Prima donnas must go

Barbados Nation
September 9, 2000

WHENEVER Sir Vivian Richards speaks on cricket, everyone listens. As a former no-nonsense West Indies captain, Sir Vivian commands a level of respect that his outstanding record has earned him.

Throughout his illustrious career, the batting maestro never lost a series against the old opponents, England. Therefore, when this week Jimmy Adams’ men embarrassingly surrendered the Wisden Trophy for the first time in 31 years, he would have been hurt, to say the least.

It prompted a strong response from the Master Blaster.

There were “a lot of prima donnas in the West Indies team”, he charged, who were more concerned with style than substance, more attracted by what he termed “designer stuff” than the cricket. They have to be weeded out, he recommended.

Sir Vivian, himself, was never short on style. There was always a touch of arrogance in the way he did things, but once he was wearing that maroon cap, he knew what was required and it was reflected in his prolific scoring and his inspiring leadership.

West Indian cricket fans did not require an icon like Sir Vivian to point out to us the type of slackness that has been prevalent in West Indies cricket for some time.

They discern it when they see some of the players. Some party all night long ’til 4 a.m. Some go off to practice sessions as if they were Sunday afternoon fete matches. Designer sun-glasses, girl-watching and parties take priority for some players.

It must shock the likes of Sir Vivian because in his era, the players who were also capable of a hearty party, knew what their task was and the level of responsibility needed to get the job done.

He wants to see the backs of these players. A message must be sent to the players that they shape up or they are shipped out. We must agree with him.

West Indies manager Ricky Skerritt recognises the problem within the current side. After last Monday’s defeat, he acknowledged a lack of professionalism, principally because there are very few full-time professional players in the Caribbean and in this side.

As manager, however, one of Skeritt’s duties should be to instil the type of discipline that is necessary to cope with the demands of international cricket. In other words, management must be stronger.

Previous managers and coaches have also spoken of similar problems and one wonders why so many players have been allowed to repeatedly get away with indifferent attitudes.

How many more managers beside Wes Hall and Clive Lloyd and coaches like Malcolm Marshall must complain before something is done to rid our team of people whose conduct runs counter to top level professional achievement on the cricket field?

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