West Indies and Jamaica all-rounder Chris Gayle says among the things he wants to do this year is to breathe new life into his academy, which was started years ago with a mandate to create grassroots development.
The Chris Gayle Academy, an affiliate of his boyhood club Lucas Cricket Club, and another club under the supervision of the late coach Dennis Miller operated simultaneously for several years, but neither has opened since the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Gayle, who has been successful in all formats for the West Indies, hinted that mismanagement has crippled his academy but said he wants to get it back on track.
“The academy is something I want to start up as well… things didn’t [go] well. You have to be careful how you let people handle stuff.”
43-year-old Gayle, later spoke to reporters about the academy.
“This year I’m trying to get these things back up and running. We don’t want to see the kids go astray, so I have an academy and [we want] to assist in whatever way.” he said
Other academies have hit the ground running in recent times, including the Milla Academy, the brainchild of former West Indies and Jamaica spinner Nikita Miller, which opened in November 2021.
The Kingston Wharves under-15 competition, which has helped unearth some of Jamaica’s top cricketers for more than three decades, has also returned in 2022 after being sidelined by the pandemic.
Talking about the deterioration of West Indies cricket in the last few years, Gayle said that cricket is going in the wrong direction.
“I think cricket took a wrong turn, but hopefully we can actually develop the game. Club cricket is something to look into as well; we’re not seeing a lot of cricket — I’m speaking from a Jamaica point of view.”
“It’s something the board really and truly has to look at and I can see whatever part I can play in that as well. A lot of players [are] playing cricket in the [United] States now. The States [is an option] … for cricketers to go there and make a living, [but] we are struggling here in the Caribbean.”
Commenting further, the left-handed destroyer said he could help West Indies in several departments.
“I can help in a few departments, not in all. But first and foremost I have to find time for myself… I still have a lot on my plate from a personal point of view, [but] when it comes on to West Indies cricket they will always have my support; when it comes on to Jamaica cricket they will always have my support as well.”
“I have my academy… so we can get some younger players, search for new talents and just help kids on a whole, that’s my plan.” he concluded