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Cricket emphasis should be at grass-roots level, says Perreira

Published:Tuesday | December 27, 2022 | 1:01 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter

FOLLOWING the recent announcement by Cricket West Indies (CWI) to name Jamaica-born and former first-class cricketer Andre Coley as the team’s interim head coach, veteran regional cricket analyst Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira believes that the two upcoming tours in 2023 against Zimbabwe and South Africa, and the financial strength of the regional board, could be pivotal in the naming of a permanent coach for the team.

“A lot will depend on the financial strength of CWI if the region is to choose an overseas coach. The coach could might well come from the Caribbean. I think after the Zimbabwe and South Africa tours, he (Andre Coley) will be able to assess his own chances,” said Perreira.

Coley became the ninth interim coach of the West Indies since 2000, behind a list that includes Gus Logie, David Moore, Henderson Springer, David Williams, Stuart Williams, Nick Pothas, Richard Pybus and Floyd Reifer. Perreira believes the constant chopping and changing to the coaches employed is a trivial issue, compared to the lack of development at the grass-roots level.

“Well, I think it’s a greater problem than that (changing of coaches). Other countries have a development programme, from the under-17 to the under-19 levels, while we have the shortest first-class season in the world and we’re not going on a lot of ‘A’ tours in recent times. And I don’t believe schoolboy cricket is strong in the West Indies as it used to be in the times of Brian Lara and Carl Hooper.

“It’s not the fault of the players, but what you do with them on the way up. Other countries have much more finished product. So England could bring in a Harry Brook, for example, but the number of players competing for selection in the region is, in fact, very small,” Perreira said.

The veteran cricket analyst also believes that the better coaches within the region should be placed at the grass-roots level, rather than the senior level, as this would help to build a proper foundation for the upcoming cricketer,s similarly to what the likes of Australia and New Zealand are currently doing.

“Well, I think the focus should be at the grass-roots level and the lower levels, because they’re not as developed and polished like the players from other countries are. Basically, there’s too much need for the coach of the West Indies senior team to do a lot of corrective work which other countries like Australia, India or New Zealand do not have to be doing. There needs to be more corrective work at the under-15, under-17 and under-19 levels,” Perreira said.