, while Deighton Butler and Andre Fletcher have played at the One Day International level.

The 13-member team selected following the Windwards Goodwill series in Dominica, September last, include Lewis, Devon Smith, Nellon Pascal, Denis George and Gavin Roberts of Grenada, Mervyn Matthew, Shane Shillingford, Liam Sebastian and Kevin James of Dominica, with Vincentians Linden James, Deighton Butler and Miles Bascombe, and St. Lucian Darren Sammy.

The combination of Coach – Vincentian, Ian Allen – and Manager, Dominican, Lockhart Sebastian was retained for the sixth successive year.

The Windwards placed fifth in last year’s Carib Beer Series, and opens its campaign with a first round meeting with Guyana, at the Grenada National Stadium, from January 9 to 12.

But John disclosed that prior to that meeting, the Windwards will engage the Leewards in a three-day warm up match in St. Kitts.

This year’s tournament will be an extended one, with teams meeting each other twice, in a home and away series.