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West Indies ‘no world-beaters’


West Indies ‘no world-beaters’

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by Kenmore BynoeThe Caribbean is not producing cricketers who are capable of being world-beaters!  That is according to the CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board, Dr Ernest Hilaire.  Hilaire, speaking during a panel discussion held at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination, the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, on Tuesday night, said:  “We can win matches occasionally but not consistently with what  we have.”  The CEO added that fans who were saddened by the performance of the West Indies team would have to suffer for at least another three years until the work of the High Performance Level Centre – which opens shortly  at Cave Hill – began  to bear fruit. Pointing to insularity, while stating that the High Performance Centre should have been set up over ten years ago, Hilaire gave the sobering statistics that for the past nine years the West Indies tried 59 new players without any degree of success. “Our cricketers are products of the failure of our Caribbean society, where money and instant gratification are paramount,” he stated. Attendance at the panel discussion, Nationalism And The Future Of West Indies Cricket, perhaps hinted at indifference towards Caribbean cricket, with such a poor turnout that the organisers had to cancel four of the five buses that were intended to bring members of the audience to the campus.  The audience comprised mainly members of the Caribbean Studies Association  who were from  non-cricketing countries. At least one of those members gave a realistic analysis of the malady facing West Indies cricket as he indicated that his role was to help athletes advance to the National Football League in the United States which he facetiously termed  “not for long”.  “Professional athletes enter a sport to play  for a short period of time and their goal is to remain injury-free and to make  as much money  as quickly as possible,” that visitor stated. The discussion was moderated by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, and,  along with Hilaire, the panel comprised Rawle Brancker and head  of Cave Hill’s Department of Management, Dr Justin Robinson. Former West Indies player Carlisle  Best was a no-show. Brancker, who was chairman of the ICC World Cup 2007, suggested that the West Indies Cricket Board needed restructuring  as 18 directors could not be counted on to make timely decisions to the benefit of any company.However, Hilaire countered that West Indies cricket was suffering from greater fundamental problems than the management of the board.Hilaire explained that the Windies team was the least educated of all of the Test playing teams, and that while the other nations were already studying Jason Holder  of Barbados in anticipation of that speedster becoming a West Indies player soon, it was a challenge to get the current crop of players to even review tapes of the opposition that they were currently in battle with. In what could be a very damning rhetorical question the CEO asked, what was worse than the West Indies’ performance in the first two Twenty20s against South Africa? Hiliare asserted that we had degenerated to the extent to where we were not ranked in any areas  of cricket. Earlier, Sir Hilary, known for a long and deep passion for West Indies cricket, set the tone of the night by lamenting that it was very rare and almost phenomenal for a society to suffer the loss of excellence as West Indies cricket had done over the past 15 years. Stating that our cricket had moved from “awesomeness to awfulness”, Sir Hilary outlined that such things as the rise and fall of cultural excellence, the loss of technical skills, the educational backwardness of our players, the declining popularity of cricket in the Caribbean and the competition from other sports, plus the inadequate professional pool, where just 15 players on average make a living from cricket in the Caribbean, were some of the reasons posited for the poor performance of the West Indies.Robinson pointed out that success in team sports was very elusive and even a team like Manchester United had suffered a ten-year run without winning a title in spite of its ability to buy the best players.  Robinson warned that most professional sports promote the club model, where the players only occasionally return to a national team for particular key events. Citing the Indian Premier League (IPL), Robinson cautioned that he could foresee the IPL moving beyond the Twenty20 structure  where clubs would compete in four-day and even Test matches with little or no attachment  to national teams.