Former pacers want focus on youth
Antigua Observer article.
St John's, Antigua - Former West Indies captain, Courtney Walsh, believes more emphasis should be placed on youth development if the regional team is to regain its status as the world’s number one squad.
The Jamaican was, at the time, discussing the current state of cricket within the region and the recent performances of the West Indies senior team.
“Where I see us getting stronger is our A Team, the guys moving from the Under-19 to the A Team. I think we need to spend a lot of time and focus there and that is where, for me as well too, I would try to get a lot more of the former players involved as much as possible for mentoring, technique and talking cricket because when I was going on my first Under-19 tour to England when Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Seymour Nurse and Sir Everton Weeks came and gave us a lecture, it was a big thing because these were people you would look up to and they told about the conditions of play and what to expect. What England can do to you, what you should be doing, and to me it was a big help,” he said.
The former pacer reminded current members of the senior outfit that they have a responsibility to perform not only at the international level but at the regional and national levels as well.
“When you play West Indies cricket and you come back to regional cricket and I think that has been lacking in our system here, our top players are not dominating and are not playing consistently enough,” Walsh added.
“When you come back off a tour of India or New Zealand, your name should be in the books for every game to let people know, hey listen, yes, we got beaten down there because the opposition was good but I am better than whosever is at this standard and I am going to show and I am going to prove that to you by dominating.”
Another former pacer, Antiguan Curtly Ambrose, echoed Walsh’s sentiments, saying that the future of West Indies cricket lies within youth development.
“When you look at a lot of these guys, a lot of them have so much potential on the under-15 and under-19s and then they don’t make their territorial sides and then they just go to waste. So we need to spend more attention to that and we also have to try to find a way to get the regional competitions to the highest standards,” he said.
“From the regional tournament the next step is Test or international level cricket. So if our standard here in the region is so poor, it’s almost impossible to dominate,” Ambrose added.
“Look at our guys today, most of them cannot dominate regional cricket and the standard now is so poor. A lot of these guys (are) averaging 25 with the bat in regional cricket. (If) you go to Test cricket you are going to average 15.
Walsh represented West Indies from 1984 to 2001 and captained the team in 22 Test matches. He played 132 Tests and bagged 519 wickets during his 17-year career.
Ambrose played 98 Tests taking 405 wickets at an average of 20.99.