Lara calls again for an academy

Brian Lara has welcomed the increasing international
exposure that young cricketers in the West Indies are gaining by participating
in the IPL and in Australia.

However, he said that the trend was
a reflection of a poor infrastructure in the Caribbean for grooming young
talent to play at the highest level.

Lara, while proposing the
establishment of a centralised cricket academy, also called for a change in
personnel among those running the game in the region to bring about a revival.

“We’ve always had the talent
in the Caribbean,” Lara told reporters in Mumbai. “The exposure
internationally for them is going to be very good.

“That’s something we had in the Seventies.
A lot of our cricketers then, like Sir Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond
Haynes, they all went to England to play county cricket.

“Obviously, the opportunity for our
youngsters to play in the IPL, in Australia or England is very exciting and

“But it means we are very weak
in how we handle our own talent in the Caribbean. We have not set up any proper
academy to take care of them. And that is where we are falling down in our
support for our teenagers. If the Indians or the English are making that
opportunity available, I think it’s good.”

While in London recently, Lara said
the current set-up in the West Indies relied heavily on the natural ability of
players, which was inadequate to compensate for the absence of a proper
institutional structure.

Lara said: “We do not have the
academies to support the youngsters and our team is still built on natural
ability and in sport nowadays natural ability is a small part of it.”