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Monday 26th July 2010

Sandals Foundation Cricket Academy participants pose with cricket legends Kenneth Benjamin, Ridley Jacobs and Curtly Ambrose

In the presence of three of the island’s biggest cricket names, the Ministry of Sport and the Sandals Foundation launched a historic partnership in a bid to revive the game in Antigua and the wider Caribbean at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium earlier today. Curtly Ambrose, Ridley Jacobs and Kenneth Benjamin all looked on as the latest hope for the revitalization of the game was launched in grand style with regional cricket commentator Joseph Reds Perriera presiding over the proceedings as Master of ceremonies.
Kenney Benjamin who has played some twenty-six test matches for the West Indies team believes that this is one of the best things that has happened to Antiguan cricket in a very long time. “We have never seen the best of the under-15 cricketers gather in such large numbers, and in such a big way for intense two week training. So I believe that this is something tremendous that a bright future can be built upon,” adds Benjamin.
Regional Director for Sandals Resorts in the Eastern Caribbean Jeremy Jones says that although the last ten years have been very successful for the academy in St. Lucia, the foundation efforts here stands a great chance of eclipsing its St. Lucian experience. “St. Lucia has had two championship teams and several youngsters going on to represent it and Windward islands at all levels, while one of the graduates have gotten a scholarship in the UK and is now playing as an overseas professional in the north of England as a result of our investments there,” adds Jones.
He continued “I believe that Antigua’s experience is going to be even more successful with the wealth of talent, the fact that more cricket is being played on the island, and the rich legacy of cricket legends that the island boasts.”
The 29 boys who are from various secondary schools on the island also heard from Mervyn Richards, the Islands Director of Sport who challenged them to make Antigua and Barbuda proud. “A number of you in this room make up the future of Antigua, Leeward Island and West Indies Cricket,” lamented Richards.
In very poetic style, Junior Minister of Sport, Honourable Senator Winston Williams expressed gratitude to Sandals for its partnership with his Ministry and implored the organization to a commitment that is sustainable. “I am sure you will agree that for us to really make a dent we have to do this more than one year,” explained the Senator.
As various speakers poked fun at the current state of West Indies cricket and three of Antigua’s biggest cricket names looked on, the overriding hope was that a platform was being launched for tangible change in the fortunes of a once mighty West Indies team.     

Sandals Foundation Cricket Academy participants pose with cricket legends Kenneth Benjamin, Ridley Jacobs and Curtly Ambrose           

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