'Talented Windies youth failing to make transition' - U-15 coach Arthurton calls for more focus on grooming players

By Sports Desk May 31, 2020
West Indies Under-15 coach Keith Arthurton. West Indies Under-15 coach Keith Arthurton.

Former West Indies middle-order batsman turned youth coach Keith Arthurton has urged the regional body to put more effort into making sure talented youth cricketers go on to transition into successful senior players.

Arthurton, the left-handed batsman who made 33 Test and 105 ODI appearances for the West Indies, was appointed as coach of the region’s under-15 squad in 2008.  Having seen a lot of promising youth players during his time, he believes there is no doubt that the talent is abundant but too many players for one reason or the other are unable to take the next crucial step.

“Because we’re so gifted, we are naturally able to play the sport.  At the youth level, you will always see the talent but for some reason, there is a transition [problem].  Based on the experience I have doing academy work and grassroots work and so on that transition is normally made at the age of 16 and it's a crucial transition that will either build you or break you,” Arthurton told the Good Morning Jojo radio program.

One solution, he believes, is to develop avenues that serve to provide consistent exposure and high-level competition for players at that critical stage of their development.  The coach revealed that the issue had already been broached with Cricket West Indies but, as it stands, concrete plans are yet to be fully fleshed out.

“You may hear about an under-21 team or an under-23 team but there is no continuation so it may happen for one or two seasons and then it is gone,” Arthurton said.

“We have to understand what we are trying to achieve and what the main purpose of trying to help these guys, the same guys who would be leaving youth cricket and looking to go into senior cricket and how we can maintain that important continuity for players to make the transition a lot easier for them.”

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