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West Indies shake up

Sports 12 Jan, 2023 Follow News

Kemar Roach is loved at Surrey

West Indies are still in decline

West Indies cricket will see considerable changes this year. Cricket West Indies has announced a new domestic red-ball tri-series, the Headley-Weekes series, which will be played at the end of the West Indies Championship, the regional four-day tournament.

The series will feature three four-day matches, played from April 18 to May 6 at Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua. Team Headley and Team Weekes - named in honour of George Headley and Everton Weekes - will be selected from the best performers in the 2023 West Indies Championship and players outside the starting West Indies Test XI. The new West Indies Academy will provide the third team.

The 2023 edition of the West Indies Championship, which begins on February 1, will be played across five rounds of four-day games featuring six regional franchise teams.

West Indies have not improved dramatically since the big shake up a couple of years ago. They hope that the addition of Roland Butcher, the Barbados-born former England batter, being appointed to the West Indies men’s and junior selection panel may make a difference. Butcher will join lead selector Desmond Haynes on the men’s panel, whose third member is the head coach; West Indies currently have Andre Coley in that position on an interim basis following the resignation of Phil Simmons.

Butcher, the first black man to play for England, played three Tests, all on the 1980-81 tour of the West Indies, and three ODIs. After his playing career of over 500 games - the bulk of them for Middlesex - he went into coaching, not just cricket but football too, earning EUFA coaching badges along the way. He was Bermuda’s head coach from 2000-01, and in 2004 was appointed director of sports at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.

“It is a great honour and a privilege, to be given the opportunity to serve West Indies Cricket,” Butcher said. “I’m eager to get started to work alongside the other members of the selection panels as we look to ensure the growth and improvement in West Indies cricket at all levels.”

Meanwhile, West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach is returning to Surrey for the first six games of the 2023 County Championship season. The 34-year-old Barbadian will be back for his third spell at The Oval having played for the club in 2021 and during their title-winning 2022 campaign. The paceman has taken 47 wickets for the county. “I really enjoy playing for Surrey and winning the title last year was incredible to be a part of,” he said.

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