“We have to stop our players from being [too] money orientated.”
Clive Lloyd, one of international cricket’s most respected names, was reflecting on the challenges confronting the game in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
At the same time, the six-foot-plus bespectacled icon articulated a way forward, to end the prolonged drought.
The problem of money, greed and unsavoury practices in cricket are at the root of the Pakistani cricket scandal, which Lloyd feels must be tackled head on, even if it means banning the guilty players for at least 20 years.
“We have to stop this thing about money being the main part of our cricket,” he told NATION SPORT in a conversation in New York where he was honoured by a Richmond Hill community organisation in Queens and was hailed by some of New York state’s prominent elected officials as one of cricket’s most outstanding figures.
“I always thought that money was a subsidiary of success. Once we are doing well, money will follow,” was the way he put it.
“Our players first have to learn their skills, try to be the best [they] can and work as hard as possible to achieve success.”
In essence, outstanding performances come first, something that may be a missing element in West Indies cricket these days.
“If you do well today, money will come, there is no doubt about that,” said the 66-year-old. “Don’t let that [desire for money] become the be all and the end all of your life.”
It’s not that the former West Indies captain wants the cricketers to play for peanuts. What he was complaining about was their pre-occupation with money while seemingly downplaying the need for top performance.
“Some of the other countries seem to have gotten the equation right,” he said. “Their players seem to want to represent their countries at the highest level and they are doing the right thing.”
That may not be the case in the Caribbean at all times.
“We seem to be getting involved in all kinds of unsavoury things, like covering up signs, for instance,” Lloyd complained.
“We are at No. 8 in the world and we have been there for a long while. We have to concentrate on getting from the bottom by moving up the ladder, not focusing on how much money you are going to make.
“Once you do well, sponsors will come, but if you don’t, you will find it very difficult to get sponsors.”
But Lloyd was quick to say that it wasn’t simply the West Indies afflicted by the money syndrome.
“I think most cricket is affected by it,” he added.
A first step towards regaining international respectability was the infusion of professionalism in players’ approach to their livelihood, he said.
“Like most sports, cricket is played from the neck up,” he declared. “We have to move in line with that.”
Hence, the need for the region to be on top of any new developments, such as the review system. That would avoid any “willy-nilly” actions on the field.
“We need to have a more professional attitude to our cricket,” Lloyd said. “Every team should have a trainer, a qualified coach, and we have to start with our youngsters by inculcating all of the right things needed for top-class cricket.