A closer look at WI cricket Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
January 31, 2004

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WEST Indies' defeat in the second one-day international against South Africa on Wednesday so agonized Caribbean cricket lovers that few seemed able to retain their composure.

We're echoing some of the sentiments of our sister newspaper here because, notwithstanding the well-stream of topics engaging public attention in Guyana and the rest of CARICOM at this point in time, cricket remains the one non-controversial topic that most of us follow with passion.

Here's how the Daily Nation of Barbados puts it:

Given the disappointing performance of the West Indies cricket team, most would agree that there is need for a strong aggressive leadership. Though harsh, it may be fair comment to say that leadership and determination have been lacking in recent years.

There is a popular view that we must bring our past cricketers to a central position in the affairs of the West Indies Cricket Board. We agree but this preference should not blind us to the recognition that, to get the best, we may have to go outside the cricket walls.

Players of our vintage years were not coached but this did not prevent us from producing stars, who not only distinguished our teams but were the envy of the cricketing world. Why were they able to achieve such heights? In fact, our outstanding performances made competitors more determined to work toward similar results.

Looking back, it seems clear that leadership played a vital part in the performance of our team and no doubt led Australia and South Africa to conclude that leadership and management were essential ingredients for success.

With but one exception, the cricketing nations worldwide have embraced the idea of a foreign coach. We do not prescribe this formula but it deserves consideration. Today, in the midst of defeat and embarrassment, we hear the names of the late Malcolm Marshall, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes as contributors to the success of our rivals.

One recalls the late Malcolm Marshall and Roger Harper complaining that our players were not giving due regard to the advice of past icons. Our records do not support any drastic action having been taken to rectify this problem and we are yet to bring Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers nearer to the center.

In a new era, there must be new thinking. The measures taken so far have been limited in scope and seemingly still clinging to old thought patterns. West Indies cricket calls for a leadership to emerge which is determined and courageous. It must reject notions which seem to stifle the true "West Indian brand" of cricket which took us to the pinnacle of world dominance.

We are calling on Mr. E.H.C "Teddy" Griffith, given his varied business background, to fearlessly chart a new path for West Indies cricket, if he is to realize his dream of seeing our team restored to former glory. We do not question the skills of recent coaches but the performance of our team does not satisfy West Indian pride.

As in any corporate entity, success is inextricably linked to its mission statement, its culture, its determination and ultimately the quality of its management.

This leads us to the need for retainer contracts and a professional league. However, it is important that international exposure, to develop the necessary mental toughness, should be experienced at an earlier age."

The wish in Guyana, as in the rest of CARICOM, is for the West Indies to achieve 'competitive advantage' status by 2007, when the region hosts the next World Cup Cricket.