Mon | Oct 21, 2019

CPL, Tallawahs need to do more for local cricket – Heaven

Published:Saturday | September 21, 2019 | 12:12 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven
Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven

President of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven, is calling on the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the Jamaica Tallawahs to do more to advance the development of cricket in Jamaica. He stated that while there have been some positive impacts from the tournament being staged in the island and the Tallawahs’ presence as the country’s franchise; the advantages are limited and indirect.

“There is scope for improvement and the JCA has some recommendations that could bring some very tangible, positive effects for our local game,” he said speaking to The Gleaner.

Since the tournament’s inception in 2013, replacing the Caribbean Twenty20, the CPL has established itself as the premier tournament in the region. The Tallawahs themselves have won the competition twice, including in its debut 2013 season.

However, Heaven is challenging the franchise and the league organisers to integrate themselves into the local fabric for lasting changes in Jamaica’s cricket. Those recommendations include integrating the country’s top youth prospects for development, with the eventual target of signing them to the team as well as creating a local T20 championship.

“The Tallawahs/CPL should include the country’s best under -19 talent in their training camps with a view to signing them. In future, these players could be transferred on the international senior markets for a fee, which would go directly to the club or parish association from which they originated,” Heaven added.

“[They should] support the executing of a local T20 championship, which culminates just before the CPL training camps commence. The best players from this local championship should be invited to benefit from the training camps and be seen by CPL scouts,” Heaven continued.

Service execution

He is also suggesting that the JCA be used to execute professional services for the Tallawahs’ home games, which would be helpful in supporting grass roots programmes.

“The earnings from this service delivery can then be channelled into supporting grass roots development initiatives,” he said

Heaven did not, however, discount the benefits that the tournament and the franchise have made since the improvements in the professionalisation of cricket in the Caribbean via the funds used by the licence fee paid to Cricket West Indies by the CPL.

“Some of the proceeds from this commercial arrangement are disbursed across the territorial boards and used to strengthen the respective franchises in the CPL,” said Heaven. “Professionalising regional first-class cricket will improve the quality of talent at the senior level.”

Heaven also credits the CPL for giving local players an opportunity to play with and against the best international players in the world, which will benefit them when they are called for national duty.