Time for a shift Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
February 14, 2004

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TALK show hosts, moderators and guests on radio and television in Guyana are talking, as much as the man in the street, about the state of West Indies cricket after the South African tour and the context in which remarks by Sir Vivian Richards about disciplinary action against players should be taken.

The discussion is especially timely, with Guyana poised to host the World Cup in 2007 and efforts underway to rebuild the team to give it the competitive edge West Indies has been struggling to regain in the last few years.

The discussion has by no means reached "exhaustion" stage. But to try to put the issue in broader perspective, here's a Barbados Nation analysis...

"THE fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars But in ourselves"....Julius Caesar Act1 Scene II.

The cricketing public of the Caribbean in general and Barbados in particular, have always held Sir Clyde Walcott in great esteem and still do. His exploits on the field, his accomplishments in Guyana and later corporate Barbados speak for themselves. Those stars from Guyana, Rohan Kanhai, Joe Solomon and Basil Butcher, are reminders of the quality coaching which he undertook in that country, all to the benefit of West Indies cricket.

It was therefore surprising that he was reported as saying "regional administrators should not be blamed for the decline in WI cricket. We just didn't have the finances to do it. We just didn't have the wherewithal to really plan".

It is true that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was more often than not strapped for cash, but the failure to implement retainer contracts was largely due to the board's dependence on CARICOM countries to provide the funding rather than coming up with creative solutions which captured the imagination of the finance directors of corporate Caribbean.

Most would concur that we seemed to have lulled ourselves into the belief that players of the caliber of the '80s and early '90s teams would continue to emerge as night followed day.

That the late Malcolm Marshall was hurt by the reluctance of new entrants to WI teams to lend a willing and listening ear to the advice of past icons, coupled with the obvious decline in discipline and work ethic, was sufficient to warn administrators that "all was not well".

Some years ago Sir Garfield Sobers suggested the time had come for there to be one selector, even if only to stem the tide of insularity threatening to destroy WI cricket. Today, Sir Vivian Richards, chairman of the WI selection panel, shouts, "stop fooling around, if we need to move forward." Sir Vivian claimed that management was not sufficiently empowered to do the job required, particularly on tour.

"Too many people are involved in decision making." That statement strikes at the heart of good corporate management. The company must first appoint the men who have the skills and qualities required for the job, give them the necessary tools, tell them what is expected of them and finally reward or punish them for success or failure.

The sooner the WICB is able to pursue that management style, the better for WI cricket. The Trinidad Express of February 7 reports that, "those on the ground painted a picture of players loathing to be counseled for their good, failing to adequately see to their fitness and generally, not approaching practice as though it was serious business".

No wonder Emmerson Trotman, former Barbados player, observed that "they all have talent, they are all good players but to be successful they have to have the right attitude and I don't get the impression that's always the case".

It is time WICB makes a paradigm shift.