West Indies head of selectors blasts standard of play

The head of the West Indies selection panel has hit out at the standard of play in the 2004 regional limited-overs cricket competition.

Joey Carew was unimpressed at the level of cricket after he travelled around the country with fellow selectors Gordon Greenidge and Clyde Butts to witness the 15-match tournament, and he called on the domestic boards to make improvements.

"The quality has not been very good," Carew said simply. "The results have been very exciting and the crowds that came out to see the matches must have enjoyed the games, but our cricket at this level is not encouraging.

"We are urging the boards to have the development plans going and raise the quality of their domestic cricket."

Carew, who succeeded Sir Vivian Richards as head of selectors earlier this year, also blasted the quality of the surfaces on which only three centuries were scored and the bowlers, who also came under fire from Carew, lacked penetration. But several matches produced scores of around 200 which led to many gripping battles.

"The pitches, particularly the ones at Enmore and Uitvlugt, were slow and not encouraging to strokeplay," Carew told West Indies publication Sport Nation. "The one at Bourda here wasn't too bad. I thought the pitches were a deterrent to good cricket.

"You had to graft a lot. With all the inexperience we are seeing here, the players themselves haven't learnt that aspect of the game thoroughly. The bowling has been quite weak on the whole."

But Carew's mood was lifted by the numbers of spectators who came to the matches. More than 10,000 spectators were reported to have watched a match at Albion in which the hosts, Guyana, were involved. Very good crowds also attended the two weekend matches at Bourda.

"The tournament here has brought out a lot more crowds than I've seen in Jamaica," Carew said. "They [officials] might consider having it here again. All in all, it was very exciting and interesting, even though the cricket was not of a high quality."