Findlay focuses on big picture

Guyana Chronicle
February 4, 2003

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KINGSTOWN - After six years in one of the most demanding jobs in West Indies cricket Mike Findlay is enjoying another equally challenging role.

Findlay, a senior West Indies selector for six successive years, the last four as chairman, has been chairman of the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) cricket committee for the past seven months.

“The cricket committee is responsible for the overall development of West Indies’ cricket.

“It is a broader responsibility than that of being a selector,” he told SUNSPORT during the Carib Beer 2002 Cricket Series match between Barbados and Windward Islands at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

“You’ve got to keep in touch and continually assess and reassess and review West Indies cricket, to see what is necessary for the development of the game in the short, medium and long term, particularly in the long term in our context.

“The ultimate objective is to propel West Indies’ cricket back to the top of international cricket, so we’ve got to devise plans and strategies to reach that goal.”

When he was chairman of the selection panel, Findlay and his fellow selectors often came in for stinging criticism from around the region.

It was something that never daunted him and even after his stint ended last May, he still felt he had a role to play.

“I like challenges. I love West Indies cricket. I love cricket period. That is the reason why I am still playing cricket,” he said.

“Whatever I can do to develop West Indies cricket I will do. It’s taking nothing out of me to make a contribution because I feel that West Indies cricket has done a lot to mould me as a personality,” added the former West Indies wicketkeeper who played ten Tests in the 1970s.

“All of us who have played Test cricket share that view - that we have gained something from West Indies cricket. You feel an obligation to give something back to the game.”

When Findlay’s appointment as chairman of the WICB cricket committee was announced, president Wes Hall said he believed the committee needed to be more vibrant than in the past.

Under Findlay’s leadership, there has been a definite change.

The 11-member committee, which includes a host of former Test players and a woman for the first time, meets quarterly.

These meetings are scheduled just prior to board meetings so that recommendations can be passed on in a timely matter.

The committee has considered the overall development plan for West Indies cricket and advised on any necessary adjustments. Last month, it considered a second draft, which is being finalised before submission to the WICB.

“The cricket committee can only make recommendations to the board. It is an advisory body,” Findlay said.

“We can advise the board on matters that we see necessary or the board can seek advice from us.”

This is one area he would like to see a change.

“There is a feeling among members of the committee as well as some members of the board that the cricket committee should be an autonomous body, which should be able to make decisions that relate to cricket development,” he said.

“We haven’t been able to convince the board of that as yet. There are a lot of pros and cons why the board reserves the right to make the final decision.”

In recent times, the board has accepted some of the cricket committee’s recommendations, one of them being the suggestion to allow an Under-23 player to captain the West Indies ‘B’ team in the regional first-class championships.

“We are pleased with the response we are getting from the board,” Findlay said.

“It helps that president Wes Hall has been a former great West Indies Test player. He is also a member of committee.

“When we take decisions and discuss matters to send them to the board, he, having been part of those decisions, can also augment our own views.”

Another recommendation the committee has is the establishment of a mentoring programme in which former Test players can nurture upcoming ones.

“Sir Everton Weekes, one of the greatest players to have represented the West Indies, is still very vibrant. Can you imagine how much good it will do if he becomes the mentor of, say, Marlon Samuels or Devon Smith or Ryan Hinds?

“He will monitor his progress regularly, be in constant contact with him, talk to him, guide him, counsel him about cricket and life generally. That will do the young man a lot of good.”

Findlay and his committee certainly intend to do a lot of good as well. (Barbados Sun)

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