Richards blames WICB for decline of Caribbean cricket
By Simon Evans
Guyana Chronicle
March 22, 2007

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - Former West Indies great Viv Richards has blamed the region's administrators for the decline of Caribbean cricket but sees hope of a revival in the current World Cup squad.

The West Indies, with Richards' glorious stroke-play and a battery of pace bowlers, won the first two World Cups and dominated the game in the late seventies and early eighties but have faded in the past decade.

"I will knock my board and the people who are responsible; they haven't allowed things to happen as they should," Richards, 55, told Reuters in an interview.

"Money is not spent in the proper way. If you have people at the top, administrators who are supposed to have put certain things in place and it has been ignored for years, you are going to have problems."

Richards, who scored 8 540 runs in 121 Tests, believes the West Indies Cricket Board failed to build upon the success enjoyed by the teams captained by himself and Clive Lloyd.

"The board left us behind, without the necessary things in place -- the disciplinary factors, appointing the right managers, getting the right people in place for success to happen.

"They have ignored the happiness about the sport of cricket itself and ignored how the people feel and they have let them down big time.

"With what we had, we should have looked to create a much wider and bigger empire where cricket is concerned," he said.

But Richards, known as the 'Master Blaster' in the region where he is still revered as one of the Caribbean's greatest ever sportsmen, believes there is cause for optimism in the current crop of players.

"Chris Gayle is an exciting player, he just needs to be in the consistency lane a little more. Dwayne Bravo has all the trappings to be a great all-rounder. Shivnarine Chanderpaul is stable and consistent and I think Ramnaresh Sarwan can be a world-beater.

"There is a lot of young talent in this region that can do it but it is about the guidance you need to accomplish things. I hope we can do it.

"It is challenge. Let's hope that the revenue and money from all of this helps us to be better placed to be more competitive," he said.

Richards was at the World Cup as part of Johnnie Walker's 'Know Your Boundaries' responsible drinking campaign.