Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Steve Lyston | Pride and politics killing West Indies cricket

Published:Monday | October 15, 2018 | 12:00 AM
West Indies' cricketer Chris Gayle (center), dances with his teammates to celebrate their win over Sri Lanka in the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup final match in Colombo, Sri Lanka on October 7, 2012. File

Cricket! Lovely cricket! It is the sport that unites many in the Caribbean. Wherever you go globally and you see a West Indian and engage in a conversation, somewhere along the line the subject of cricket engulfs the conversation. It brings a sense of unity. The recent performance of the West Indian cricket team, however, has reopened conversations among past and present cricket greats and other interested parties. Many criticising, some declaring that the team is not good enough, others pointing fingers at the administration.

First, instead of pointing fingers, everyone needs to come together and rally around the West Indies cricket team.


Politics and Pride


The greater part of the struggle comes from the politicking and pride that exists among/within the players, administration and those within the CARICOM (Caribbean Community).

The current president may have good intentions. However, does he have the support from all angles to help bring the team to success.

Why are we continuing to compare our present generation of cricketers to the past greats? It is not fair to them.

Those responsible for their training and development are trying to make them into cricketers of the past and are missing out on the originality they can bring to the game. Michael Manley, Errol Barrow, Forbes Burnham, Eric Williams, each had a zeal and a vision for CARICOM - including cricket. They are no more, so even our present politicians should not try to compete with/be like them.

The politics, pride and ego we have allowed to consume West Indies cricket should never have happened.

Cricket is a game of strategy and therefore requires different ways of thinking to bring success. However, if many of the decision-makers involved hail from the University of the West Indies where they all think similarly, and their strategies aren't working, then we need to start looking for the better strategists from different areas who think outside the box.

Other nations such as Zimbabwe and Afghanistan have been rising and part of the reason is that they have used technology and social media to their advantage and have studied us. We have to get cracking at winning the hearts of the young people over to the game, since many of them are more versed on basketball and soccer. We have better talent than before, but God must be a part of the decision-making. Furthermore, coaches or selectors should not discriminate against any player when selecting teams.

We must honour God before and after a match.

A player should never feel insecure about their position when they have a bad season; as if they will be kicked off for having a bad period.

They should encourage suggestions about tactics and strategies without the fear of backlash. The batting line-up needs to be changed. It is too predictable.

The marketing department needs to get out there and get those within the high schools and even introduce and promote 'Kiddie Cricket' concept as Scotiabank did.

Payment of cricketers must be based on seniority and performance.

Selection of captains should go beyond performance and include leadership experience and the capacity to effectively motivate. Stop looking for foreign coaches and utilise the locals. Create and implement a 'Past and Present Mentorship Programme' within West Indies cricket, who will also assist players on a psychological level.

Selectors must be in tune with the vision, development and the season.

No player is above correction and they must adhere to a protocol that must be established and upheld.


What Players Should Know


Before they represent the West Indies, players should know that they are ambassadors for the region and be trained to function in that capacity. They must know that as a player, they must stick to what they are called to do - they should not get involved in managerial decision-making, nor do they have the authority to hit out at managers when decisions are made. They also need to understand that it is more than money and fame. They should never ever try to compete against each other, but compete together against the opponent. They are not playing for self, they are playing for a region.

Let us all make atonement and rally around the West Indies cricket team.

- Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.