Laurie Foster | Strong action needed to save WI cricket
After a lacklustre display staged by the West Indies cricket team at the just-completed ICC Cricket World Cup, the newly minted executive body of Cricket West Indies should now be at odds with itself, its thoughts focused on what is its next move.
Even the most committed supporter should, by now, come to the realisation that the once highly celebrated side is now unable to achieve the consistency for which it was renowned in former times.
This assessment might sound harsh, but what else would be appropriate to describe a team which was thrust into battle hopelessly short of the quality of preparation, which should be mandated for the assignment at hand? Added to that was the feeling that the mantra of ‘horses for courses’ was not observed. Having made that observation, it should be said that the pool from which our players are selected needs some critical scrutiny.
If it were argued that many of the players who made the trek to England were more attuned to the T20 version, who could successfully dispute that? That said, it seems as though any corrective measures should be focused in the direction of proper team construction. The way out of this dilemma seems clear. If the Windies are to be expected to perform in all formats, adequate preparation should be practised accordingly. There can be little hope in achieving proper development if the stage is not set to promote and sustain the skills that cover the format for which a player is selected.
Foster’s Fairplay is of the view that, as an initial move, there should be restrictions on a player participating in a competition that does not provide proper preparation for his immediate assignment. In the current climate of paucity of funds, a player should not be prevented from earning in other domestic leagues. What would appear to have happened in England was that the team selected was more mentally prepared for the T20 format than the required 50 overs-a-side approach. It is simply a matter of being acclimatised and ready to defend the image that has been set by the greats of a former era.
The current West Indies players, although very talented, are, for the most part, young and inexperienced. The team’s poor performances in recent times do not allow for the five Test tours that were once the norm. The more their relevance is threatened, that situation is likely to be worsened. In that regard, the hierarchy will just have to bite the bullet and afford the team the proper orientation to address their immediate needs. It will do no good to continue on the current path, which appears to be leading to further destruction of the rich tradition that once was.
West Indies cricket should not be allowed to wither and die. This is where it seems to be heading, and it will take strong action and hard-line decision-making if a new day is expected to dawn for the game in the region.
All this will not happen only because it is the right thing to do. There is a new regime in place and if their words are to carry meaning, it is in its best interests to make them count. Let Ricky Skerritt and his team understand that they have been given the reins by a democratic process which is not sleeping. They will be watched with the keen and probing eye his campaign suggested would be trained on the game in this region.
Best of luck, sir, as you will need every last gram of it.
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