Sunday, April 14, 2024

Rays of hope for WI cricket

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LAST YEAR was an excellent one for a number of West Indies cricketers.  Many of them earned substantial sums for their exploits, especially in the growing popular shorter form of the game.
But as a team, the West Indies had a disastrous year, with dismal performances on almost every occasion, regardless of the competition. And disappointed fans simply continued to hear the regular excuses.
This has become very disheartening for the people in the cricket playing nations of the Caribbean, where there is still a passion for this game. The pride and joy normally exhibited by Caribbean nationals worldwide when our cricketers excel simply could not be there. There was nothing for them to shout about.
Just a year earlier in 2012 we were holding out hope for great things to come – even a return to those glory days. West Indies had started to show that it was a Test team worthy of note and had won the World T20 competition, an increasingly important format of the game.
But things quickly returned to the ways of recent times, and last year our team failed to reached the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy and took a thrashing from India and New Zealand. 
Matters were made worse by reports of bitter disputes and dissent within the West Indies tour party. There has also been the spiralling list of key players out with injuries, adding to the misfortunes and headaches of the regional cricket team.
The misery continued with Shane Shillingford’s action, one more time, being called into question and deemed illegal.
The tours of India and New Zealand should be investigated as too many things seem to have gone wrong both on and off the field. This is not just a matter for the court of public opinion across the region, but for the leadership of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
The international cricket calendar is not going to make things any better for us. The schedule for the next two years places hectic demands on the team, requiring urgent attention to the timetabling of regional competitions, which will clash directly with many lucrative competitions, such as the various T20 leagues.
It is unlikely that players will turn their backs on these financial opportunities.
WICB president Dave Cameron and all those who run regional cricket must find solutions to the problems. It is important that the West Indies team be successful for the game to thrive in the region.
Barbados, we think, offers two rays of hope. The Barbados Cricket Association’s contractual arrangements with local cricketers is worthy of emulation across the region, while the High Performance Centre at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, with improved utilization, can help build a successful regional team.
Our illustrious cricket history and our pride deserve much better.

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