By Philip Spooner
Hardbeatnews, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Mon. Aug. 29, 2005: Texas billionaire and head of Caribbean Star airlines says he plans to put his money where his mouth is and establish a new framework to bring West Indies cricket in line with other professional sports on the international stage.
Allen Stanford, who also heads the Sticky Wicket West Indies Hall Of Fame and the new cricket ground near the VC Bird Airport in Antigua, was speaking Thursday evening as Sir Frank Worrell and Ridley Jacobs were inducted into the Hall Of Fame.
Stanford did not give many details, but said his plans would be unveiled at a spanking launch in October and the new set-up is expected to bowl off a year later.
Seeing himself as a West Indian, Stanford told the audience: “We have a great product – our cricket – a rich history and legacy. In October, I an going to make an announcement about something that is going to take place one year from now and I truly believe the announcement will be part of the re-emergence of cricket as a world-class, professional sport throughout the region.
He added, “We have no choice but to make cricket more dynamic. There must be serious professional opportunities made available to the young and talented players we have in our midst. We must keep our cricketers motivated and reward them commensurate with the skills.”
Stanford argued that if that was not done, “How is a cricketer ever, ever going to regain its former glory?”
“We need to align ourselves with our professional sports,” he said. “Cricket is our region’s greatest treasure. Cricket must come in sync with our 21st century developments. There is no other choice or we are going to slide backwards in irrelevance. If we don’t get our acts together the West Indies will never see another era of the golden era. We will continue to be pegged
It is not sure what the structure of Stanford’s new program will be, but it comes just days after the West Indies Cricket Board has allowed for the free movement of regional players.
That move is in accordance with the planned CARICOM Single Market and Economy, a regional trading market that would allow the free flow of goods and labor. The free-trade zone is scheduled to go into effect next January.
The Sticky Wicket West Indies Hall Of Fame is located at Stanford’s restaurant just outside the airport and overlooking his small, picturesque ground.
The members of the Hall Of Fame are: George Headley, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Vivian Richards, Lance Gibbs, Clive Lloyd, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Brian Lara, and the newest members Sir Frank Worrell and Ridley
For over ten long years the West Indies ruled the cricket world, but sadly that rule came to an end. After legends such as Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holder and other greats left the game it has been down hill for the beloved team. – Hardbeatnews.com