Cozier concerned over players’ discipline
Guyana Chronicle
August 13, 2002

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) - Leading regional cricket journalist Tony Cozier is concerned that the issue of team discipline has surfaced again with comments by Joel Garner, manager of West Indies A team on their summer tour of Britain and Canada.

Garner told reporters on his return Friday that the team's discipline was unacceptable and recommended that the selection policy be reviewed to look at more than just "runs and wickets".

Cozier, writing in his weekly column "Cozier on Cricket" in the Sunday Sun, described Garner's comments on the attitude of the players as "damning and distressing".

"It was, he told me, worse than he had experienced on his previous trips in charge of ‘A’ teams to Sri Lanka, South Africa and Bangladesh, and India," Cozier stated.

"These were honest observations from an outstanding player and administrator, with West Indian cricket close to his heart. They were disturbing since those under his care represent hopes for the future," he added.

Cozier believes attitude was reflected in the results as they struggled against weak counties in England and lost their one-day series to little-rated Canada.

"As far back as 1992, when he retired from Test cricket, the late Malcolm Marshall observed: "Everything seems to be going down the drain. There is no respect, no manners."

Cozier suggested the region is now paying the price for administrators' failure to address indiscipline, saying "individual member boards, not to mention the fans" have been protective of their "stars", overlooking one indiscretion after another.

"The selectors have repeatedly bowed to the pressure," he said.

"Brian Lara and Carl Hooper were both elevated to the captaincy in spite of lengthy, well-documented disciplinary records.

"When Michael Holding took his strong, principled stand against the latter's appointment, he was derided by those who couldn't understand why the issue was so important," Cozier wrote.

"Several others have been retained in the team with no more than slaps on the wrist for repeated indiscretions.

"Even a youngster like Runako Morton, a talented but temperamental player, found himself picked in the West Indies' senior team only five months after he was expelled from the Shell Cricket Academy last year on a disciplinary charge.

"These are signals to our young cricketers that indiscipline counts for nothing. It is no wonder it is perpetuated to the point where it is difficult to see how it can be checked," Cozier stated.