WITH all the medical problems swirling around the heads of humanity this downtime can be used by Cricket West Indies (CWI) to direct their representative bodies to get together and do some serious planning for the future of cricket in the West Indies. We are just not doing as well as we could.
The six main cricket territorial areas are Jamaica, TT, Guyana, Barbados, Windward Islands and Leeward Islands. From these territories the cricketers of the WI are developed, nurtured and shaped for their future exploits.
It goes to prove that if WI cricketers are not performing as well as they ought to be at international level then something is radically wrong at the embryo stage of their growth or during the continuity of their advancement. It comes down to the training received in their developing years. An international cricketer should not have to wait until he arrives on the world stage to learn and understand the basics of cricket.
The sport has to adjust to modern times and contemporary values of schooling and culture. What was good enough for development in the thirties for George Headley and Learie Constantine would’ve been different in the forties and fifties; a generation shaken by the Second World War, yet one which produced the three W’s, Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott plus stalwarts like Jeff Stollmeyer, Alan Rae, Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine.
It proves that the times keep changing and so does the approach of the cricketers who learn from one generation passing on their knowledge to the next. Some of the stars of the sixties and seventies were Garfield Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Lance Gibbs and Wes Hall.
Also, we must realise all those mentioned and their team-mates, practised and played hard at their game. Yet, it must be understood that generations change. Eras are built and adjustments must be made for a suitable performance in the existing period. What would have been right and proper training in one generation could change for the following one and administrations have to be alert and on the lookout for the signs of changes in all aspects.
The game is more professional now and has been evolving that way since the thirties. Through the Lancashire clubs in England mostly which employed mainly West Indians, then eventually, to make English county cricket more attractive to the spectator, first-class cricket through the counties was opened up to non-British citizens at the end of the sixties. It has now reached the stage where the majority of first-class cricketers in the West Indies are professionals, being paid by CWI, some of whom also earn extra income from the several T20 franchises world-wide, from CPL to BPL and the Big Bash to IPL.
Hence, I’m concerned at whether any work is being done currently by these cricketers to improve their cricket, whether they have been given tasks to keep them occupied during these off months.
I expect CWI would leave it up to the territories to do it which would be the proper way to handle it, except there ought to be some reporting system or a structure by which they could be supervised. This will ensure no possibility of mendacity.
A physical training programme should be in place and must be well supervised. I don’t know, so I could be entirely wrong, if there is a system that is being adhered to, the only problem is, I haven’t heard anything about it or, I might have missed it. The modern cricketer must not be left to speculate on what he ought to be doing because he could fall a victim of indolence!
TT had nineteen cricketers in the Hero CPL 2020 of which only three are participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL), so it’s my question to the TT Cricket Board, what exercises (I don’t mean only physical) are the players going through for whenever the next season starts? And don’t let the players decide because they may make excuses to prepare only when the announcement of a new season is made.
This is a great opportunity to make plans for the future and ensure one is always at the ready to play whether for WI, TT or club cricket. They must be professional not only in finance but also in outlook.
And all territorial boards should reflect on their structure for developing cricketers from tender ages, through high school, to ensure a wide catchment area.