West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief executive officer Michael Muirhead says the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre (HPC) in Barbados will likely have a new sponsor when the contract with Sagicor expires in August.
The WICB development programme, based at the University of the West Indies (UWI) campus in Barbados and which started under welshman Toby Radford in June 2010, is now looking for a new sponsor as the Barbados-based insurance company has signalled it will not be renewing its contract.
Asked what was the reason for Sagicor’s non-renewal of the contract, Muirhead said: “Well, as a company they thought they had great advances in it and it was an excellent thing, but Sagicor themselves were having, I won’t say financial difficulties, but (were) sort of stretched and their profits have not been what they wanted them to be, so they are looking at various ways to come back.
“We have not totally taken it off the table, we will approach them again, but we will be approaching others and we have some very good potential sposnsors for it.”
Muirhead was speaking at Thursday’s official launch of the NAGICO Super50 Tournament at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain. The Super50 will run from January 30 to February 15 in Trinidad and Tobago.
The inaugural class of the Sagicor HPC included players like Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel, Barbados and WI fast bowler Jason Holder, Barbados all-rounder Shamarh Brooks, Guyanese and WI left arm-spinner Veerasammy Permaul and Windward Islands leg-spinner Kerron Cottoy, along with Brendan Bess, Kraigg Brathwaite and Shane Dowrich.
Asked if he thought the HPC was carrying out the mission it was established to perform, Muirhead was confident the Centre had and would continue to.
“We have produced. It certainly has done much of what it was supposed to do and what it needs to do, which is produce (WI) cricketers who are better than the rest, “ the Jamaican said.
“It needs a constant state of refreshing itself and I think we need to bring more expertise within the centre itself.”
Muirhead said the WICB is looking at the professional side of the talent of the technical and management staff to maximise the potential of the HPC “because if we are going to use what we could be doing off season, much of our team management should be at the High Performance Centre really helping to develop the cricketers.
“We need to really structure that in a way that we always will have them (the technical and management staff) there because it is not only new cricketers, it is established cricketers who need refreshing and need to really go back into the nets really and that is what we are going to be focusing on.”
Muirhead said WICB director of cricket, Englishman Richard Pybus, will have his hands full but is well equipped to get systems up and running at the HPC as the WICB seeks to upgrade the quality and delivery of world-class cricketers.
“Richard (Pybus) started the first high performance centre in Australia so he does have that experience there and that (upgrading the HPC) is part of his mandate and he has a lot on his plate,” Muirhead said
He added that at round the end of the first quarter of this year, the WICB would like to bring to the public their competitive plans for the West Indies team.