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Cricket : CWI, Governments Need to Collaborate on Improvement of Facilities — Shallow

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Cricket West Indies (CWI) President Dr. Kishore Shallow said facilities development and management was one vital area for functional cooperation between his organisation and the governments of the Caribbean.

In the Trinidad capital for the historic second Test between West Indies and India at Queen’s Park Oval, Shallow said CWI officials and the Caricom prime ministerial subcommittee on cricket were scheduled to meet this coming week to further discuss areas for functional cooperation.

He said facilities at the venues around the Caribbean where international matches were played needed improvement, and the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup, to be staged next year in the Caribbean, was the perfect time to get things started.

“The governments have a massive role to play in the development of our cricket, and I understand the global challenges that they face in terms of finance, but they can definitely play a part in facilities improvement,” Shallow said during an in-studio interview on the iSports radio show this past Thursday on i95.5 FM in Trinidad.

“Around the corner, we have a massive opportunity to do it when we host the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup next year, so facilities and access to resources, and they have tremendous experience with administration, so there are different ways we can complement each other.”

He added, “With the infrastructure, indoor facilities, where players can train morning, noon, and night regardless of the weather conditions is absolutely necessary.

“We have seen the inconsistency with pitches, compare what we had in the first Test in Dominica to what we have here in Trinidad. We need more consistency, and we need to lift the standards because CWI cannot go into a country and dictate year round how the facilities are kept.”

Shallow said it was vital that the governments around the Caribbean understand the important role they must play, but he felt it was also important for CWI to sensitise them and all stakeholders about how they can contribute to the success of West Indies cricket.

“From the preliminary discussions we have had [with the subcommittee], we are all on the same wavelength in terms of greater collaboration,” he said.

“I have stated clearly that I am quite open to having an inclusive environment and working closely with the government across the Caribbean.”

He said, “There was some discussion that there was some hostility over a period of time, and Caricom Heads of Government did not feel as though they were welcomed, and that was expressed to me.

“Under [predecessor] Ricky Skerritt, there was the intention to collaborate, and we met with a few prime ministers, but COVID-19 came and that hindered the progress, and we are at a stage now where we are saying, ‘Let’s work together.’ ”

Shallow said he valued the role that governments could play in the further development of the sport in the Caribbean, but there needed to be frank discussions about the boundaries for the relationship so that there will not be direct “involvement” in certain affairs.

“It’s about the communication between the two sides and it’s just like how we can’t go and get involved in their affairs,” he said. “It is the information that we share with them, because at all times, in any relationship, it’s the information that you have that helps you to make better and informed decisions.

“I think that is all it is. We need to communicate better. They are critical stakeholders. They invest in cricket, and in sports generally across the Caribbean, so we have to understand and appreciate why they have a vested interest in cricket.”

He said, “I would prefer to replace the word ‘interfere’ with the word ‘involvement’, so they want to be involved, and I absolutely welcome that and I think they understand my position. I am not passing over the management and leadership to governments in the region because they are quite busy already.

“From what I have heard from the conversations we have had, they all want to see an improvement of West Indies cricket because they all appreciate the value of West Indies cricket. We have had fruitful discussions, and I expect our conversations going forward to be quite similar.”

Shallow said he had met with the subcommittee during the last Caricom Heads of Government meeting from July 3 to 5 in the Trinidad capital that coincided with the West Indies’ failure to qualify for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 India in October.

He said he hoped the passion he saw from the leaders during that meeting could be channelled into “harmonising resources” and trying to “identify opportunities to improve further”.