Fri | Apr 19, 2019

Steve Lyston | New thinking for West Indies cricket

Published:Monday | April 15, 2019 | 12:08 AM

As the West Indies cricket team embarks on the journey with a new president, I say congratulations and all the best to Mr Ricky Skerritt. I also thank Mr Dave Cameron for his service to West Indies cricket over the years.

I encourage Mr Skerritt to ensure that he never loses the grace and favour God has given him to win the election. This is the year that many in leadership, at all levels, will know that it is the grace and favour of God that has allowed them to be in the capacity as leaders.

The first thing Mr Skerritt needs to do is have a time of atonement and thanksgiving, bring together all stakeholders who support West Indies cricket – past and present players and fans – to the table for a time of healing and reconciliation. This will repair the broken foundation so that new thinking and building can take place moving forward.

He needs to be like Nehemiah and seek God to reveal what management style or approach is needed to bring healing and success. He cannot be quick to do any major overhauling until he identifies which areas or walls are broken down.

He cannot be quick to uproot appointees/loyalists, he may shoot himself in the foot, so to speak. He has to remember that, just as it was with David in the Bible, Cameron’s enemies will be his enemies, too. David never embraced Saul’s enemies because once they betrayed Saul, they had the potential to betray him also. Those who voted did not necessarily see Mr Skerritt as the better man, but they wanted to do whatever it took to get rid of Cameron.

So I encourage Mr Skerritt to embrace the good things of Cameron and reject the bad. Remember, the players are not the visionaries, they play the matches. The team is bigger than a ‘star player’. He, as the president, has to have a vision.

A line has to be drawn with regard to function, and the players have to see the bigger picture and catch the vision; they must make sacrifices. Many of the players are selfish and are only focused on making money. Furthermore, the past players may have had great talent, but to run and expand West Indies cricket requires more than talent. Money makes the mare run, and it is going to take money to get things going the way they should.

NEW THINKING

In order to move ahead, Cricket West Indies (CWI) needs to revisit the current system. Oftentimes, we look at the man and neglect to look at the system.

We need to do fresh out-of-the-box recruitment drives in high schools and colleges/universities to find fresh new talent. The CWI needs to think more broadly and take a page out of the National Basketball Association’s book. They hunt for new players and they ensure that the hunt is exciting so it pulls the youth towards it. They attend the high-school and college games, and they offer scholarships. They need to apply technology to the mix.

Why isn’t there a cricket video game?

Why aren’t we hosting 20/20 cricket matches in the primary schools, high schools and colleges?

Give past players the benefit of duty-free concessions if they will coach high-school and college teams. Give an added bonus to them if they will go into community centres to expand the reach for new talent. Let us see if CARICOM truly cares about West Indies cricket.

DON’T MISS OPPORTUNITIES

The fact that not many youth today really care to spend the time to understand the game, means that there is an opportunity to teach a new generation this magnificent game. We are missing these opportunities.

Cricket is a game requiring mental exercise that teaches strategy and takes good analysis and research – it teaches how to make the right moves at the right time. So past tactics and strategies may not apply in this era, hence, we need to stop the nonsensical comparison of past and present players and strategies. Furthermore, we need to include mental evaluations of all players. The coach and the captain of the team have to be more than embodiment of talent. Each has to be able to motivate the players and get the best out of them.

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