GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Guyana players have praised the new regional first-class format, which will see a professional franchise system instituted for the first time in the annual competition.
Under the new franchise system, players will be paid a monthly salary as professionals, instead of the match fees paid in the past under the old format.
Out-of-favour Test player Narsingh Deonarine said the idea was one which would benefit players not only financially but in improving their game.
“I am working hard to get back into the West Indies team, and not worrying too much about where my money will come from if I don’t play in the overseas leagues is one of the things a player would not have to worry about,” said the left-hander, who played the last of his 18 Tests almost a year ago.
“If you don’t make the West Indies team or lose your place, it is almost impossible to buy a nice house or drive a top-of-the-line car since the money you get paid for regional matches will run out once the season ends since our season is among the shortest first-class seasons in the world.”
He added: “This (franchise system) allows everyone to make a living from cricket and work towards improving their game.”
Another left-hander, Vishal Singh, who has played 13 first-class matches, said the franchise system would help in his dream of becoming a full professional player.
“This won’t change my lifestyle much since I always channeled all my attention towards cricket. I don’t have a normal job since I play professionally in England when I am not in Guyana,” said Singh.
“I also put my university studies on hold to concentrate on cricket full – time and getting a fixed salary to do something you love is always a good thing.”
The franchise system has also led to an extension of the season which will now include ten series of matches running from November 14th until March 23rd next year.
And Rajendra Chandrika believes this aspect is one of the key developments that will help players.
“We only play about five regional matches per year and when the season ends many players have to find other ways to look after their families since only those at the top were able to make a comfortable living from cricket,” said Chandrika, a 25-year-old who has played 22 first-class matches.
“Now everyone can earn a salary even if you do not make it to the West Indies team. This will allow you to train and practise harder since you do not have to worry too much about where your money will come from.
“This system will also allow more players to play local cricket which will also help to improve those coming up at the club level.”
Following last month’s draft, each franchise has retained 15 players who will work as a unit on a day-to-day basis in each territory under a head coach and support staff.
The six franchises will be based in Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Windward Islands.