ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is promising to invest more in the Sagicor High Performance Centre (SHPC) after one of its first graduates performed impressively in the first Test match between West Indies and New Zealand in Antigua.
WICB president Dr Julian Hunte says he is confident more graduates will emerge after opener Kieran Powell scored his maiden Test century in the first innings of the match.
The 22-year-old Leeward Island left-hander scored 134 and 30 as West Indies defeated the visitors by nine wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
"We are very pleased with the HPC programme and we are certain that we will see other graduates of the programme emerge in the coming seasons as well," said Hunte, who is in his third term as president.
"We will continue to strengthen the programme and invest not only in the Sagicor HPC, but in the many other areas of development to ensure that our cricketers are prepared for the intensity of action and the immense challenges of international cricket."
The SHPC, inaugurated in 2010, hosts a one-year programme aimed at developing young players to deal with the demands of international cricket.
The first group of 15 young players included several such as Powell, Shannon Gabriel and Devon Thomas who went on to represent the West Indies.
"I wish to especially note that Powell is a graduate of the Sagicor High Performance Centre and he himself has lauded the work of the HPC programme in developing his batting and all-round cricket to the point where he was able to achieve his maiden Test hundred," Hunte added.
The Centre is based at the 3Ws Oval at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
West Indies capped players Andre Fletcher, Johnson Charles and Carlos Braithwaite were expected to be among the second squad of players picked for training at SHPC this year.
The WICB chief made his comments in a statement congratulating Darren Sammy's men on their latest victory.
"This outstanding victory is another significant marker along the road of the re-development of West Indies cricket," Hunte said.
"The entire West Indies cricketing family stands together in saluting the team for what was an admittedly rare victory, but one which, we hope, is the first of many more to come as the team continues along the path of resurgence and development."