The Stanford 20/20 Pro Teams have been launched in St Lucia, Anguilla and Nevis and St Lucia head coach Roger Harper hailed the initiative as an ideal starting point to engineer the re-emergence of West Indies cricket.
Former West Indies all rounder and head coach Roger Harper is of the view that professionalism is desperately needed in West Indies cricket.
Speaking on the launch of the Stanford 20/20 St Lucia Pro Team, for which Harper is the new head coach, the 44 year old said that professionalism and discipline need to be instilled in the initial stages of players careers.
‘One of the weaknesses in the West Indies is our lack of true professionalism and in order to develop that at the international level you have to inculcate it at the lower levels in the territories and that is a point that most people miss when we speak about West Indies cricket,’ Harper pointed out.
‘The challenge is to teach players professionalism and if we can do that in the territories then our performances will rise, that discipline that comes with professionalism will be a tremendous benefit,’ reasoned the award winning former captain of Guyana.
‘The (Stanford 20/20 St Lucia Pro Team) players here are paid to prepare better, they will have contracts and they are able to focus and pay detailed attention to the game and develop and improve,’ Harper said.
Stanford 20/20 Anguilla Pro Team head coach Cardigan Connor has described the advent of professional cricket in Anguilla as a ‘God send’. ‘The players are extremely grateful that Anguillans have been afforded the opportunity to become professional cricketers. Up to this point they have played cricket for the love of the sport and now to be able to do something which they love and be paid for it, it is like a God send,’ Connor said.
The former Hampshire fast bowler was speaking on the activation of the Stanford 20/20 Anguilla Pro Team. Anguilla is the second team to become ‘pro’ following Antigua.
‘Now they do not have to go to work and then come down to the park to practice after work, cricket and training is their work and they are now in a position where they can regard themselves as professional cricketers and are in an environment where facilities and technology is at their fingertips, it is something that they only dreamt about,’ Connor explained.
Connor said in his estimation the Stanford Pro Team is the best possible injection Anguilla’s cricket could receive at this juncture.
The Stanford 20/20 St Lucia Pro Team is the third pro team to come on board and the Stanford 20/20 Nevis Pro Team, the fourth.
About the Stanford 20/20 Tournament
The Stanford 20/20 Tournament is a single-elimination knockout cricket competition featuring teams from several Caribbean territories vying for the top spot. Nineteen (19) teams competed in the inaugural 2006 Tournament and twenty-one (21) teams will compete in the 2008 Tournament. Created by financier Sir Allen Stanford, the first Tournament took place in July/August 2006 with Guyana emerging as the Stanford 20/20 Champions. The 2008 Stanford 20/20 Tournament is set for 25 January to 24 February at the Stanford Cricket Ground in Antigua. The 21 countries participating in the 2008 competition are Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cuba**, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands** and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Visit the Stanford2020.com website for more information about the Stanford 20/20 programme including the professional league and the Super Stars tournament initiatives.