BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE Len Harris Cricket Academy at Warner Park is scheduled for a facelift as part of a project in enhancing the Cricket Stadium of the facility.
The Academy is located within the northeast section of the Warner Park Cricket Stadium, where work is currently in progress to facilitate the venue with lights for the hosting of night matches and also the mounting of a video scoreboard on the western mound.
According to Vernon Springer, a Senior Sports Officer in the Ministry of Sports, similar work would be done to the Carib Brewery-Len Harris Cricket Academy.
“We are also going to be upgrading the Len Harris Cricket Academy with lights. That will be in the first phase. And for the second phase, we are thinking of having an indoor facility.”
He added that they are also going to be rolling out the new Academy Cricket Board which would be responsible for the governance of the entity.
“We are also going to be rolling out the new Academy Cricket Board over the next couple of weeks. We have already come up with some names, so we will be unveiling all of that and the new programmes what we expect to have in place for the Cricket Academy going forward.”
The Academy has been generally successful, producing over half of the current St. Kitts cricket team. It has also produced players who made it into the West Indies Under-19 team as well as the Leeward Islands team.
Players in the Academy are normally selected from the local High School Cricket Tournament.
Springer also gave a brief history of the Academy.
“The Carib Brewery-Len Harris Cricket Academy was established in 1997 and was named in honour of the late Leeward Islands, St. Kitts and Combine Islands player Len Harris.
“Len Harris was one of St. Kitts and Nevis’ finest sportsmen and was also a very excellent batsman. Many in the Caribbean felt that he was unfortunate for not making it into the West Indies Cricket team during his time.”
He also outlined what were the initial objectives of the Academy.
“With the Academy being formed in 1997, the first manager at that time was Ingle Liburd, former Leeward Islands player, former St. Kitts captain and former Canada captain. He was brought home with the idea to take the Academy to another level.
“The Cricket Academy has been used in many forms. The initial objective was to identify young cricketers in St. Kitts and Nevis with the view of setting up proper curriculum to be able to have Test cricketers from the Federation.”
He disclosed that it was the brainchild of Charles Wilkin Q.C, whose hopes were to always create an atmosphere that would help young talent to foster.
Some of the Federation’s cricketers who graduated from the Len Harris Cricket Academy are Calvin Williams, Kevin Hanley, Elsroy Powell and Steve Liburd.
Since the formation of the Academy, a number of former West Indies Test stalwarts had contributed to the young cricketers’ development. Among them was Desmond Haynes, who conducted a batting clinic, and Ian Bishop, who conducted a fast bowling clinic, as well as Michael Holding.
The Len Harris Cricket Academy is the first of its kind in the Leeward Islands.