Lara quitting, Harper's elevation

What the people say
By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
February 28, 2000

Brian Lara has resigned as captain of the West Indies Cricket team three weeks before the upcoming test series against Zimbabwe at home and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has appointed former test player and coach of the West Indies 'A' team Roger Harper as coach of the senior team. What do you think of Lara's resignation? Who should replace him as captain? What do you think of Harper's appointment and Antiguans' reaction because former batting star and captain Sir Vivian Richards was not appointed. These were the questions we put to the man/woman-in the-street. Their views follow:

Debra Persaud - private sector employee/homemaker: `I agree with the WICB's appointment of Harper as coach for the team. He has the qualifications required by the board for the post. Harper is a good motivator. My husband and I are personally acquainted with him and we know that he has good leadership qualities. He is strict when he needs to be and that is the kind of guy the team needs now. While I admire Richards as a class batsman, he, unfortunately, did not meet the qualification requirements the WICB asked for. I am disappointed in the way the Antiguans have reacted to the appointment especially when the eyes of the cricketing world is on us. New Zealand, Australia, South Africa have all come to the top because they have taken cricket professionally and adapted to changes. Cricket is a professional game now and emotions should take second place. On the other hand Lara's resignation at this point in time is unfortunate, just days before the upcoming series with Zimbabwe. I think that Barbadian Sherwin Campbell should be appointed captain. He has a university degree and we need players with education coupled with the skill to lead the team.'

Clive Joseph - private sector employee: `I am disappointed that Lara has resigned. I really cannot blame him for the team's failure. A team is made up of 11 persons. Anyway, I think that Jimmy Adams should lead the side against Zimbabwe because he is one of the most senior players. He was fairly successful at Bourda when the team last played here against Australia. I am also disappointed that Viv Richards, the 'Master Blaster' was not appointed as coach. I think that Richards should have been tried because of his experience. He was the West Indies' most successful captain. He filled in the gap as coach when Marshall succumbed. Tell me [why] a man who has given so much to West Indian cricket does not qualify for the post. When he captained the side he was coach as well as captain. And I share the Antiguans' sentiments in protesting the decision.'

Ricardo Gonsalves - private sector employee: `Harper's appointment is one of the best decisions the WICB has made of late. His appointment is based on merit and not favouritism or sentimentality. The Antiguans' reaction to his appointment is totally wrong. Knowing the state of WI cricket right now the WICB would not do something to further hurt the sport in the region. Now is the time for rebuilding and Lara's resignation will be a boost as well. His resignation is the best thing to happen to West Indian cricket now. He should have resigned some time ago. I only hope that he continues as a player because he is one of the world's best batsmen and is the current record holder. He has much more to give to cricket and the cricketing world. Ridley Jacobs should replace him now. He has been the most consistent of players of late. Who else do we find with a permanent place in the team? [Courtney] Walsh is only playing to break Kapil Dev's record and just now he will be gone.'

Trevor Stoby - private sector employee: `I think Harper is a very good choice to do the job. Even though he was overlooked for the team in spite of his performance he had the foresight to see that the West Indies team would need someone qualified to bring back the ship on an even keel and he has so qualified himself at the academic and theoretical levels to now do the job as coach. As for the Antiguans, their behaviour is totally uncalled for. Lara, too, I think took the right decision in stepping down and I think he will contribute to a resurgence of the team's performance by concentrating on his batting. He is my favourite batsman. Because it is just three more weeks to the Zimbabweans' arrival for the upcoming test I think that Walsh should be given the honour to lead the team while he attempts to break Kapil Dev's record. Ridley Jacobs should be appointed vice captain and be groomed to take over.'

Rakesh Singh - self-employed: `I am happy that he has resigned because the team was not showing any progress under him. I do not think that he honestly had the support of his team members. I think the most successful captain in the current Busta Cup competition should be given the chance to lead the team. This may go to Jimmy Adams who is now captaining the Jamaican side or Ridley Jacobs who has been captaining the Leewards side. [Shivnarine] Chanderpaul is my favourite cricketer and he has the potential so he must be groomed for the task as well. Because of pettiness on the part of the WICB and their selectors we lost Carl Hooper, who in the first place should have been given the captaincy instead of Lara. The WICB now needs to get back Hooper on the team and ask [him] to captain the side. The Antiguans do not know better so their behaviour must be excused.'

John Marshall - manager: `Personally I think that he [Lara] should have stepped down ever since in the same manner and for the same reason as that of Sachin Tendulkar. I think it will help his performance and the team will be better off with him as the world's best batsman. Walsh was doing a good job as captain and I do not know why they removed him but I think that he should be made to captain the side against Zimbabwe. In the meantime the WICB should make genuine efforts to get back Carl Hooper and offer him the post to captain the side. Hooper is still playing cricket. Adams or Jacobs should then be made to understudy Hooper while keeping the issue of succession in mind. Richards and the people of Antigua knew that when the former WI captain filled in the breach for Marshall who took ill during the World Cup and subsequently died that it was only a temporary arrangement. Harper has been called because of his experience and certified qualifications. He is an all-rounder and cannot be faulted. As to the behaviour of the Antiguans, it is not good for regional cricket. Whoever is appointed should be given the chance and if he cannot prove his worth then he either resign or be removed as is the case with Lara.'

Mohamed Rasheed - self-employed: `Lara's resignation is a good move. The pressures of captaincy were telling on his performance as the world's best batsman. I think he can now concentrate on his batting. However, we now need a good captain and even though he is not here I still think the best person to captain the side is Carl Hooper. In the meantime put back Walsh to captain the side. He has the experience. The WICB should approach Hooper formally. I am not happy about the Antiguans' behaviour. I think they are too self-centred.'

Wayne De Cambra - cricket fan: `Lara should have stepped down ever since and given someone else a chance. The WICB should try Ridley Jacobs now as captain. Jimmy Adams is not making runs right now and he is struggling to remain in the side so he should not be considered for captaincy. I think Harper as coach is the right man to stabilise the team. He is a disciplinarian and we can depend on him. I think that Lara has stepped down not because he wants to concentrate on batting. His resignation coincides with Harper's appointment. As far as I am concerned the Antiguans can 'lick down and bruk up' but Harper is the right man for the job. Richards might have been one of the best but he is not certified for the job. In addition, too, his attitude was also not the best for motivation.'

Terry Persaud - private sector employee: `Lara made a good move in resigning. I think he must concentrate more on his batting. If only to be given an honour I think that Walsh should be given the captaincy at a time when he is also on the verge of breaking Kapil Dev's record. He should do it as captain and player. Jimmy Adams should then take over. Harper's appointment is another good thing to happen to West Indies cricket right now. He should have been appointed a long time ago. The Antiguans I think are totally out of order and instead of behaving in the way they do should cooperate and support the WICB.'

Carl Sandiford - private sector employee: `In the interest of the team and West Indian cricket I think Lara has taken a good step in tendering his resignation. He should now concentrate on his batting which had become inconsistent for a batsman of his calibre over a number of Test and One Day matches. In the interim the only person to replace him is Walsh. The only other solid person on the team who could understudy him is Chanderpaul. The others cannot cement their place in the side. What the WICB did in appointing Harper as coach should have been done ever since. Harper is qualified for the job. He knew the day was coming when the WI team would need someone armed with the knowledge and skills to coach the game scientifically. We must get back to the standard to match the top cricketing nations now. The Antiguans' attitude to Harper's appointment is sad. The game played in Richards era is gone.'