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BARBADOS - It's Time For Sir Garfield Sobers

Wednesday 24, March-2004

WEST INDIES CRICKET has not had leaner days. After that 5-1 drubbing by Australia in 1975 and our exposure to ‘Packerism’, the Caribbean nation blindly believed that our team would never again know what it was to lose.

When one reflects on our teams of the 80’s and early 90’s; their professionalism, fitness and excellence, it becomes a bitter pill to swallow, not only the fact of defeat but also the absence of fight and determination, which hitherto had extracted every ounce of energy from our opponents.

It is incomprehensible that a region which boasts of so many outstanding records, could find itself languishing with two of the minions of international cricket, at the bottom of the ratings. How can we explain this is the region which gave us Sir Everton Weekes and his five consecutive Test centuries as well as one of the better opening partnerships known to Test cricket – Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge?

As though not to be ever undone, we claimed as a son of West Indian soil, the holder of the highest Test score, not once but twice in the persons of Brian Lara and Garfield Sobers (now Sir Garfield). What has contributed to our fall from glory? How much longer will it last? What can the West Indies Cricket Board do to restore what for us was equilibrium?

The severity of our disappointment and frustration has been matched by our criticism and every suggestion. To date we don’t seem to have struck the right chord. We continue our efforts but largely in vain.

Are we bent on proving the old adage that a prophet is not accepted in his own country? History has shown that the success of some of the stars of other competing countries has been attributed to past West Indies cricketers. Quite often we hear of a promising star, in our own firmament, attributing his recent success to the “greatest cricketer the world has ever seen”.

On this occasion we do not care to debate the usefulness or performance of current management. Statistics usually tell a good tale. What we do know is that basketball, baseball, ice hockey and soccer carry, with much success, a management structure which puts one individual in charge of the selection and performance of his team.

In those sports the “head coach” is accountable for the performance of his team but he is also given the right of final selection. Of course his contract is based on performance-related pay. Don’t we think it’s time we tried this method in our cricket?

Today in business worldwide, companies are retooling, restructuring, downsizing and, in a general sense, working smarter. We are asking WICB to take fresh guard and, as in that Test Match in England, under the late Sir Frank Worrell’s captaincy, when he was allowed to open the bowling ahead of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith, to give Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers his way yet again, and let him be the “El Supremo” of West Indies Cricket.

Compliments of the Nation News


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