Findlay confident Caribbean cricket will rise again By Ezra Stuart
Guyana Chronicle
June 5, 2002

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad - Acknowledging the past six years have been difficult times - “full of highs and lows” -- outgoing chairman of the West Indies’ selection panel Mike Findlay says he is confident Caribbean cricket will rise again.

In a press statement issued here last weekend, Vincentian Findlay, who served as a selector during this period and as the chief honcho for the last four years, said that because of the “transitional state of our cricket during the past four to six years, it is difficult to measure the success of the period.”

“It has been a period when combinations of young, inexperienced but talented cricketers, and accomplished ageing icons have struggled with mixed fortunes to rediscover the quality and glory that made West Indies the dominant nation of World cricket in the 1970s/1980s, and to restore the dignity so proudly enjoyed by every West Indian during that era,” Findlay said.

“It became vitally important to rebuild the flagging fortunes of West Indies cricket, as well as to restore public confidence and faith in the sport which represents the most important factor, possibly the semblance of West Indian nationhood and unity in a Caribbean region so bitterly divided by a culture of intense insularity,” Findlay wrote in three-page statement.

He said the selectors were faced with the challenging task of rebuilding “with an eye to the continuing long-term development of the West Indies team, and at the same time, ensure that the team competes successfully at the international level.”

“There have been dismal defeats and outstanding victories leaving a trail of results likened to a roller coaster ride - full of highs and lows,” said Findlay, a former Test wicketkeeper.

But he boldly declared that despite the many problems facing cricket in the Caribbean, “I have every confidence that West Indies cricket will once again, like the legendary phoenix, ‘set fire to itself and rise anew from its ashes’.”

“The length of time it takes for the revival of West Indies cricket will depend on the amount of thought and forward planning that is injected into the development process,” Findlay remarked.

According to Findlay, there are several other factors, which could assist in the resuscitation of Caribbean cricket.

“The intensity with which the development programme is implemented in every member territory of the West Indies Cricket Board; the hard work and commitment of all cricket administrators, coaches, cricketers at every level and in every corner of the region, the assistance of all the stakeholders in West Indies cricket and most importantly the support, patience and understanding by all of us who love the game so dearly,” Findlay declared.

He further said, “the impact on West Indies cricket of some of our selection decisions will not be immediately visible”, noting only time will determine this.

Listing 32 players who have represented the West Indies at different levels during his stint as selector, Findlay admitted “they have not all realised the full potential of their natural talents.”

He said this is mainly because “we are still in the process of putting in place the type of comprehensive Cricket Development Programme.”

Findlay reckoned that such a programme is “absolutely necessary to harness and mould the players’ natural talents and physical skills, to hone mental competence and to transform them into hard core professional cricketers capable of sustaining a consistently high level of performance in international cricket.”

The former selection chief made it clear that the problems facing West Indies cricket “is not confined to the area of play” and goes “beyond the boundary”.

“It is unfortunately linked to the declining social fabric of our Caribbean societies,” Findlay declared.

Findlay, who has been shifted to the chairmanship of the WICB’s Cricket Committee, thanked the Board (members) for the confidence they placed in him and pledged to continue to work to the best of his ability in the continuing development of West Indies cricket.