The West Indies Retired Players Foundation has been described as ???an excellent initiative.???

Congratulating the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association for its establishment, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, said the foundation ???provides a method of preserving the rich heritage of outstanding cricket prowess for which our cricketing legends are renowned???.

He was speaking at the launch of the West Indies Retired Players Foundation last Thursday, March 13, at the Hilton Barbados.

The Foundation is designed to be an autonomous organisation with a separate constitution that represents the players. One of its many plans includes using the retired sportsmen to mentor younger cricketers.

Lauding this objective, the Sports Minister pledged his Ministry???s support. ???I have always been concerned about the fact that the abundance of expertise and experience of our former cricketing greats were underutilised,??? he said, adding that closer collaborations between past and present players would increase the transfer of skills and knowledge.?????[The West Indies Retired Players Foundation] is a body through which we can recognise and utilize our cricketing greats in a manner befitting their status,??? he said.

He encouraged other sporting disciplines to do the same and stressed that outstanding retired athletes are invaluable resources. ???Their experiences on and off the field of play can only augur well for the development of our sports,??? Mr. Lashley said.

Acting Director of the West Indies Retired Players Foundation, Dr. Nigel Camacho, urged past and present players to embrace the organisation. He pointed out that an elite group of over 300 men have played for the West Indies. The foundation helps retired players to access health care benefits and also seeks to offer scholarships and bursaries to students who play cricket, are pursuing tertiary level training, and host fund raising events.

Dr. Camacho said the foundation had the ability to improve relationships within the cricketing fraternity. ???We need to bridge the gap that has existed between the authorities in West Indies cricket and the players themselves??? I think the foundation will go a long way towards bridging that gap??????

Barbados??? National Hero and West Indies legend, Sir Garfield Sobers endorsed the movement, stating it was wonderful to have senior players help current players.

?????I am pleased you are giving us a chance to prove our worth to these up and coming youngsters who have a lot of ability, but when you watch them you realise they all have weaknesses. Our fault is not in the way we are playing the game, it is in the development of our youngsters, getting them to that peak where they will be consistent???You can only be successful by having a consistent team,??? he said.

He told the audience which included Sir Vivian Richards, Joel Garner, Patterson Thompson and the current West Indies Cricket team: ???You must have the knowledge to read the game, not just score runs, but be able to read the game and understand what you have to do to turn the game around???

???The best way to defend is to attack???know the captains that you are playing against as well. You must be able to access a game even as a player, you cannot wait on the captain to do everything for you. You must know the weakness and strengths of the people you are playing against. When you as a player start to learn and understand that, you will find our cricket will rise to the top again,??? Sir Gary advised.

Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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