West Indies cricket legend, Sir Wes Hall has expressed full support for the idea of cricket academies being the “finishing schools” for cricketers with talent and technique.
Speaking at a ceremony following The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Vice-Chancellor’s Cricket Match at the 3Ws Oval at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados recently, the former fast bowler reminded the audience that it had always been the vision of his mentor, Sir Frank Worrell, that there should be “a synergistic approach between education and sport.”
Defining how he thought an academy should function, Sir Wes said, “You don’t go to an academy to become good, you have to be good to get into an academy.”
"It is like those finishing schools of decades ago in Europe where you attend to polish up on skills you already have", he said.
“You don’t learn to play forward or to play back in the academy. What you do learn is about the idea of rotating the strike, the idea of bowling in the six-metre zone, the idea of having a follow-through that is full of flow, then you get balance, then you get the explosion at the end. That is what you learn in an academy.”
But he had very strong feelings about the retention of West Indian culture and respect for its origins.
“I want them to have it staffed with people who understand cricket development in the West Indies and who know our culture. The same people that you are actually honouring today, they will be the ones that can go and have visits so the youngsters can have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with these great people.”
Sir Wes Hall was one of three West Indian cricketers whose outstanding global contributions were being honoured by The UWI. Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Everton Weekes were also being celebrated as the Vice-Chancellor’s XI took on the visiting English team in a friendly preliminary match prior to the start of the current West Indies vs England One Day International (ODI) Series.
The English team demonstrated why they are ranked as the number one ODI team by the ICC, winning by 171 runs, with Joe Root and Jason Roy scoring centuries.
The VC’s XI elected to field first and England scored 371.
Despite the loss, the match was a friendly affair and the real highlight was the tribute to the West Indian “immortals.”