West Indies cricket has been in financial turmoil for a long time, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The board had to borrow money to play its players and officials and hence the grassroots game continued to suffer.
As such, a few months ago, a video of former West Indies fast bowler Winston Benjamin asking cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to help provide cricket equipment to the cricketers at his academy went viral.
However, sports brand PUMA jumped in to support him. In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, the veteran pacer spoke about the support he received from the sports company.
— PUMA Cricket (@pumacricket) August 12, 2022
“I spoke briefly with a representative of Sachin’s company but I haven’t heard anything back from there yet. Our last conversation was about putting things together but I haven’t heard from him yet at this point.”
“I am happy and was a little bit surprised at how quickly PUMA came on board to present us with some well-needed equipment and we are very appreciative of the effort that PUMA has put in. They sent everything for us. They paid for everything and we are very very happy.”
He also said that it is very good that PUMA is stepping up for such an unknown academy and he hoped to make a video about the help received, but he was sad that he could not do it due to illness.
“The association has since been good with PUMA. I was supposed to do a video with them but had fallen ill. But the kids are elated at being given the necessary equipment because we have been struggling to get facilities that are very little to none. Hence for a company like PUMA to come on board for a little-known cricket academy is very good.”
“They have been very instrumental to make sure that the youngsters are fully equipped. We surely couldn’t have done it at the magnitude we are now. Even though we still need more equipment, their help has been significant for us.”
Benjamin, who represented West Indies in 21 Tests and 85 ODIs between 1987 and 1995, also gave his opinion on the current West Indies team and their chances in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Accordingly, he expressed strong critical comments about the current Windies team. According to him,
“I don’t think we have the quality. We need to play like a team that would compete but we don’t have the quality to be picking the T20 or the ODI team. We are going to be struggling for a long time.”
He emphasized about the team in the T20 World Cup which will start at the end of this month.
“T20 can go any way. I am talking about proper cricket which is ODI or Test. T20 is hit-and-miss. Anybody can win a T20 tournament. Look at the West Indies team, they are more comfortable playing T20 because they are equipped to build an innings and put it together. They just go and play shots, if they get out, they get out, if they get away with it then kudos to them.”