Hobart - The sad state
of West Indies cricket will come into sharp focus this week when some of their
best players take part in an Australian Twenty20 tournament - just days after
sitting out the latest embarrassing Test defeat.
Chris Gayle, Dwayne
Bravo and Darren Sammy will all show their talents in the Big Bash League,
after they were notable absentees in the West Indies' innings and 212 runs Test
loss to Australia in Hobart.
A stand-off with
administrators, complete with a players' strike and the coach's suspension, is
at the heart of what has been a dizzying descent for the former "Calypso
The West Indies have
been stuck in the mire since Australia's watershed series win at Jamaica's
Sabina Park in 1995.
In 197 subsequent
Tests, they have won just 42 - 21 percent - and are above only Bangladesh and
Zimbabwe on the Test rankings.
For those with
memories of the grander times of Garfield Sobers, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and
Brian Lara there is a hollow feeling watching the current crop.
So how did it come to
this? How could the West Indies have become the easybeats of world cricket
after producing so many dynamic and inspirational characters?
Fazeer Mohammed has
been broadcasting on West Indies cricket for 23 years, and is in Australia
witnessing yet another dispiriting chapter in their history.
cricket has been in this situation for almost two decades so it's more of a
systemic issue that ties in all aspects of governance of the Caribbean game
from the boardroom to the field of play," Mohammed said.
commissioned by the WICB (West Indies Cricket Board) in the past eight years
have all recommended fundamental changes to the administrative structure yet
these recommendations have been ignored.
prime ministers are involved following the latest recommendation calling for
the immediate dissolution of the present administration and the setting up of
an interim management committee."
Last year the West
Indies players, disgruntled over terms of their contracts, and walked out of
their tour of India.
India's BCCI has
presented the cash-strapped WICB with a compensation claim for US$42 million,
covering the loss of media rights fees, sponsorships and ticket revenue.
Bravo, the captain and
players' spokesperson in India, and Kieron Pollard were dropped for the subsequent
ODIs in South Africa and this year's World Cup.
Bravo and Sammy are
now long-term absentees from the Test side, and Pollard is yet to make his Test
debut. Gayle blames chronic back problems for his reluctance to play the
Meanwhile coach Phil
Simmonds was suspended in September after criticising selection for the tour of
Sri Lanka, before being reinstated last month.
Trinidad and Tobago
board chief Suruj Ragoonath says the onus is on administrators to make sure
players prioritise playing for their country over lucrative Twenty20 cricket.
understand that the sport of cricket now is not what it used to be many years
ago," he said in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian last weekend.
"Therefore we at
the administrative level must find ways and means of dealing with the problem
of players choosing to play for club rather than country."
Lara, who scored 34
centuries in 131 Tests and ranks as one of cricket's greatest batsmen, also
faults the administration and says there has been a breakdown of trust between
the board and the players.
"I think it's bad
governance. I think the West Indies Cricket Board has faltered over the
years," said Lara, currently in Australia.
"We've had the
same sort of thinking from the 1970s right through until now. There's nothing
new going on in West Indies cricket, especially at administrative level.
"The guys don't
trust the board anymore."
The current West
Indies team has no shortage of greats mentoring them, from manager Richie
Richardson, travelling selector Courtney Walsh and bowling consultant Curtly
During the Hobart
debacle, Darren Bravo scored a century and opener Kraigg Brathwaite hit 94,
showing talent still exists, and Richardson has been trying to instil more
confidence in the largely inexperienced team.
"We have to back
ourselves and look to win. We have a young team we are moulding," said
Richardson, who amassed 16 centuries in 86 Tests before retiring in 1995.
Confidence will help,
but it looks likely to a long, tough tour for the West Indies, who will play
the second Test from December 26 in Melbourne - with the Big Bash still in full