“There is a lot of talent here. There’s a lot of quality here.”
That is the assessment of Toby Radford, Director and Head Coach of the Sagicor West Indies Cricket High Performance Centre, as he looked back at the first week of work with 15 of the region’s best young cricketers. Radford noted that it was an intense first week for the aspiring players based at the 3Ws Oval at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
“When you start you don’t always know what to expect. I have been pleasantly surprised with the players we have assembled here. It’s a bit like the old days with big fast bowlers, standing six-foot-six. We also have some very talented batsmen so we have a lot to work with here in the West Indies,” Radford said.
“It’s been a full week. We have been doing a lot of videoing – looking at batting techniques, bowling actions and doing fitness assessments, and we also had vision testing. So we are looking to get all that data in and look to see what each player’s specific needs are. All the feedback starts next week when we look at all the data and details and give the players their specific programmes.”
He added: “We’ve had a few net sessions and we want the players to have real purpose to what they are doing. We want to get into the mentality in the nets that if ‘I’m out… I’m out’. We have been doing that and the players have bought into it. We want the players to value their wickets as if they were playing four-day or five-day cricket. So what I’m trying to do is to make the net sessions as match-like as I can and the players have responded brilliantly. They are enjoying it.”
According to Radford, during the three-month programme this year and next year, there will be lecturers and sports science staff, implementing holistic coaching programme for the West Indies’ most talented and promising players aged between 18 and 23. In a drive to create well-rounded, multi-skilled and thinking cricketers, the Sagicor West Indies Cricket High Performance Centre will offer group and one-to-one support in technical, physical, psychological, tactical and lifestyle areas of the game.
“No stone will be left un-turned, with each player following a programme specifically tailored to their own individual needs. It is imperative that we grasp with both hands this wonderful opportunity to develop all aspects of West Indian cricket, make full use of the high-end equipment, facilities and staff and combine our energy and efforts to take West Indies cricket back to where it belongs,” Radford added.
The first group of players are: Shamarh Brooks, Jason Holder, Shane Dowrich (Barbados), Kyle Corbin, Kevin McClean (Combined Campuses & Colleges), Brandon Bess, Ravindra Chandrika, Veerasammy Permaul (Guyana), Nkrumah Bonner, Andre Creary (Jamaica), Kieran Powell, Devon Thomas (Leeward Islands), Shannon Gabriel (Trinidad and Tobago) Keron Cottoy, Delorn Johnson (Windward Islands).
The official opening ceremony of the Sagicor West Indies Cricket High Performance Centre will be on Sunday evening at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination at the Cave Hill Campus.