FIRST vice-president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board Dr Allen Sammy predicts a rough road for West Indies in the remainder of the Test series against England. He believes the squad in England comprises the best the region has to offer and said this is as a result of a lack of incentives for regional cricketers to play the longest format of the game.
West Indies suffered an embarrassing defeat in the first Test by an innings and 209 runs in three days at Birmingham on Saturday. The regional side lost 19 wickets in one day after starting day three 44 for one in their first innings.
Dr Sammy says it is unfortunate to see the way West Indies are losing, but knows the regional team is at a rebuilding stage. “Clearly it is disappointing, but remember it is a top team against an emerging new squad who has been blooded against the best. We will get licks in all (the matches), but I don’t see it as licks, I see it as blooding young fellas and making do with what you have,” he said. Dr Sammy knows citizens of the Caribbean are calling for changes on the West Indies Cricket Board, but believes the lack of support for the territorial boards is the main concern. “I am saying if you criticise (Cricket West Indies boss) Dave Cameron in the morning that is not solving anything. If you fire everybody that is not solving nothing. The sociology is deeper, it is rooted in territories – that is where the problems are. The territories are not receiving support.”
With the number of lucrative T20 leagues around the world, the TTCB official says players are not making themselves available for four-day regional cricket.
“It is really the competition with T20 that is causing a lot of the issues, the fellas are not available for the four-day competition and it is out of the four-day competition where the Test team is selected. That is not just for Trinidad and Tobago, that is for all the territories, that is the source for the Test team.”
Dr Sammy understands why players will be drawn to T20 cricket, and therefore incentives must be given to encourage players to compete in four-day cricket. “If you say you want to be a specialist in T20 you have that option. Not everybody must play all forms of the game, I am not saying that. Fellas are looking at the incentives players receive in the T20 format and saying ‘In three to five years I could become independently self sufficient.’ When you play four-day cricket there is no incentives.”
The former WICB Director hopes that with more monetary rewards, players may show more dedication to four-day cricket, which will help the Test team. “If you really think that four-day cricket is central to the survival of Test cricket in the Caribbean, then you need to offer them monetary incentives for them to dedicate themselves to that format of the game.”