Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board, Michael Muirhead, making a point to Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, during a courtesy call. (A. Miller/BGIS)??
Barbados’ Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, wants the Caribbean to host an annual International Cricket Camp.
And, he underscored the benefits of such a camp during a courtesy call today with the new Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Michael Muirhead, and President, Julian Hunte, among others.
Mr. Lashley expressed the view that bringing young cricketers from across the world to the Caribbean to engage in a training programme would strengthen sports tourism.
"All of the [Sports] Ministers across the region are focusing on sports tourism because it actually grows foreign exchange for us, but at the same time you get the dual benefit of having that cross fertilisation of talent.
"The International Cricket Camp makes economic sense, not only in terms of tourism, but we are looking at the growth of cricket as a mass spectator sport… We have also been focusing on taking maximum advantage of sports as a developmental tool for youngsters," he pointed out.
Corporate Communications Officer with the Board, Imran Khan, agreed that an International Cricket Camp should be held in the region, saying that parents, families and friends of the young cricketers would come with them.
Mr. Lashley noted that cricket was discussed at the recent CARICOM Sports Ministers meeting in Guyana, and that it was seen as a flag bearer for regional sporting activities. "I think it could help to spur on other sports to go in that direction," he stated.
He said he would like the WICB to be more involved in cricket at the junior level.
Mr. Khan explained that the Board was involved with the Scotia Bank Kiddies Cricket for children between the ages of six and 11, as well as under 15 and 17 programmes. He noted that Barbados and Trinidad had very strong structured programmes at the junior level so cricketers could transition from an early age and the Board would like to see that replicated throughout the region.
Mr. Muirhead said one of his priorities was to bring some structure to the territorial boards so there could be a level of uniformity. He added that he was looking forward to West Indies cricket returning to its pinnacle.