“I would have walked to South Africa if I had been in a similar position, considering what went on and what changes came about.”
ALMOST four years after Brian Lara and Carl Hooper led a West Indies player revolt over fees for the historic tour of South Africa, the entire episode still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of former captain Clive Lloyd.
In an interview with the Glasgow Herald, Lloyd said the events of that catastrophic tour hurt deeply. "I lost interest (in West Indies cricket), especially after they refused to play in Nelson Mandela's country and left. Their demands for more money were met. I will never forget that. I would have walked to South Africa if I had been in a similar position, considering what went on and what changes came about. It just showed that players at that time did not care much about those kind of things."
Lloyd, now an ICC Match Referee, said the introduction of big money into international cricket helped to ruin the game in the Caribbean.
"In the West Indies, the authorities were worried about how much money we (ex-players) would make. What money are they talking about? There are very few rich cricketers. In our time we did not make the kind of money the present day players are making," Lloyd said.
Lloyd, who appeared in 110 Tests between 1966 and 1984, expressed bitter disappointment at the decline of cricket in the West Indies and feels that the strike could have been prevented.
"I saw it coming 15 years ago. When I stopped playing, I asked them to get an academy going. They have one now, but nobody wanted to hear me then. I was told, “Why should we follow Australia? We don't need to follow anybody. We were just arrogant, and have paid for it.
”When I look at the Australians I played against, I find that they are all involved in one way or another with Australian cricket," he said.
Lloyd said the current West Indies cricketers lacked the commitment and passion that made the teams of the 1970s and the 1980s special. "The players are just turning up, they don't look disappointed when they lose. They should infuse fresh blood and then show patience while those young players get the necessary experience, instead of changing and chopping all the time," said Lloyd, who captained the West Indies in 74, winning 36.
He also criticised the pitches in the Caribbean for being flat and lifeless and offering little assistance to the quick bowlers and allowing batsmen to slip into a comfort zone.
"I think it is time we thought about hot-house pitches like the ones they have in New Zealand. Those have got the kind of bounce that encourages both the fast bowlers and spinners. The batsmen, too, will learn to cope with quick and bouncy tracks, as there will be more guys running in and giving them a torrid time. Flat and low wickets help nobody.
Fast bowlers will be discouraged and the quality of batsmen produced will be sub-standard," Lloyd added. (CaribbeanCricket.com)