Former West Indies pace bowler Kenny Benjamin believes the development of regional and by extension West Indies cricket is stifled by the tendency of franchises to prefer players from their home countries.
A franchise system was introduced to the regional cricket set-up approximately six years ago. It has led to teams taking part in the regional One Day and Four Day tournaments as clubs, as opposed to just countries.
For the most part, however, with a few exceptions, the franchises have remained mostly composed of players from the countries in which they are based. Benjamin believes some of that is due to a bit of nationalism, which he has pointed out is harmful to the professional set-up and the development of the game overall.
“One of the things in the Caribbean is that I think, patriotism is killing us. Sir Viv would know that when we go to England to play and when he played for Somerset and Glamorgan that’s where you play for and that’s where you represent because that’s where you are at that time. But I think in the Caribbean everybody wants to play for their country rather than play cricket and that is one of the problems we are facing,” Benjamin said in a recent interview with the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show.
“We need to be exposing our best players, it doesn’t matter where they come from and it would only make other players raise their standard. If we are playing mediocre players just because of where they come from then the standard isn’t going to rise,” he added.
In previous seasons, players like Guyana’s Assad Fudadin, Keron Cottoy and several others have represented teams outside of their country of birth, but they remain in the minority. Benjamin pointed to the case of Nicholas Pooran and Joshua Silver who both play for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.
“You have Pooran and you have Da Silva but when you look at Da Silva and the type of cricketer he is, he is not a bad wicketkeeper either, so he could be pushing for one of the wicketkeeper spots as well. But what if you have the number one and number two wicketkeepers in Trinidad.”
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