“We have produced some of the best players in the world” – Russell criticizes Jamaican government for its handling of cricket

Jamaica and West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell is chastising the government’s handling of cricket after Jamaica lost a Caribbean Premier League franchise as well as their refusal to bid for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

The 35-year-old is also conscious about the long-term impact on emerging local players.

The country will host no CPL games after Jamaica Tallawahs pulled out citing a lack of government support, while Jamaica was not among Caribbean countries bidding to host matches in the June 1-29 ICC showpiece.

Russell said a proud cricketing nation like Jamaica possessed all the elements required for attracting international cricket.

“With no cricket playing in Jamaica, it’s just sad,” said Jamaican Russell, who has emerged as one of the global icons of the shortest format.

“An historic ground (Sabina Park), such a proper facility, good batting wicket, good for bowling, and then CPL won’t be here, I just think it’s very sad for the island.

“I can’t express how disappointed I am to know that not even two World Cup games won’t be here. I think the government has to do something about this.”

He continued, “They need to look into certain things. They can’t support certain sports and just forget about cricket.

“We have produced some of the best players in the world—test cricket, T20, and all of that—so I’m very disappointed in all these things that are happening.”

Last month, it was confirmed that Tallawahs, one of the leading CPL franchises, would not feature in this year’s tournament after the owners sold the entity back to the league.

This came against the backdrop of Jamaica failing to stage a single CPL game since 2019.

“I could not continue to operate a franchise cricket team in a country where the government refuses to provide any financial support,” the former Tallawahs owner, Kris Persaud, was quoted as saying last month.

The Tallawahs were subsequently replaced in the league by the Antigua Hawksbills, a franchise that featured in the opening two seasons of the CPL.

There was also a public outcry last year when it was revealed Jamaica had not bid for any matches in the T20 World Cup, with the government saying it had made a responsible decision based on a sound cost-benefit analysis.

Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago will all host matches.

Russell said the lack of matches in the country posed a threat to cricket development.

“If cricket is not playing here and the exposure is not happening, I think it’s going to be difficult,” said the 35-year-old all-rounder.

“A guy would just have to know that he has to work twice as hard to get into that system.”

Only last month, another Jamaican, West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell, urged talks between the Jamaican government and Cricket West Indies in order to have the situation addressed.

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