Adams: Resources needed to rejuvenate grassroots cricket | Local Sports

Expressing concern that grassroots cricket in the region is under threat, Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams says administrators are desperately trying to regain momentum to preserve and nurture current and future talent and that there is a particular need to identify and develop female talent in sports.

Speaking at a press conference where he discussed the launch of the CWI Emerging Players Academy which is aimed at supporting the development of world class players from the Caribbean, Adams said while there is raw talent across CWI territories, “if we don’t protect our grassroots cricket, then we might not be saying that in ten years’ time”.

“Our grassroots cricket is under attack at the minute. We’re trying desperately to work with governments across the region to ensure that we don’t lose that base that we’ve had and that we depend on going forward,” he said. “When I say ‘under attack’ I don’t mean in a malicious way; I mean forces of nature, the market, economics.”

The former West Indies captain further explained that the loss of Scotiabank as a partner in developing regional talent, including through the Kiddy Cricket programme, had been a blow. “For many years we’ve had an association with Scotiabank and we did a massive amount of work at the grassroots level through Scotiabank and Scotiabank recently pulled out, just as the pandemic hit. We can’t afford to stay still. While we’re desperate for results at this [international] level we’re very conscious that if we don’t keep expanding our base then other issues come into play and we can’t afford to be losing our kids that early,” Adams added.

He was also adamant that while the academy will see both male and female cricketers participating in several high-performance training and development camps, women’s cricket is in particular need of support. “We need to get hundreds more of our young girls playing cricket and Scotiabank Kiddies Cricket used to be the entry point for that. So we’re just desperate to make sure we don’t lose any momentum there,” he said. Adams said the CWI Emerging Players Academy will be a world-class facility staffed by world-class practitioners who will work to bring out the best in cricketers aged 19 to 25.

“We felt that up to age 19 we’ve got decent enough support structures for them to carry them through youth cricket. However, for those who leave youth cricket and move immediately to franchise cricket, we think that we’re losing out on some of our best talent,” he noted.

Adams said the academy will provide a great start towards bridging the critical gap between junior and professional levels. “It’s a starting point for us. We don’t think it’s going to be the ending point because obviously, we want to grow that concept not just here in Antigua but throughout the region so that each territory will eventually be able to handle that aspect of development.”

The first intake for the CWI Emerging Players Academy will be in July 2022 and run for a year. Up to 30 players will be selected from both the men’s and women’s talent pool for the training and camps at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, the new Home of West Indies Cricket, according to CWI. Selected players will have to meet the CWI minimum fitness requirements before they are exposed to the training programs and camps in Antigua.

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