Findlay reflects on six years of selecting West Indies teams Across the Board - from the West Indies Cricket Board
Stabroek News
June 9, 2002

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At its annual general meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, on May 25 and 26, the West Indies Cricket Board named Sir Vivian Richards the new chairman of its selection committee bringing an end to the reign of Mike Findlay.

The WICB thanks Mike for his service as a West Indies selector and we bring an edited version of Findlay's statement to the Press that reflects on his six years as a member of the West Indies selection panel.

"As I end my term as Chairman of the West Indies Cricket Board's selection committee, I am delighted by West Indies' 2-1 victory over India in the 2002 Cable & Wireless Test Series.

Most of all, I am encouraged by indications that many of the young talented cricketers in whom we have invested are beginning to show signs that indicate that they will emerge as the core unit of the revival of an exciting and bright future for West Indies cricket.

The past six years has been a very difficult period for West Indies Cricket because the game in the region has been in transition. It has been a period when combinations of young, inexperienced, but talented cricketers, and accomplished aging icons have struggled with mixed fortunes to rediscover the quality and glory that made West Indies the dominant side in world cricket in the 1970s and 1980s.

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. West Indies Cricket represents the most important factor, possibly the only semblance of West Indian nationhood and unity in a Caribbean region so bitterly divided by a culture of intense insularity.

The selectors were, therefore, faced with a most challenging task - rebuild with an eye to the continuing long-term development of the West Indies team and, at the same time ensure that the team remains competitive at the international level.

To achieve this, the selectors with whom I have worked over the years have followed a policy of blending youth with experience. In the process, we have brought to the fore some of the brightest prospects in the region.

To date, many have not realised the full potential of their natural talents. But this is mainly because we are still in the process of putting in place the type of comprehensive Cricket Development Programme that is so absolutely necessary.

This will help to harness and mould the players' natural talents and physical skills, to hone their mental competence, and to transform them into hard core professional cricketers capable of sustaining a consistently high level of performance in international cricket. Nor are the problems facing our cricket confined to the area of play. In the words of C.L.R. James, it goes "beyond the boundary". It is unfortunately linked to the declining social fabric of our Caribbean societies.

Despite these problems, 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 a number of things:

- the amount of thought and forward planning that is injected into the development process,

- the intensity with which the development programme is implemented in every member territory of the WICB,

- the hard work and commitment of all our cricket administrators, coaches and 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.

Given the transitional state of our cricket during the past four to six years, it is difficult to measure the success of the period. There have been dismal defeats and outstanding victories leaving a trail of results likened unto a roller coaster - full of highs and lows. The impact on West Indies Cricket of some of our selections will not be immediately visible. Only time will determine this.

Now I undertake a new assignment as Chairman of the WICB's Cricket Committee. I thank the directors of the WICB for the confidence they have placed in me and I pledge to continue to work to the best of my ability in the interest of the continuing development of West Indies Cricket.

To my successor Sir Vivian Richards and his new panel, consisting of Gordon Greenidge and Joey Carew, every success and my sincere appreciation to all the selectors, West Indies coaches and captains with whom I have worked. I have enjoyed it all and I thank them for their support and fine personal relationships we have developed.

I am grateful to the players for the great respect they showed me and wish them all the very best in their careers and their lives generally. I wish to remind them of the value of hard work and commitment in whatever they do.

A special thanks to the management and staff of all the hotels that have been a home away from home these past six years, as well as to all the crews of LIAT and BWIA, who have flown me regularly and safely for thousands of miles throughout the Caribbean.

I have made many new friends throughout the region. They have been most supportive. Thanks from the bottom of my heart. These friendships surpass the time I have spent as a West Indies cricket selector.

Finally, my wife, Jean, and our little daughter, Nsala, have been very supportive of me and I owe them a special debt of gratitude for all the time I have spent away from them and devoted to West Indies Cricket.