[www.inewsguyana.com] – Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) President Billy Heaven believes the planned introduction of a franchise system for the upcoming West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) four-day tournament is the way to go.
According to Heaven, who is in his first year as president of the JCA, the time has come for the full professionalisation of the tournament.
“Sports on the global landscape have evolved, and cricket has to get in line,” said Heaven,” he said; adding that “No longer can we sit and hope for first-class cricket in the region to improve. We have to do something about it, and with the new franchise system, this is a step in that direction.”
“What we have now are countries on a year-in, year-out basis turning out substandard teams, due to a lack of quality players, and this is affecting the overall quality of play, and the performance of players,” he said too
“This has to change, and by having a franchise tournament structure, which facilitates having the best players playing against each other on a regular and consistent basis, we anticipate that there will be improvements in performances.”
Heaven, who is also a director of the WICB, added that a franchise system will provided greater opportunities for private-sector sponsorship and investment.
“Cricket across the region is struggling in terms of funding, and one of the main reasons behind this is the lack of sponsorship,” said Heaven.
“By having franchises, as was evident in the Caribbean Premier League set-up, it provides a much greater opportunity for business people who want to invest,” he added.
The WICB four-day tournament, which is set to get under way in two months, is set to feature six franchise teams instead of the usual six territorial teams.
The franchises, to be owned and operated by the six traditional cricketing territories, will in Year One see 15 players being contracted, with 10 being nationals of the country in which the team is located, and the other five to be selected from a draft of regional players.
Year Two will see a relinquishing of the player quotas, thus allowing the franchises to select their preferred 15 players. (windiescricket)