The Stanford 20/20 Pro Teams have been launched in St Lucia, Anguilla and Nevis and Roger Harper, St Lucia's head coach, hailed the initiative as an ideal starting point to engineer the re-emergence of West Indies cricket.
Harper is of the view that professionalism is desperately needed. "One of the weaknesses in the West Indies is our lack of true professionalism and in order to develop that at the international level you have to inculcate it at the lower levels in the territories and that is a point that most people miss when we speak about West Indies cricket.
"The challenge is to teach players professionalism and if we can do that in the territories then our performances will rise. The discipline that comes with professionalism will be a tremendous benefit.
"The players here are paid to prepare better, they will have contracts and they are able to focus and pay detailed attention to the game and develop and improve."
Cardigan Connor, Anguilla's head coach, said: "The players are extremely grateful that Anguillans have been afforded the opportunity to become professional cricketers. Up to this point they have played cricket for the love of the sport and now to be able to do something which they love and be paid for it, it is like a godsend.
"Now they do not have to go to work and then come down to the park to practice after work. Cricket and training is their work and they are now in a position where they can regard themselves as professional cricketers and are in an environment where facilities and technology is at their fingertips, something that they only dreamt about."
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