'I'd have jumped at the chance to play T20 cricket' - Haynes
Desmond Haynes, the former West Indies opener, has thrown his full support behind the Twenty20 bandwagon permeating throughout cricket today. Haynes, who once held the world record for the most ODI runs (8648), is currently coaching the Barbados Tridents in the first edition of the Caribbean Premier League. He highlighted the tournament as a case study of success.
"People focus too much on the cons and negatives but how many people look at the positives (of T20s)? This needs to come out more," Haynes said. "If I had T20 cricket to play in my day, I'd have jumped at it. Do you know how hard it was to earn a living back in my day? You had to travel all over the world to earn a living outside the international game. A lot of cricketers didn't get the chance to see their families often and to see their kids grow up. T20 offers the financial means to ply your trade and make a living, especially for younger players."
Haynes spoke about worldwide T20 tournaments that are refurbishing grounds, adding infrastructure such as pitches, cricket academies and training clinics. He also mentioned the protracted benefits of this renaissance within contemporary limited overs.
"While young players train for ODIs and Tests, they get the chance to play in T20 tournaments and land sponsors, money for tools and gears...and the stability for their futures, on and off the field," Haynes said. "T20 helps settle a player's career in ways we, the old guard, never experienced."
Haynes cautioned that there would continue to be conflicts with players, T20 windows, international clearances from respective boards, and much more issues that would arise as the cricketing fraternity is still adapting to embrace this format of the game.
He said that a balance needs to be struck to allow all formats of the game to exist. Currently overseeing the table leaders Barbados, he stipulated that aspiring international batsmen needed to hone their craft to play all versions, and not be pigeonholed into one aspect of the game. Haynes spoke highly on the influx of sponsors, revenues and the boosts to the marketing, advertising and corporate industries of the sporting landscape.
"Seasoned veterans like myself, Andy (Roberts), Gordon (Greenidge) and (Curtly) Ambrose also get to coach in something like the CPL and help develop the game with the youngsters. It's a great opportunity to get old players, young ones and international players mingling and learning from each other.
"Everyone, or most people, love T20. You've got to have the passion back in the stands and crowds at the games. Look at how things are happening here in the Caribbean again. People are flocking to back their franchises. Everyone's backing each other, no matter where you're from. It adds unity to the Caribbean and it's doing us a lot of good. This is a great thing for Windies cricket. The atmosphere with the fans and supporters show this right now."
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here