February 28, 2007
Recently there have been conflicting reports about the factors responsible for Guyana's poor performance in the just concluded regional four-day and one-day tournaments.
Writing on a website Guyana's cricket captain Ramnaresh Sarwan laid the blame squarely at the feet of the local cricket administrators, while Guyana Chronicle cricket correspondent Vemen Walter seems to think that the players are culpable as they played below their potential.
Expressing his disappointment at the performance of the Guyana team this year Sarwan stated: "Sadly I have to say that I do not think that 'cricket' is the priority in Guyana, unfortunately it seems as though people have other things as their priority. I think the administrators of Guyana's cricket need to get things right and put 'cricket' back as the priority."
He added:" After playing for Guyana for so many years it is the worst I saw us play as a team but that doesn't come because the players lacked commitment. It comes from them being insecure in the team and feeling too much pressure and being uncomfortable." Sarwan also called for more preparatory camps leading into regional tournaments adding:" After winning the Twenty/20 Tournament one would have thought that we would have been the best equipped and prepared team in the Caribbean but unfortunately it was not so."
On the other hand Walter, who covered the tournament for the Guyana Chronicle suggested that it was a lack of commitment by the players which was responsible for the fact that the defending KFC Cup one-day champions were eliminated from the semi-finals. Walter described the team's performance in the four-day competition as "scruffy," adding that the lack of discipline and commitment was clearly evident in all facets of their game. Emphasising his point he noted that only one limited overs century by Royston Crandon in his debut season was scored for the entire season while the most wickets 14, was taken by teenager Veerasammy Permaul, again in his debut season. He suggested that the team showed no backbone when faced with adversity unlike the Trinidad team which showed grit and determination in the semi-final and final of the KFC Cup one-day tournament. "Generally Guyana's overall cricket in what could be deemed a substandard season, leaves many to ponder which direction it is heading," he concluded.
So is Sarwan right to attribute the poor performance of the Guyana cricket team this year to a lack of proper cricket administration by the Guyana Cricket Board, or is Walter right in stating that generally the team failed to apply itself and although there was no shortage of talent and experience it was the mental approach by the team which was responsible for the poor performance? In order to find the answer, the Guyana Cricket Board, if it has not done so, must immediately undertake a review of the tournament taking the views of Sarwan and Walter into consideration along with the reports of the manager and coach.
They should then develop a plan aimed not only at reasserting Guyana as a regional power but they must also take an in-depth look at the Cricket Development, Administrative and Fund-Raising arms of the GCB and develop a plan aimed at strengthening the overall structure of the GCB.
That may be more difficult given that fact that reports suggest that there exists a rift between two high ranking members of the GCB executive but the overall welfare of Guyana's cricket should come before the private agendas or ambitions of those in charge of Guyana's cricket. The GCB should ignore the temptation to institute some form of censure on Sarwan for his comments even though they might feel that Sarwan's comments was an attempt to, or did put the GCB in a bad light. Sarwan too must know that his recent statements will harm rather than help move Guyana's cricket forward. He must also be aware of the fact that as Lara's heir apparent, his latest move might not endear him to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) which only last year had to publicly rebuke present West Indies captain Brian Lara for making similarly public certain comments about West Indies' cricket.