EDITORIAL – Cricket and education
Cricket, today is viewed as a business. It is run as such with marketing managers, commercial managers, cricket managers and a chief executive or general manager. It is worth noting that not too long ago Sussex county advertised for a director of marketing and did not even think it necessary to insist on applicants having an interest in cricket. A mere knowledge of the game was thought to be helpful.Clearly the fact that the county, in considering an interest in cricket as a non-essential, was signalling to all that in its view the new director would not be marketing cricket but rather a product. Hence his qualification and experience as a marketer is of greater paramouncy in today’s world.If we accept this notion then one can well understand why Sir Hilary Beckles finds Tony Cozier’s views on the raison d’etre for Combined Campuses and Colleges existence within West Indies cricket firmament to be clothed in negativity.A few years ago the then president of West Indies cricket, Pat Rousseau made mention of the worrisome weakness in numeracy and literacy found among West Indies players and aspirants to the senior cricket team. He was silenced by scowls of derision and his comments, though unquestionably correct, deemed out of order, unsympathetic and smacking of elitism.For the better part of 15 years, West Indies cricket has floundered at the bottom of the ratings in every form of the game.Few have ventured to put the cold facts on the table that no longer are our best athletes coming from our schools of academic excellence, that the hunger for upward mobility is no longer a prime objective since this is now measured by pocketbook size rather than their attainment of knowledge and certification.A close look at our team’s performance in Test and other forms of the game discloses an acute inability to conjure up the discipline, consistency, commitment, importance of fitness and the ability to undertake the routine of situational analysis more frequently required in world cricket.Cricket is known for its “glorious uncertainties”, but our senior team has taken this to an extended limit by snatching defeat from the jaws of almost certain victory with undignified regularity. A review of the game and the causes of the humiliating outcomes have shown us to be lacking in fortitude, concern about national pride and a burning desire for success.Far from querying the prudence of the migration of Combined Schools and Colleges, firstly into BCA senior cricket competitions and latterly to West indies domestic competitions, our efforts should be spent in bringing the skills of our players to a level which enables them to compete with other nations both on the field of play and in fashioning plans and strategic thinking as basic attributes of today’s game.It must now be clear that fat purses alone will never be the panacea for success.