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Reform of WI cricket coming

Critical changes in the administration of West Indies cricket are just around the corner

Haydn Gill
Critical changes in the administration of West Indies cricket are just around the corner.
And, an expanded first-class season may once more be attempted in the not-too-distant future.
Those were among the disclosures from West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) vice-president Clarvis Joseph during the opening session of the historic cricket conference at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) yesterday.
The two-day conference, hosted by the CARICOM Secretariat and UWI, is seeking to address the issue of regaining excellence in West Indies cricket.
'Within the next two or three months, there will be some very significant changes in the way our administration is structured,' Joseph told participants.
'There will not just be a cosmetic change of personnel, even though there is going to be some change of personnel.'
In finalising its current three-year strategic plan, the WICB is also moving to establish a cricket development division and a cricket operations division.
'The focus of that plan puts central to its operation the cricketer and cricket development towards achieving a position where West Indies cricket will slowly regain its pre-eminence,' he said.
'The plan does not only involve cricket on the field. The plan involves, if it is to go forward, the process of administrative development, community development - what we call building audiences along with cricket itself.'
The development division will seek to offer to territories the possibility of them developing their own strategic plans.
To this end, development officers will address the question of helping to produce those plans.
The WICB is also seeking to re-introduce an extended first-class season that would feature return (home and away) matches, as was the case in 1997.
'It nearly burdened us with money, but we think we are beginning to solve the financial part of it,' Joseph said.
There would, however, be a slight change in the timing of the regional season.
'If you notice, there has been a subtle shift in the West Indies season,' the WICB No. 2 man said.
'We always tried to finish our international season by April. Now we're down to the end of April, into May and we will soon be into June.'
He put forward two other reasons for the timing.
'(In the past) we had the season to accommodate players who needed to go and make a living in England.
'England are not taking them anymore, so we better create mechanisms for them to make an earning at home.'
A reduction of hotel costs during May and June was another factor taken into consideration for the shift in the season.