Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Laurie Foster | Windies test cricket needs greater effort

Published:Wednesday | January 16, 2019 | 12:00 AM
West Indies captain Jason Holder (third left) celebrates the dismissal of India's Ajinkya Rahane during the third day of the second cricket test match between India and West Indies in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018.

With all the battering it has taken from limited-overs cricket, the Test version is still dear to the heart of Foster's Fairplay. In a matter of days, the West Indies will be hosting England in a series consisting of three Test matches. Is it asking too much of the powers that grind the mills of the regional game that the island team fields its best cricketers? West Indies are being humiliated by teams which, like them, occupy the lowest rungs of the world's cricketing ladder. There seems to be no quick solution to even right the sinking ship, let alone chart a course to more friendly waters. Some form of drastic action appears necessary if further deterioration is to be averted.

Many pundits seek to place the blame of the West Indies demise in the Test arena on the proliferation of the short versions. One should not write off this theory although it has not been fully assessed. There is no doubt that the coloured clothing, white-ball scenario is where the big money rests, and the emerging players seem to be looking primarily in that direction. It is where they are believed to be seeking their future. No one should blame them, as it is the way of the world.

Clearly, however, it is for Cricket West Indies (CWI) to lay down rules which can effectively restrict the players' trend towards what they see as more beneficial to them. It is not intended to deny them the rich rewards to be gained from the T-20 format, but as in most aspects of life, there should be balance. Cricket West Indies should engage itself in working out a formula where the players can enjoy the best of both worlds.




There is such an instrument as the No Objection Certificate, which gives the players the approval to display their skills elsewhere. Too often it is automatically given. The players should be asked to sign contracts which speak specifically to what the authorities will allow them as far as activities outside the purview of the CWI are concerned.

Of course, there is room for bartering as it exists in all properly conducted business negotiations. So as to put forward their best case, the players should have their representatives who are skilled in this type of activity. As a goodwill gesture, the cost of these experts can be shared by CWI and player. After all this, a certain amount of equity should result. To have the team being flogged from all sides, while at the same time hearing about exploits of other players in this or that franchise, should no longer be acceptable.

Foster's Fairplay sees the suggested course of action as a necessity going forward. It cannot be fair for the adoring public to continue to endure what now entails. As the fortunes of the regional team dwindles, so do the crowds who attend the matches. It cannot be a secret that the failing fortunes of the team contributes in a significant way to the difficulty of finding sponsors to keep the game afloat. Additionally, with more money coming in through this conduit, better pay packets should be on offer.

Foster's Fairplay does not wish to make the suggestion a mandatory call. Maybe the governing body has better ideas. They are nowhere to be seen in recent times. If they exist somewhere in the deep recesses of the mind, they need to be implemented in quick time. CWI needs to respect the efforts by former players who took the Test game along the pathways of excellence, producing performances which only now surface in our dreams.

Wake up, CWI, this dry rotting of the West Indies in the Test arena should no longer be allowed to obtain. At least, show that something remedial is being tried.

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