Professional First Class Franchise System will revolutionize West Indies cricket – Don Wehby

Bridgetown, Barbados – Regional business executive and Director of the West Indies Cricket Board Don Wehby, said today that the professionalization of First Class cricket in the West Indies will revolutionize the game in the region.


The WICB is about to roll out a full Professional First Class Franchise System in which a cadre of 90 players will be engaged in a professional cricket structure on a day-to-day basis, year round.


“This professional structure and environment is geared towards, and certainly will, revolutionize cricket in the region and contribute significantly to the repositioning of the West Indies team in the upper echelons of international cricket,” said Wehby who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaican headquartered multi-national company, GraceKennedy Limited.


“I am excited by the prospects for the success of this professional structure and I urge that it receive the support of regional governments, corporate Caribbean, fans, the tourism sector and all the facets of our society which hold cricket dear,” urged Wehby, a former Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Public Service in the Jamaican government.


The WICB has committed to partner with the six territorial boards to fund six First Class Franchises in the region which will compete in the annual Regional First Class and Super50 tournaments.


Each franchise will retain 15 players who will work as a unit on a day-to-day basis in each territory under a Head Coach and support staff. The six franchises will be based in Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Windward Islands.


“I am extremely pleased that the WICB is about to introduce this historic and long overdue initiative of properly professionalizing West Indies First Class cricket. Our regional game has suffered for a protracted period from not having our best players being engaged on a continual basis in fine-tuning and upgrading their skills,” Mr. Wehby said while speaking during a break of a WICB Meeting of Board of Directors in Barbados on Saturday.


“This initiative, is projected to significantly lend to the improvement of performance of the West Indies team on the international stage as a large cadre of players will now be engaged, on a day-to-day basis in working as professional cricketers. It is the first time this will be happening in the region,” added Wehby.


“Equally important, is that the profile of regional First Class cricket will be raised with the overall standards being lifted, increased competitiveness and the parity among teams likely to be much closer,” Wehby concluded.


Wehby was appointed GraceKennedy Group CEO in 2011 and a WICB Director in 2013.