Looking for solutions to WI woes
By Andi Thornhill | Wed, May 23, 2012 - 12:00 AM
ONE OF my major peeves about West Indies cricket is that there is too much emphasis on what the problem is, who may have contributed but very little pragmatic action in finding solutions.
And in true political style, those involved in the blame game have all had their chance to make a difference and didn’t.
It makes you wonder what they were doing during the time they were on the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Have they suddenly become wiser with hindsight or like the average person who watches from beyond the boundary, they see the full field and not just part of it?
The masses who still support West Indies cricket aren’t blind to the grandstanding by some who couch their language in such a way to sound impressive. At the end of the day, the attempt to intellectualize our troubles and, presumably, the way forward, will not work because it is only pragmatic models that will alleviate the problems in the short to medium term and, hopefully, solve them in the long term.
Realistically, I don’t think the average, contemporary West Indies player has total loyalty to the cause simply because they have studied how the legends have been treated and are determined not to walk the same path.
Despite the fact that scheduling of the Indian Premier League might continue to rob the West Indies of some of its leading cricketers for some Test series, it is still an eye-opener that mystery spinner Sunil Narine chose to play there rather than make himself available for selection for the recent series against Australia and the current one against England.
It is a clear case of economics, and it may have been a no-brainer that he chose big IPL bucks over representing his region at this time.
I have heard a couple of the present generation refer to the positive impact that the documentary, Fire In Babylon, had on their approach to the game since viewing it.
On the other hand, they may have also juxtaposed how poorly some of these same genuine servants of West Indies cricket were treated by the boards of the day especially once it was clear that they were approaching the end of their careers.
And what are the tangible signs from their current employers that they won’t be treated in the same fashion even while still at the peak of their game? What are the factors to indicate that the board’s human resources policies will create a pleasant and comfortable environment for those who desire to function as true professionals?
To start with, where is the respect for the board when they have lost every matter that went to abitration with the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA)?
What image did they create of themselves in the now resolved issue with Chris Gayle?
Were they responsible for the mess in getting visas for Assad Fudadin and Narsingh Deonarine for the England tour?
What message is coach Ottis Gibson sending to his players when he continues to call them out in public?
Lest we forget, it was his public tongue-lashing of the senior players after last year’s World Cup that sparked angry responses from Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Let’s keep it real. These are some of the critical elements we need to focus on if we want to influence today’s players to be the best they can be.
A new day calls for new styles of management and we continue to miss the point. The social and historical climate is vastly different today from what it was in the past when the legends performed. We need people who can communicate effectively with this generation.
It goes without saying that the players need to work a lot harder at their game too, judging from the poor performances that have become the norm in regional competition. A professional league could be one of the answers to this.
And who, by the way, continues to be major sponsors of our senior team? Corporate entities from beyond our shores! Aren’t there regional big businesses that have what it takes to perform a similar role or help to create the professional league?
Time for talk is over. Let’s get to the nitty gritty issues which some may overlook but might very well hold the right answers for the strong and sustained revival of West Indies cricket.
• Andi Thornhill is an award-winning freelance sports journalist.
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