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Muirhead: More runs please

NAGICO pumps S$1.2m into regional tournament

By Mark Pouchet

 CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Michael Muirhead has made an appeal to current and potential West Indian batsmen to score more  runs during the NAGICO Super 50 Regional tournament that bowls off on January 30 and runs until February 15.

Muirhead made the call at the official launch of the NAGICO Super 50 Regional tournament  at the Grand Ball Room, Brian Lara Pavilion, Queen’s Park Oval, where NAGICO Insurances CEO Dwayne Elgin announced a  US $1.2 million sponsorship package deal for the 50-over regional competition for the three year period, 2014-2016.

 Muirhead  said in this present economic climate when many companies are being forced to cut back, the WICB applauded  NAGICO for their  commitment to West Indies cricket.

But he said that  greater attention  has to be paid to the development of players  in the territories in order to strengthen the pool of players available to West Indies cricket.

“I want to throw out a challenge to the players in the NAGICO Super 50 tournament. We want to see them raise the bar especially in the batting department. We often hear the phrase that cricket is a batsman’s  game and we all know that fans in the Caribbean love batsmen with class and flair who also put runs on the board,” Muirhead said, adding that this tournament was preparation for the ICC ODI tournament in 2015 and the ICC Trophy T20 competition later this year. He said the WICB intended for the West Indies to win both competitions.

However, the WICB CEO said again noted that although  last year’s WICB Regional 50 over tournament was “keenly contested”, the runs were lacking.

“The Windward Islands  were deserved winners but we did not see the big scores that we are accustomed to seeing in 50 overs. In fact there was not a single total over 300,” he said.

Muirhead added that only three centuries were scored even though the region contained  quality batsmen in the tournament who can perform at the highest standards.

“We want to see them (the batsmen) come out and showcase their talent and stand up and be counted,” Muirhead said.

 Muirhead said further that  top ICC associate member team Ireland had been invited to give the tournament an  international flavour, stronger competition and wider interest among the television viewership.

Asked about the importance of solid performances in tournaments like the Super50, Muirhead expressed satisfaction that the region’s top players would be involved in this year’s competition.

“It is important that we do two things. We make sure the tournament is of the highest standard and it is done in a professional way and we make sure we are playing lots of cricket. We are gonna be embarking on various programmes  so we can ensure that  there is much more cricket throughout the year  and it is refreshing that the participation this year will be almost at a maximum  except for those who are injured at this time,  so that speaks to the re-commitment of many of our players  who will be enhancing the product of  cricket in the region and making themselves available to their own territories  and then hopefully later  to the West Indies team,” Murihead said.

In explaining the St Maarten-based company’s decision to sponsor the 50-over series, Elgin pointed out that NAGICO had previously sponsored the Leeward Islands tournament and he hoped that this sponsorship would be the start of “something big.”

“It is our hope that with this sponsorship of West Indies cricket we will see a resurgence in West Indies cricket. We have been passionate supporters of West Indies cricket for a long time and we believe this partnership will help to lift the game,” he said.  

In his address, TTCB president Azim Bassarath promised a Carnival-like atmosphere for the tournament and assured  the TTCB would assist and support West Indies cricket going forward.

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