Coach of the Leeward Islands cricket team and former West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman, Ridley Jacobs believes the time is ripe for sub-regional selectors to place more emphasis on recruiting younger and more vibrant players.
The statement comes on the heels of Leeward’s dismal performances during the WICB Professional Cricket League (PCL) 4-Day and Super50 competitions where they finished at the bottom of the table on both instances.
“I think that we need to start looking beyond some of these players because what I have realized is that a number of these players have been playing for a number of years and we just keep recycling these players and I think now is the time for us to really get some new blood and start training these guys and preparing these guys properly for these tournaments. It doesn’t make any sense you keep going over and over the same players. It’s time for us to make changes,” he said.
Leeward Islands rallied to record victories in their final two matches of the 4-Day competition, beating Trinidad and Tobago Red Force by five wickets on Monday and Jamaica by four wickets on March 16.
Jacobs said he was not surprised by the team’s performances in those two instances.
“I always believed in the players and I knew they had the ability to score runs and that’s the area we lacked in eight games, we weren’t batting properly. Shot selection was very poor and we didn’t concentrate for long periods and that has led to our downfall,” the coach said.
“In the last two games some of our senior players we were looking for throughout the season came good and that is what we were looking for all the time,” Jacobs added.
Asked if the team’s late form strengthens his previous pleas for more preparation time ahead of tournaments, Jacobs said poor prep time should not be blame for constant failures.
“At the start, yes, because we only had a couple of days before the tournament started but we have been playing for a few months now, so I thought that by then we should have gotten into a groove (but) I can’t find any excuses for our performances. We just batted poorly throughout the season and that’s the reason why we came last,” he said.
Leewards finished at the bottom of the table with 54 points, 11 points behind Red Force on 65 points.
Guyana Jaguars topped the standings with 148 points with Barbados Pride as runners-up with 117 points. Windward Volcanoes finished third with 109 points while the Jamaica Franchise was fourth with 75 points.