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cricket >> andy roberts
Andy Roberts, one of the fearsome four in the victorious
1975 Prudential World Cup West Indian team. Roberts is still remembered
for his pace and accuracy, a dangerous combination! His partners included
, Malcolm Marshall
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) -
Former West Indies' fast bowler Andy Roberts has hailed the Stanford Twenty20 cricket project as a huge boost in assisting the development of West Indies cricket.
While praising the Antigua-based Texas billionaire's initiative, the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1975 and former West Indies coach, chastised the WICB for failing to put the necessary funds in the development of West Indies cricket.
"Mr Stanford is doing it as a business, but in doing so he is helping to develop West Indies cricket, he is putting what the WICB has failed to do over the years, putting money into development of West Indies cricket," Roberts said.
Stanford is launching a multi-million dollar Twenty20 cricket series next summer in Antigua with 19 teams participating, and he is getting ready to disburse more than US$2 million in funds early next year to assist participating countries in developing their training programmes and preparing for the tournament.
Roberts, along with several other former West Indies players, is on the Stanford 20/20 tournament board of directors, and while in Trinidad briefing the national players and cricket officials, Roberts advised the WICB to grab Stanford's US$28 million venture wholeheartedly.
"I know that any company who is struggling, anyone who is putting money into that company to keep it up, should be grateful," Roberts said.
On Monday evening, the WICB issued a release on behalf of its territorial boards, triggering concern that members of the regional governing body were unhappy with aspects of how Stanford was executing his plans. The WICB territorial board's statement urged Stanford to take the path of collective participation with the WICB on the project.
The statement spoke of fear of Stanford's investment creating "duplication and division" within West Indies cricket, but Roberts appeared to have different feedback from the territories.
He told the gathering of players and officials that while the response from the territorial boards has been "sound", the WICB has been relatively silent on the developments.
"Officially we haven't heard any word from the West Indies Board, giving its blessings or that they are in full support of it."
Roberts, who claimed 202 wickets Test wickets in 47 matches at an average of 25.61 runs apiece, dispelled the growing concern in the cricket fraternity that Stanford's board and the WICB were at loggerheads.
"We're not in conflict with WICB at all, contrary to that, what we (Stanford directors) are trying to do is to help develop West Indies cricket."
Roberts substituted for former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes in Trinidad, to bring the players up to speed on the tournament.
He advised the national cricketers in attendance, including West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, to "train hard" and prepare for the US$1 million winner-take-all Twenty20 tournament in Antigua next summer.
Compliments of the Jamaica
by PHILIP SPOONER
Roberts: WI bowling short on pace, quality and short men too.
The former West Indies fast bowling great has suggested that the West Indies are lacking quality bowling for the VB Series in Australia and they could suffer as a result.
“We need quality bowlers if we are going to beat quality opposition,” said Roberts from Antigua. “Do we have quality bowlers? No! We don’t have quality fast bowlers and we have been lacking quality fast bowlers for some time now.”
Earlier this week coach King lamented the lack of penetration among the fast men as the side ended its preparation for what is expected to be a tough month Down Under. He argued that the “arm paths” of some bowlers are not quite right and need to be worked up.
Roberts, however, cautioned that to produce better fast bowlers better care needed to be taken of the present stock. He touched on the number of young speedsters including Fidel Edwards, Tino Best, Ravi Rampaul, Jerome Taylor and Jermaine Lawson, who have all been sidelined with injuries.
The 53-year-old Roberts, seen as the godfather of the four-pronged pace attack which started in the mid 1970s also believed the young pacers deserved a longer run when selected.
“The selectors need to show the same faith in the fast bowlers as they do in the batsmen,” said Roberts, who took 202 wickets in 47 Tests, including a best of seven for 54.
“The quality might not be all there, but they need to be given a run, to prove some worth. We tend to discard the fast bowlers soon after few matches and they never really have a chance to settle.
“We have given chances to endless batsmen, but we’re not always prepared to show the same faith with the young pacers.”
According to Roger Brathwaite, chief executive of the West Indies Cricket Board, the team is expected to be named early next week as arbiter Justice Mr Adrian Saunders rules on the impasse between the WICB and the West Indies Players’ Association.
The West Indies leave the Caribbean for Australia on December 29. They will start with workouts in Melbourne before warm-up matches against Victoria at the MCG and two one-dayers against Australia “A” in Hobart, Tasmania.
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