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CARIBBEAN - WI cricket needs radical change

Wednesday 31, March-2004

MUCH HAS been said about West Indies cricket over the last few weeks. Some have called for heads to roll while others preferred to see changes to the team. There is a recognition that all is not well and that business can no longer be as usual.

West Indies were the kings of cricket for the better part of two decades and whilst one would admit that the team was then studded with stars, they did not start as such but achieved that level of excellence driven no doubt by the ignominy of the merciless 5-1 Australian drubbing in 1975. Next came business tycoon Kerry Packer, who, hard-nosed as he was, demanded of West Indies a standard of excellence commensurate with the very generous pay offered. They delivered! Why don’t they today?

We say this since some may be unaware that our players are among the better paid international cricketers. And so, notwithstanding the financial constraints facing WICB coupled with the absence of a professional league, there is sufficient financial inducement for high levels of productivity.

Today, Dennis Waight is trainer to the Pakistan side and is responsible for Inzamam-al-Huq shedding some 25 pounds, which has led to his rejuvenated high class performances. WICB parted company with Waight. “He was working the guys too hard.”

Anyone able to chronicle the less than respectful exchanges between players and management would come to the inescapable conclusion that there is need to restructure West Indies cricket.

WICB Inc., needs to assume a business ethos where results (both financial and performance) matter. The coach needs empowering as does the manager. When players know they cannot be hired or fired by current management, they have little motivation to see defeat as a national disaster or to ponder the wages of indifference.

Like Caricom which holds more meetings than any other economic/political grouping and conjures up teethless decisions, the players probably see management similarly.

WICB needs to divorce the business side of its operations from its regulatory functions. Those whose business it is to woo sponsors, secure meaningful contracts and court advertisers should not have to consult with or depend on decisions of those whose major concerns restrict them to thinking ‘within the box’.

Heartening as it is to hear President Teddy Griffith calling on Vice President Val Banks to hand in by April 23, a report on the management menu required, and we commend him on this initiative, it is certain that that report, given the time allotted, can hardly be more than a chapter of a strategic plan.

Urgently needed is a thorough analysis of what must be done if the West Indies are to resume a position of dominance in world cricket. But who is going to spearhead revolutionary change?

Regional governments have to endorse the fundamental principle that cricket is of utmost importance to West Indian people. Hence it should be sacrilege not to make suitable provision in their annual budgets.

Compliments of the Nation News


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