Former West Indies wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs has welcomed the decision by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to professionalise first class cricket in the Caribbean starting next season. Jacobs, a Leeward Islands selector, says professionalism in cricket is lacking in the Caribbean and as such the WICB’s move will serve to bolster the quality of the sport in the region.
Under the new Professional First Class structure, players will receive contracts as part of a first-class franchise system. “We need to be more professional in our approach where cricket is concerned. I think that if we have players playing cricket all year round and being paid, it’s a plus and I can only see cricket going forward from there,” said Jacobs.
“Having coaches working with these players all year round, (will result in) better players representing Leeward Islands, representing West Indies and we will start winning more games so I honestly think that is the best way forward”.
Fifteen players in each of the six territories will be contracted on a full-time, year-round basis. This means 90 first-class players will be given annual contracts joining those contracted under WICB Annual Retainer Contracts.
“You would have the opportunity to pick who you want to pick. I haven’t seen any problems as yet,” said Jacobs. “I don’t think it would be a problem because if you go into a draft and you want a fast bowler and a fast bowler is up for grabs you have a chance to pick him to strengthen your team”.
The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) announced recently that it will contribute US$360,000 towards the annual retainer contracts for first-class players.