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Going professional

WICB makes major changes to regional cricket structure

By BY Roger Seepersad

Contracted players in every territory. An extended first-class season starting in November.

These are some of the recommendations from the director of cricket Richard Pybus which were approved by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) as part of the Board’s effort to professionalise the game at first-class level.

Pybus, speaking at a WICB press conference at Hyatt Regency Trinidad in Port of Spain yesterday, said the WICB was looking for a full professionalisation of the game at first-class level, with each territorial board contracting 15 players for an extended season.

Pybus said the regional boards will be getting grant funding from the WICB to be able to roll out the teams as “proper professional entities”.

“The requirements of the WICB in the agreement with the territorial boards will be that each territory will contract 15 players with different pay scales. It will mean putting professional staff around the players,” Pybus added.

“It was a critical day in West Indies cricket bearing in mind that it has been very difficult historically for West Indian cricketers to be able to make a living without going overseas. 

“I want to commend the Board for their courage of conviction to move the game forward in the region,” said Pybus.

He explained that with the new structure, there will be 90 contracted players in the region and from those, the regional selectors will choose 15 who will make up the West Indies A squad which will now be based and trained at the High Performance Centre.

“We want to make sure we are creating greater competition for spots in the West Indies international side,” he added.

WICB president Dave Cameron said the extended season will start in November this year and will see teams play each other on a home-and-away basis. The season will end in April next year.

He also noted that the regional 50-over competition will be extended and the changes will provide players with more opportunities to get experience, accumulate runs and wickets so they can stake a claim for a spot in the regional side.

“This will allow regional cricketers more opportunities to practise their trade and ensure they are in competitive mode for a longer season,” Cameron added.

The WICB also want to see better management and administration of the game at the territorial board level.

Cameron said the WICB has approved a decision to significantly restructure the management and operations of cricket which will impact how cricket is managed and administered at the territorial board level. 

In a separate matter, Cameron also noted that the WICB currently has no outstanding matters with the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) in court.

“You will remember a very major lawsuit against West Indies cricket somewhere in the region of US$20 million for restraint of trade. Through discussions we have been able to negotiate away that threat and again we want to thank WIPA and the entire organisation for that,” Cameron added.

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