“I’M VERY OPTIMISTIC AND I’VE NEVER BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT THE TALENT,” SAYS WEST INDIES MANAGER, RICHARDSON – DIGICEL CRICKET RELEASE
With mere hours to go before the first match in the much anticipated Digicel Series 2011, www.digicelcricket.com caught up with West Indies team manager, Richie Richardson, who spoke exclusively about his thoughts on West Indies cricket through the ages; the current team and the future of West Indies cricket.
“Comparing cricket to when I played and now, there are a lot of things that have improved. Processes, for example, are much better. But the big difference is that players have more support nowadays with physiotherapists and dieticians and in terms of the play there’s more technology. When I played we didn’t have all the computers and all this statistical information at hand. There’s more video coverage which we didn’t have when I played. So, yes it is more professional but I think in terms of the play and the players it is still very much the same.
The positive manager talks about the importance of bringing on cricket from the youth level.
“Bringing on grass roots is the way forward to ensuring we continue to bring on great players through the correct infrastructure like the rest of the world. We sort of took it for granted that we would always produce world class players and while we have the talent, our infrastructure to bring them on was dwindling. Now the WICB has now put some structure in place and we will start to see a difference. Yes, it will take time – and tremendous investment – to get a streamlined programme across the region with great coaches all coaching from the same manual, but in ten years we’ll see Windies coming back to the fore based on our grass roots programmes.”
Over 2600 young cricketers will benefit from the WICB Digicel Grassroots Cricket programme this year. The aspiring young cricketers will receive specialised coaching from over 180 WICB accredited coaches from April to September 2011.
“There have been some good performances over the last months in the World Cup particularly. I’m very optimistic and I’ve never been concerned about the talent,” said a confident Richardson.
“We’ve always produced great talent – my concern is the infrastructure to bring on the talent we produce and the programmes for them to come through. Young Andy Russell played really well and Darren Bravo is showing the signs of becoming a great Windies player. As long as we continue to work hard in the Caribbean and ensure our grass roots come along, we will have a bright future ahead of us.”
“Now we’re about to head into the Digicel Series which is very important – it’s the home series. As a region it’s always very important and for our home fans who look forward to excitement and to us doing well. It’s easier for us to do well with our home crowd and their support and it gives an opportunity to bring ourselves back up the ladder – to dig deep, work hard, prove ourselves and give back to our fans. People across the world have been accustomed to the Windies providing exciting cricket and we must work harder to give that to them.”
“For the Digicel Series 2011, as long as we continue to improve that’s the most important thing,” says an assured Richardson.
“Obviously winning too – that would be a tremendous achievement. It’s been a while since we’ve won a lot of cricket and we are looking forward to taking on these teams at home.”