The New Zealand whitewash

What the people say
By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
January 17, 2000

The recent whitewash the West Indies received at the hands of the New Zealand Cricket team was the second in recent years under the captaincy of Brian Lara. The first being at the hands of the South Africans in the Test series. We asked the man/woman in the street what they felt was the reason behind our losses. Their views follow:

Raymond Alli - businessman: `Lara should have never been made the captain. At least not at the time the selectors gave it to him on a silver platter. Lara is an arrogant spoilt brat. (Carl) Hooper should have been the man to take over the captaincy or (Courtney) Walsh should have continued. Instead the selectors fell for Lara's charms with which he won them over after having undermined Walsh's captaincy. All that Lara now gets is a double dose of what he caused the team under Walsh. I am not saying that Hooper is the best player but he is more disciplined than Lara. He has more experience in the game than Lara and as an all-rounder also had more knowledge of the game on the field of play. Lara is a lousy captain and too selfish and this is our downfall. He is not consistent and moves his players up and down the order. (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul is one such example. He has him like a yo-yo and he tries to use him to cover up for his own mistakes. He cannot continue to lead the West Indies side.'

Osmond Haynes - private sector employee: `I think it is a lack of dedication by the entire team. I personally would not blame Lara though there may be some fault in his captaincy. I think that this present team is not playing enough competitive cricket and because of this they are not in form. Whatever the problem I do not think that Lara should be relieved of the captaincy. There is no one else to replace him at present.'

Andre Legall - cricketer: `The selectors are picking the right team but the players, particularly the batsmen, are not applying themselves. I think the main problem is that the selectors got rid of talented men at their peak and who had more to give - men like Desmond Haynes, Richie Richardson, Gordon Greenidge and others who never had the chance to pass on their skills to younger players coming onto the scene. The only batsman demonstrating patience at this point in time is Adrian Griffith. Brian Lara as captain is not impressive. He is a poor tactician especially in the fielding. He ought to do his homework off the field and not when he gets on the field. No one can blame the coaches and the manager. Reon King right now is the best bowler. He should be used in the opening in the one-day matches. Lara should not look to try to kill Walsh. Walsh should come on as a first relief bowler as he is experienced and knows to bowl the old and new ball.'

Seedat Budhu - self-employed: `Two whitewashes. By now Lara should have resigned as captain. If he cannot resign then the selectors should remove him. Something is wrong with the captaincy. I don't blame the players. I think that the problem has to do with Lara's relationship with his team. I do not think it is a good one and instead of motivating his team he is demotivating them. Jimmy Adams should be given the chance to captain the side. I think that while he may not be the classiest of players he has a good brain. Lara might be committed to West Indies cricket like he says but he is not committed to the team and it is showing through. I think he will do better as a player. Carl Hooper was by-passed when he should have been given the chance in favour of the flamboyant Lara and we are now seeing the results.'

Steve West - public sector employee: `The two whitewashes under Lara is due to a lack of leadership. The selectors should have never dropped Courtney Walsh when they did. Lara should have continued playing under Walsh as vice captain but instead he undermined Walsh's captaincy. Lara's strategies are not healthy. In the first test against New Zealand he let a good first innings and opening partnership stand go to nothing. Any good captain would have built up on the opening partnership and go on the attack instead of on the ofensive. As Lara is rated the world's best batsman he should do what he is best at. The West Indies selectors should relieve him of the captaincy as they (the Indians) did with Sachin Tendulkar. Give back Walsh the captaincy until he retires and keep on moving the players around until they catch their form.'

Basil Raghubir - private sector employee: `The captaincy is bad. There is no doubt about it. Lara in the first place I thought was too arrogant for the job but the selectors thought better. This is the result we are now seeing. At this point in time things could not get worse, it could only get better so that what we now have to do is to work with the team we have and continue to build on it. I think that because Walsh and Curtly Ambrose stayed on the team for as long as they have done ... has done our bowlers well and that is why the ones who could now effectively replace them are showing what they can do. Lara should step down as captain but continue to play as did Walsh. Who to replace him I do not know. Hooper is not around, probably Jimmy Adams.'

Gregory Robinson - public sector employee: `West Indies cricket right now is under tremendous pressure. This includes the administrators and the players. I really cannot say what is the problem because I think that Lara is a terrific captain. Even though I was made to understand that he does not `lime' with his fellow players and his relationship with them may not be so cosy still he should not be blamed for the West Indies losses. I think that the players are not giving him the support and he needs it. Because of this I think he should voluntarily step down until he is ready to take back the captaincy. Who to replace him? I don't know. The only other person would have been Carl Hooper who as an all rounder would have been the better choice.'

Lynette - housewife: `With the team being led by Lara, the world record holder in batting, we should not be losing we should be revelling in wins. But this is not the case. Lara I think is partly responsible for our losses. Something has to be done to right the wrong. The CARICOM Heads of Government should take note of what is happening. The losses are hurting West Indian people badly. We should try to get Hooper back. He was the man for the job not Lara but people only saw Lara's batting. They did not see his arrogance. The man who was overlooked was Carl Hooper and we are paying for it right now. Hooper as an all-rounder would have had a better grasp of the situation. Lara is only a batsman.'

Wayne Success - private sector employee: `I feel that Lara cannot talk properly to his men and because he does not have that respect for them the response on the field is what he gets. It is something more psychological than physical. Lara does not have the ability to motivate his team on the field. We see this many times. His strategies are confusing to his players as well as to the viewing public. He removes Reon King from bowling when he is at his best breaking his rhythm. Why take him off? Then he puts a man who is accustomed to playing in the slips at silly mid-on. We got to have specialist fielders as well. I think the selectors should give somebody else the captaincy at least for a series and see what could be done and take it from there. Lara never had the experience as a vice-captain and then he was placed with the captaincy when he was not ready for it. Many said so at the time and many are still saying the same. He has not proved himself to his critics. If Hooper was around he would have been the best person. I think we have to start lobbying for him to return. It was the West Indies Board that caused Hooper to leave. Imagine giving Jimmy Adams to captain the side when the team played Australia in Guyana. That was eye-pass. Somebody from the West Indies I am sure could talk to Hooper and persuade him to come back.'

Parsram Singh - private sector employee: `We have no players playing in any special position. There is no consistency in the batting order and this is one of our downfalls. Take for instance, at one time Lara would put Chanderpaul to open. At another time he puts him to play at number three, then at four then at five. If you look at the other tests or one-day teams. You know immediately who will be playing at what position. We are still trying to find an opening pair. We have bowlers being placed high up in the order. Our team is so ad hoc no wonder even New Zealand has given us a perfect whitewash after South Africa. Lara is not a good captain. I have no doubt about that statement. Somebody else has to be found.'

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples