FORMER NATIONAL and West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Deryck Murray is calling on persons in charge of the regional game to address the problems at the core, to avoid more disappointing results, at the international level.
Murray was speaking in an interview yesterday, in the aftermath of another humiliating overseas Test series, which saw the WI team suffer a 2-nil sweep away to India.
The West Indies lost each Test in three days – the first Test in Rajkot saw the WI hammered by an innings and 272 runs (October 4-6) and the second Test in Hyderabad (October 12-14) saw the visitors spanked by ten wickets.
Asked about his view on the Test series, the ex-TT captain and WI vice-captain replied, “Very disappointing. It’s really depressing to (see the) results on the team that we send away.”
“The whole ethos of the way the cricket is being run, it really doesn’t indicate that there is any change in sight,” he added.
Much has been made about the team selection policy implemented by Cricket West Indies (CWI), with fans questioning the non-inclusion of players on a regular basis.
“That is really the problem,” said Murray. “It’s 20 years that this issue has been brewing, the relationship between the players and (CWI), the relationship between (CWI) and the stakeholders, the fans, the territorial boards, the sponsors.
“It’s really terrible the way domestic tournaments are arranged and run as though there are total isolation of players being on show to be selected for the West Indies,” continued the ex-WI manager. “It really is a whole situation which has demanded attention for a long time, which has not been coming. Therefore, what we see on the field is just symbolic of what’s been happening in the administration, the development of players etcetera.
“And we the fans are suffering because we have to face the embarrassment of tour after tour, series after series, of a set of excuses. We’re hiring and firing substandard people all the time to say they’re in charge of our cricket and that’s totally disrespectful to the natural talent that we have.”
Murray added, “You see youngsters (with) an abundance of natural talent and we cannot develop them to international status in the next five to ten years. Unless we address the problem at the core, we’re going to just have more of the same-old (issues).”
As a past WI player, how does he feel to see this current team’s struggles?
Murray, who played 62 Tests (1,993 runs and 189 dismissals) and 26 One Day Internationals (294 runs and 38 dismissals) from 1963-1980, responded, “If the average fan feels disappointed and embarrassed by what has been happening, far less all the players who have come through the ranks, through the hard times and helped put the West Indies cricket on a pedestal, at the very summit of the game.
“To see what it has become now, I can’t describe the feeling of sheer disappointment and disgust at what has been allowed to happen.”
The WI Test team will have a three-game series away to Bangladesh in November. But Murray wonders what changes could be made to the Test squad, since the Regional Super50 Cup is currently being played, both in Trinidad and Barbados. “The 50-over competition, what’s going on now, we’re going to select a Test team to go to Bangladesh? It really does not make any sense whatsoever and it really shows a complete lack of planning and foresight.”
Asked if there is anything he can take away from this two-Test series, Murray replied, “What are the positives? People say we did better in the second Test than in the First Test. “I see the results, we lost a Test convincingly in three days in the first Test, we lost the second Test equally convincingly in three days,” added the former TT Cricket Board president. “Any differences are just masking the real problems.”
Murray was the vice-captain, under Clive Lloyd, in the victorious WI World Cup champion teams of 1975 and 1979, a far cry to the struggles of the current WI outfit.
“What you’re looking for are any improvements that you’re seeing, and are you seeing anybody that can influence further improvements,” he said. “And the answer to both those questions are no. So, let us address the root cause of the problem, like when you have a cancer, you can’t just leave it or put some powder on it and hope that it goes away.
“We’re reluctant to face those difficult choices in West Indies cricket,” he ended.