Caribbean legends left out in the cold
Three of the region's most outstanding fast bowlers of all time yesterday expressed surprise that they had not been called upon to assist in the development of West Indies cricket following the tremendous injection of funds from Sir Allen Stanford.
The telling revelation came from Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh during the announcement of plans for the 2008 Stanford 20/20 Tournament which will be played here from January 25 to February 24.
"Over the years, there have been calls from all quarters of the region that all these 14 men you see in blue [Stanford board of directors] should be part of the development of West Indies cricket. They should assist in one way or another. One of the reasons they said it couldn't be done is because there was no money," Roberts said. "The men in blue are still here. They haven't been called to assist in the development. Apart from that, each of the legends is accessible to each of the territories in one form or another. This is free of cost to the territories.
"I am wondering is it because there is no money or was there lack of foresight or nobody had any vision to help develop West Indies cricket?"
Last year, during the inaugural version of the tournament, each of the 19 associations of the participating teams received US$100,000 in capital investment funding and US$180,000 to spend on players' and coaches' development and support and maintenance of facilities and equipment.
Each of the 14 legends was attached to a team, but the feedback suggests that there has been little contact between the teams and the legends after the tournament.
"We haven't been called upon to do follow-ups by the territories. We have gone to sow the seed to make sure they have infrastructure," Walsh said. "The onus is now on the rest of the stakeholders to get involved and do whatever we can to make sure West Indies' cricket gets back to where we want to see it."
Roberts, Walsh and Ambrose, who share more than 1,100 Test wickets, were speaking in the presence of a few Caribbean government ministers and other top-level delegates.
"When I gracefully walked away from cricket, I said then, and I maintain that, I would love to put back something in West Indies cricket," Ambrose said. "When I look around with all these legends here, I am just amazed that nothing has been done.
"West Indies' cricket is in a crisis. Some of the talent that we have here ... I just can't believe that we are not called upon to try and help save us from this embarrassing situation."