CRICKET West Indies president, Ricky Skerritt, has vowed to invest more in West Indies youth development after the West Indies Emerging Players copped the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup in resounding fashion with a 205-run win over the Leeward Islands Hurricanes.
“This is big for us. The investment will follow them (the young players) wherever they are. Our high performance system, as we get more investment, will begin to produce more interventions,” Skerritt promised after congratulating the squad on their achievement. He said the future wasn’t about keeping this core unit specifically but creating a bigger system so individual players could enter as part of a feeder system and move on to greater success.
“I don’t think it’s so important to keep them together as an exact entire group. What is important is the standards they have set for themselves with the support and investment that they have received, we can keep that happening over the next year and beyond,” Skerritt said. Resources and funding are crucial to this and the president said CWI would be aiming to secure as such for the future.
Regarding the model of developmental teams in the current regional set-up, Skerritt referenced the CCC team which won the title last year, but lost key players and were decimated this year.
The president said this style of raiding augurs well as it means territories want their players back for central contracts, which could be the case next season for TT players such as captain Yannic Cariah, Joshua Da Silva and Leonardo Julien, who were all instrumental in the Emerging Players’ title run.
Skerritt said he was very proud of the youngsters for playing “excellent cricket” and earning success “the old-fashioned way,” but also praised coach Floyd Reifer and his staff for bringing their experience over from the senior team.
He said this “was all by design” and while the result exceeded expectations, “that’s what really happens when you put the right people in the right place.”
Reifer was interim coach of the West Indies senior squad before Phil Simmons was confirmed for the Afghanistan and India series abroad.
Reifer has overseen Keon Harding’s success this tournament, with the medium-pacer finishing third on the wickets charts with 18 victims, as well as wicket-keeper Joshua Da Silva, who impressed on home turf at the Queen’s Park Oval.
The Parkite scored 310 runs, finishing just outside the top ten on the batting charts, but his most remarkable performances came from behind the stumps. He gloved 13 dismissals (12 catches, one stumping) to remind the Red Force what they were missing.
The president believes these performances create an atmosphere of competition and showcases players, not only to their countries, but other territories looking to poach. With seasoned coaching staffs such as Reifer’s working across the Caribbean, Skerritt wants to continue pushing youngsters in the region to elevate themselves so they too can replicate what’s been done over the last couple years in this competition where the big guns such as TT, Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados have been under performing.