Bridgetown, Barbados, March 26 - (www.bcacricket.org) - In lauding the Barbados Pride team for comprehensively capturing the West Indies first-class Championship, Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) president Conde Riley has listed a couple factors for the success including the “strong character” of captain Kraigg Brathwaite and the work being done at the Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence (EWCOE).
Barbados Pride were declared winners of the six-team Championship on Tuesday after the last two rounds of matches were cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
After the eighth round, Barbados were leading their closest rivals by a whopping 40.2 points, as they finished on 134.8, followed by Trinidad & Tobago Red Force with 94.6, Guyana Jaguars 91.8, Jamaica Scorpions 91.8, Windward Islands Volcanoes 78 and Leeward Islands 52.8.
It was the 23rd first-class title for Barbados - by far the most successful team in the region since 1966 - and their first since 2014 when Brathwaite, the experienced West Indies Test opening batsman and vice-captain, was also the skipper.
“Kraigg has a very strong character and is always willing to listen and learn,” Riley told BCAcricket.org.
“He has displayed this side of him from primary school and he has great respect for the game and his colleagues. He will grow and improve and eventually win over his detractors.”
Riley reckoned that not being at full strength on several occasions since 2014 because of players representing West Indies had presented a challenge for Barbados in their bid to capture the title.
“As you are aware, we won the Regional 4-Day in 2013 with Kirk Edwards as captain and in 2014 when Kraigg captained the team. Since then we have been runners-up to Guyana, 2015 to 2019. There were a number of reasons for not getting over the line. We had about ten players representing the senior West Indies teams in the three formats of International cricket and whilst we played well, we never got it right especially against Guyana when it mattered most,” Riley asserted.
Riley, who is also a director of Cricket West Indies, said that apart from the current glory, he was heartened by the success of the Barbados junior teams as well as the Women in recent years.
“The Under-15 team won back-to-back in 2017 and 2018, the Under-17 side won in 2018 and 2019, the Under-19 team won last year and our women won both the T20 and 50-Over titles in Guyana last year.
“Both the BCA and Cricket Franchise of Barbados Inc (CFBI) Boards are extremely proud of these performances. We take the opportunity to congratulate all of our coaches and management teams for a job well done,” Riley remarked.
“I attribute the establishment of the Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence in 2008 and the work being done by our coaches for our success. As you are aware, every evening our age group players meet at Kensington Oval for specialized training with our coaches and this has resulted in the successes. Our seniors also understand what cricket means to Barbadian civilization and they take great pride in representing the island.
“In 2016 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Barbados winning the Regional Trophy under the captaincy of Garfield Sobers, we invited the Right Excellent Sir Garry and members of his team to a luncheon at the Oval. We insisted that our senior team members sat with the legends and that led to a great bit of information and advice being passed on by the legends. Lasting relationships were formed.
“Last year the BCA and Cricket Legends of Barbados Inc (CLOBI) signed a MOU specifically to have these icons and legends play a part in sharing and teaching their knowledge and experiences with our young cricketers. We feel that if they know of where we came from that they will be in a much better position to defend and uphold our rich cricketing heritage.
“This is now the 23rd first-class title that Barbados has won, approximately 42% of the titles. We plan to improve on what we have at the EWCOE and add modern coaching techniques to ensure that we stay ahead of the competition.
“We hope to start and complete our indoor facility over the next two years and this will help our players to do a lot more preparation without the constraints of time and the weather and redound to our future performances and successes on the Regional and International stages,” Riley said.