West Indies cricket March 28, 2008

Haynes urges WICB to set up academy

Cricinfo staff

Catch 'em young: Desmond Haynes wants the WICB to focus more on youth cricket © Tropiximaging

Former West Indies batsman Desmond Haynes wants a regional cricket academy to be set up in order to get West Indies cricket back up the ladder.

Speaking at the "Rebuilding West Indies Glory" Sports Desk Symposium in St Anne's, Haynes said, "Too much money is being spent by the West Indies Cricket Board by bringing in these coaches from outside, when we in the Caribbean can do a better job. If I had to make a choice, I don't think I would appoint a coach of the West Indies team.

"Let me tell you, as a former player, that when you reach the West Indies senior-team level, it is very hard to change a player. I think that the WICB should concentrate on cricket at the youth level and mould these players into winners.

"I am saying that a cricket academy in the West Indies is very crucial to our success. The former great players might not want to travel with the team day in and day out but they may want to still assist the players. Remember, these guys have families and they would have travelled a lot during their playing days. Now they may not want to continue that but more importantly, I think that they will be better served at the academy than being around the Test team for just a few days before a match."

Haynes, 52, believes former players can add value to an academy by conducting clinics. "What can be done is that the WICB sets up an academy and allows former players to come in and host clinics in the different disciplines. This would work well and will be of tremendous help to the young players."

"With the technology available to us right now, the coaches can sit at the academy and view videos of the players during their net sessions and matches and make recommendations to them. You don't have to be on the spot to make a change."

Haynes added that a number of mini-academies should be set up in each territory for the younger players before they move on to the major academy.

Deryck Murray, the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board and former West Indies wicketkeeper, believes the only way West Indies cricket can move forward is for officials to stop fooling themselves into believing that the team is in a rebuilding phase.

Speaking at the same symposium, Murray said, "If we win a Test match in 2008 and people say that we have started the rebuilding process, then this is a disgrace to all the players who have worn the maroon cap before. We have a world record for a team in the rebuilding phase. We have been rebuilding for 15 years and the process still continues. The only time we would rebuild West Indies cricket is when we stop fooling ourselves and start doing the things that would take our cricket back up the ladder.

"Another foolish thing some people say is that we would be back to winning ways because we have players with talent. Well, I have news for them, and that is, every country has talent and this means nothing if the talent is not turned into progress.

"We in the Caribbean are always looking for the easy way out and this is doing us no good. What is needed at this time is for fans in the Caribbean to pressurise all stakeholders to ensure that they do the right things to initiate the rebuilding process."

Murray said the only way West Indies could start winning again was for the players to instill a measure of pride in their cricket.