Stanford unveils professional Antigua team
Made up of Antiguan nationals, the team in Antigua is being described as a test case to establish the format for setting up other such professional teams throughout the region. Players on the team will be paid to play cricket full-time. They will also be able to carry out West Indies, Leeward Island Cricket Association and Antigua national team duties as part of the programme.
"In addition to creating more competitive play in the Stanford 20/20 tournament, the purpose for the Stanford 20/20 Professional Team in Antigua and the league overall is to provide the West Indies with a pool of players that they can tap into when making selections for their National and West Indies Cricket Teams," explained Sir Allen Stanford. "These players are going to live, eat and breathe cricket.
"They are going to be paid for it. Their job will be to play cricket and they will make a living doing so. The West Indies cannot help but benefit from the caliber of cricket that we are going to see come out of this team and the league when it all comes together. We are very excited about what this means for West Indies cricket."
Along with training and playing cricket, the Stanford 20/20 Professional Team members will also participate in educational classroom activities focusing on such topics as motivation, financial planning and advanced technical cricket and work with the youth programme and in the schools with up and coming youth cricketers. The players will also travel extensively in order to gain valuable competitive experience.
Seventeen players have been selected for the team following a camp in May. Another 13 will train with the team on a regular basis.
The selection panel comprised the local selectors from the Antigua & Barbuda Cricket Association along with the coach for the team, Eldine Baptiste and the Stanford 20/20 legends from Antigua - Sir Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts, Richie Richardson and Curtly Ambrose.
The team will have a full time coach and personal trainer in Antiguans Eldine Baptiste and Evans 'Jawakie' Jones, as well as a full-time manager. Other specialists will be brought in when necessary to assist in the physical and mental development of the players.
Stanford 20/20 Professional Team Sylvester Joseph (capt), Justin Athanaze, Michael Challenger, Wilden Cornwall, Juari Edwards, Chad Hampson, Larry Joseph, Anthony Martin, Stephen Matthew, Branco Payne, Austin Richards, Mali Richards, Curtis Roberts, Carl Simon, Devon Thomas, Gavin Tonge, Gavin Williams. Coach - Eldine Baptiste. Trainer - Evans 'Jawakie' Jones.