Richards - powerless to resist?
By Martin Williamson
June 22, 2004
SUNDAY’S simple announcement that Viv Richards had stood down as West Indies' chief selector to pursue his media commitments seems, on the face of it, straightforward. But read between the lines and a far more complex tale begins to emerge.
Ever since their first public fall-out in South Africa in January, there have been rumours that Richards's relationship with Brian Lara has been deteriorating. On that occasion the pair both denied any disagreement - it is possible they protested too much - but the unease was there for all to see. Last month it again spilt into the public forum when Lara used his newspaper column as a conduit to lambast the selectors for failing to pick a specialist spinner in St Vincent. To underline his point, he used Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle, part-time slow bowlers, to send down the bulk of the overs in the match.
But Richards has also upset others in the side. It is understood that several players have complained via the West Indies Players' Association about his attitude and approach. That Richards did not see eye-to-eye with Dinanath Ramnarine, the WIPA's president, can hardly have helped his cause. Add to the equation the fact that the West Indies board has also been keen to implement a new structure to deal with team selection in the coming months, and it might well be that Richards was unwilling to agree meekly to his authority being diluted in that way.
It might, of course, be simpler.
Richards is a legend in the Caribbean who for a long time pointed out the failings in those running the game. But when push came to shove, he found, as many have done before, that legendary status and a bundle of enthusiasm are not enough to turn things round.
And with results going against West Indies and Richards seemingly powerless to do anything about it, it may be that he has decided to quit before suffering the ignominy of being sacked. (Wisden Cricinfo)