Home > Cricket News > Desmond Haynes excited by new investment in West Indies cricket

Desmond Haynes excited by new investment in West Indies cricket

Desmond Haynes, one of West Indies’ finest batsmen, believes that the newest financial undertaking by Allen Stanford will help return West Indies to the top end of the ICC Test rankings within five or six years. The billionaire American philanthropist is proposing to employ 16 professional cricketers in each of 21 Caribbean islands over the next three years as part of a US$100 million pledge. “This should completely transform the state of the game in the region and enable us to beat any Test opposition,” Haynes told Times Online in Grenada after playing in two Twenty20 games over the weekend for West Indies ‘legends’ against their England counterparts.

Stanford, whose inaugural inter-territory Twenty20 tournament in Antigua last year was a massive hit with West Indians, attracting capacity crowds to the new ground he built next door to the airport and paying out exceptionally generous prize-money, including US$1 million to the winners, Guyana.

A reprise of the competition will take place next February, again in Antigua with US$1 million on offer to the victors. But although it will attract huge interest throughout the Caribbean, of much greater significance is his crusade to raise the standard of cricket in the region.

Under Stanford’s proposals, which are expected shortly to be endorsed by Julian Hunte, the West Indies Board president with whom the American is working closely, each of the 16 players will receive a monthly wage of US$4,000. “That is very good money in the Caribbean,” Haynes said. “What it means is that players will be able to eat, sleep and drink cricket, and not have to worry about doing another job part or full-time. They won’t have to go and ask their boss for time off to play or practice. It is going to make a massive difference, and with the good money on offer, they are going to fight really hard to retain their contracts.”

A coach and assistant coach will be appointed to manage each island, which will also have two official reserves in addition to the contracted sixteen, whose deals will be renewed or ended after the first year. “Too many of West Indian youngsters lack the same purpose we showed in our day,”

Haynes continued. “They will be full-time professionals, who will train properly and learn greater discipline. And if they don’t tow the line, they will be out. They will play all types of cricket – from one-day to three or four-days.”

For the West Indies Board, whose debts were paid off by staging the World Cup but whose finances have traditionally been fraught, Stanford is proving a godsend. They will still be responsible for paying their players when on international duty, but will be able to choose from a pool of 340 professionals instead of around 100. That way, young talent should not slip through the net, nor should many of the potential cricketers who are currently lured away to professional football or basketball.

What is more, the island cricket associations will no longer have to pay their players for appearing in domestic cricket. They can instead spend that money on improving facilities and on youth cricket. Haynes also wants them to undertake short tours to places like England to give young West Indians experience of overseas conditions. “This is nothing short of a revolution in our cricket,” he concluded.

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