Cameron optimistic about revamped regional cricket
PRESIDENT of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Whycliffe 'Dave' Cameron is expressing optimism ahead of the revamped regional cricket set-up which should see the more players acquiring annual retainer contracts.
In lauding Melbourne Cricket Club for the successful staging of their cricket summer camp, Cameron used the platform to elaborate on the new professional dispensation.
He declared that West Indies cricket is at an "exciting period" and that the professional system will replace the "amateur cricket" that was played amongst territorial teams.
"When England barred us from being a part of the county set-up we have not replaced that. In 1997, we tried the retainer system but we didn't get the support of the entire region and that failed.
"We have now redoubled our efforts and again partnering with WIPA (West Indies Players Association), and in particular its leadership, we have been able to look at West Indies cricket and one thing we agree on is that we have to get West Indies cricket better," he said, while speaking at the camp's closing ceremony at Melbourne on Friday.
The new system will take effect tomorrow and will see the WICB having six professional set-ups across the region which will hire a minimum of 105 cricketers annually. That number will amount from 15 players in each of the six territories, along with the 15 already on contracts at the West Indies level.
"We are just trying to set up a professional structure that will have our players working all the time, and for you to be a professional at anything you need a minimum of 10,000 hours," Cameron told the Jamaica Observer.
He continued: "If you are on a retainer [contract], as a good player you should make a minimum of US $30,000 [per year] and as a West Indies player you could earn in excess of $2 million if you play in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"That is actually better than a student coming out of university at entry level. So we believe it is a reasonable income and with that kind of a making we will see the cricketing structure getting better going forward."
Cameron further explained that the professional structure will be similar to the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and will see players drafted to represent foreign territories.
"This year a minimum of 10 players will be from Jamaica and the other five will be through a drafting system. Next year it will be the best 15 that Jamaica would like to sign.
"That means you may not have more than 15 Jamaicans playing around the region, so there are more opportunities for Jamaicans. If you are good enough, then there is no reason why we shouldn't have 20 or 30 guys plying their trade throughout the region, very similar to what is happening with the CPL," he explained.
The season will start in November and will have four-day cricket played in a home and away format, paving the way for a minimum of 10 games in the tournament.
The four-day tournament will then break in January to make way for the Super50 limited-overs tournament. The four-day competition will resume thereafter and culminate in March.