PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – New Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt’s plan to chart a new relationship with the organisers of the Caribbean Professional League has received the backing of former West Indies wicketkeeper David Williams.
In an interview with the website Cricbuzz recently, Skerritt said he wants to have a discussion with CPL officials to discuss the way the tournament is organised and the impact it is having on the development of the game in the region.
Williams told the Trinidad & Tobago Newsday newspaper that it should be mandatory for CPL franchises to have at least one player in their teams that take the field, as a means of fast-tracking young players.
He observed that a number of top T20 players from the Caribbean are now in the second half or the twilight of their careers and there is an urgent need to find new, young talent to take place.
“The Chris Gayles and others are doing extremely well,” said Williams. “But those guys are going down in age, so we need to start to put structures in place just like the High Performance Centre to get these guys ready for when we throw them in the hot water. It does not make sense you pick them and they are on the bench and they never get the opportunity.”
Since the CPL started six years ago, the six franchises have always included a number of regional youth players, but they have hardly played and last year, each team was allowed to field five international players in the starting line-up and many spent the time warming the bench.
Williams said he understands teams want to field their strongest line-ups in a competitive CPL tournament, but it should be mandatory that young players are given an opportunity.
“The tournament is good, the CPL is good,” said Williams. “(If) you look at the crowds most of the games are sold out and with the foreign players it is good.
“What I would like to see though is some of our younger players get more opportunities just like how (Indian Premier League) does it. We should have a format where the younger guys should be able to at least play. You should at least play two of our Under-19s or Under-23s to get their level of cricket up.”
The CPL is in its seventh year and is scheduled to start in September.