No pride because.... Sports Scope Our Opinion
Stabroek News
January 19, 2004

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That the West Indies are on the verge of losing yet another test match is no mystery. In the words of Andre Nel, South Africa's new fast bowling find: "Sometimes I don't know if they show enough pride to play for their country," Nel told the Reuters News Agency yesterday.

"They can be a bit too relaxed and they don't seem to have the pride and deep- down desire that we have," he added. And of course what the newly-wed Nel says is true.

But the reason why the players don't show the passion and desire to win at the highest level is because of the politics of West Indies cricket.

How do you expect players who have an easy passage into the West Indies team to fight their hardest to remain there?

Unless players earn their places on the West Indies team they will not fight hard to remain on the team.

Only the players who have trained hard, played harder and performed outstandingly in regional tournaments before being selected will value their role in West Indies cricket.

The West Indies selectors consistently ignore many players who do well in the regional competitions. Some are chosen, some are not.

While we agree that not all the players who do well in the regional tournament will do well on the international scene the selectors must also keep in mind that the regional tournament serves as a yardstick for selection on regional teams. To not select the high achievers makes a complete mockery of the tournament and will eventually rob it of it's standard. Why will players want to put their best foot forward, score plenty of runs or take record breaking wicket hauls if they will not be selected simply because it is the norm to select players with talent ahead of those with experience, runs or wickets to their names? It is disturbing that the region in which we live have so many talented sportsmen and women who can't fulfill their potential simply because of the system.

No wonder young cricketers play the game of sucking up to those who can possibly push for them to be included on some team or the other. No wonder many young cricketers are bypassed even though their performances merit their selection to some team or the other.

Picking players such as Fidel Edwards and Dwayne Smith on potential alone may be fine. They might even do well early on. But they do not have the necessary tools to be successful at such an early stage in their career.

The West Indies needs to have a major review of their first-calls season and their method of selecting teams.

Or West Indies cricket will remain in the doldrums for a long, long time.