McWatt and ‘Reds’: WI cricket history and coaches in schools, a CPL rejig and other 2022 recommendations

“[…] CWI must request the governments of its member countries to mandate, by September 2022, the addition of West Indies cricket history to the curriculum of all primary and secondary schools within the region. 

“CWI should similarly ask governments to also mandate the addition of a paid cricket coach to the staffing component of each secondary school within the region…”

Toronto-based Canadian Cricket’s media relations manager Tony McWatt and veteran West Indies cricket commentator ‘Reds’ Perreira offer 15 suggestions for the Cricket West Indies (CWI) in 2022:

Photo: Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt.

As we enter 2022, the Ricky Skerritt-led Cricket West Indies (CWI) should be seeking to have a much improved year from the annus horribilis that was 2021.

We believe a uniform, transparent fitness standard for West Indies players across all three formats would help, with an ongoing boot camp for unfit players so as to restore their fitness to acceptable levels.

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Perhaps CWI can also monetise its 3,000,000-plus global fan base through initiatives such as a monthly online magazine with an annual subscription of US$25. CWI should target an annual base of 50,000 paid subscribers and use the funds for the further development of West Indies youth cricket.

Here are our top 15 suggestions for resolutions that CWI should now be seeking to fulfill during this 2022 New Year!

1. CWI must request the governments of its respective member countries to mandate, by September 2022, the addition of West Indies cricket history to the curriculum of all primary and secondary schools within the region. 

Photo: West Indies great Sir Garry Sobers smashes to the boundary against Australia at Brisbane in 1961.

2. CWI should similarly ask governments to also mandate the addition of a paid cricket coach to the staffing component of each secondary school within the region.

3. The local cricket boards within CWI’s member countries must organise primary and secondary school cricket competitions at the U-11, U-13, U-15, U-17 and U-19 levels.

4. Local cricket boards should mandate that their participating league teams include at least two U-23 players—one bowler and a batsman.

5. CWI should organise a region-wide competition for the development of an attractive promotional poster that charts the available progression pathway from U-11 cricket through to representing West Indies in Tests, ODIs and T20 cricket, with the winning poster placed in all primary and secondary schools throughout the region.

Photos of Brian Lara, Jason Holder and Dwayne Bravo should be included as examples of how lucrative potential West Indies cricket careers can be.

Photo: West Indies cricket legend Brian Lara waves to fans during the Wimbledon tournament in London on 26 June 2010.
(Copyright AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

6. CWI should also revert to its previous practice of hosting designated schoolchildren stands at Caribbean-hosted international matches. At least 1,000 children, from different schools, should be allowed free entry to all international matches played in the Caribbean. Regular visits to schools by legendary past players on Legends Day should also become a feature of the annual school calendar.

7. CWI should also develop and implement discounted family group ticket pricing for its hosted international matches.

8. CWI should expand its regional four-day competition from six to eight teams, through the addition of a regional U-23 team and a team comprising bonafide students from the University of the West Indies and any other tertiary education institutions within the region. 

9. CWI should reconvene its annual Super50 tournament as a 10-team competition and include representatives from Canada and the USA.

10. CWI should secure agreement from the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to expand its participating franchises from six to eight teams, to include Canada and US franchises. The 17-member rosters of the two additional teams should each comprise 10 local players, five West Indians and two international marquee cricketers.

Photo: St Kitts and Nevis Patriots batsman Dominic Drakes heaves for 6 over the offside during the 2021 Hero CPL final against the St Lucia Kings on 15 September 2021 at Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis.
(Copyright Randy Brooks – CPL T20/Getty Images)

11. CWI, along with Cricket Canada and USA Cricket, should establish annual tri-nation tournaments for U-23 players in both the 50-over and T20 formats.

12. CWI should develop and implement initiatives aimed at monetising the existing interest in and loyalty to West Indies cricket by an estimated 2,000,000-plus global fans. Revenues generated from initiatives such as the sale of acquired, inexpensive, China/India-made player shirts at pricing no higher than US$25 can be directed towards projects related to the further development of Caribbean youth cricket.

13. CWI should establish its own annual awards to recognise the outstanding calendar year accomplishments of its players across all three cricket formats, along with a Tony Cozier Media Award to identify and recognise the year’s most outstanding Caribbean cricket journalist. 

14. CWI should establish a two-year plan for its participation in the forthcoming ICC T20 World Cups, with the objective to first qualify then to progress beyond the Super-6 into the semis/finals.

The West Indies’ objective for the 2024 tournament in the Caribbean should be to emerge as champions! 

Photo: West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran drives elegantly through the offside during then ICC T20 World Cup match against Bangladesh at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on 29 October 2021 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
(Copyright Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

CWI should establish similar team objectives for the upcoming 50-over World Cups and should bid to host the 2027 tournament. Finally, CWI should develop a six-year plan for West Indies to become Test Cricket champions by 2028—the 100th anniversary of the West Indies’ entry into Test cricket.

15. All cricket development plans, procedures and practices, such as the aforementioned tri-format World Cup/Championship goals should be the work of a reconstituted nine-member Cricket Committee. The Committee’s membership should comprise one former player representative for each of the six regional boards, the CWI cricket development manager, the Selection Panel chair, as well as its own appointed chairperson. The Committee must have an established schedule of meetings and its decisions should be reflected in selected West Indies teams!

If the CWI does indeed implement some, if not all, of these suggestions, our bet would be that, come this time next year, any 12-month analysis would be considerably more favourable than it has been for 2021. 

Here’s to a happy, prosperous and Covid-safe New Year for us all. Cheers.

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