FORMER Cricket West Indies (CWI) and TT Cricket Board (TTCB) director Allen Sammy wants Caricom to step in to aid the current demise that is West Indies cricket.
Sammy made these remarks following the maroon team’s embarrassing exit from the One-Day International World Cup Qualifiers in Harare, Zimbabwe on Saturday. This is the first time that West Indies will not feature at the ODI World Cup.
The Caribbean team, batting first, were dismissed for a paltry 181 runs from 43.5 overs, to which the Scots responded with a victorious 185/3.
The result sank the regional squad to arguably its lowest ever and removed all chances of them qualifying, with two matches remaining.
Sammy, who served at the CWI board level for eight years, was disappointed with the team’s shambolic showing and called on Caricom and territorial boards to sit down and have serious discussions on the team’s downward spiral.
Despite highlighting several regional reports (Webhy and Patterson) done on improving West Indies cricket over the years, Sammy said while they do highlight and suggest ideas, they’re not really producing the anticipated results.
“Cricket will only be attractive if the facilities are well appointed. But it has to be driven from Caricom and no longer from the territories. The reason is we all have to be on the same page.
“If we ask each Caribbean government, their policy on sport, and secondly, what is it for cricket? The first thing in every government budget to cut is sport. Then the politicians tell you without sport people will go into crime and so on.”
Sammy said that the basic survival of West Indies cricket lies within the territorial boards but it cannot operate as it used to, virtually alone; with CWI directing and receiving players, training them and sending them out.
“CWI does not produce players, all it does is collect pools of players who are available. Territorial boards produce the players. For good players to be produced, cricket must be attractive to them because they are distracted by other things.
“In government, if we have proper policies, programmes and projects to assist with and provide these materials to push and support them only then there will be a transformation. It’s gradual, from primary to secondary school come up.
“We have to dig deeper than all these reports. Where is the fund for cricket? Is there such a thing? Who pays into that fund? Who administers it?”
In Saturday’s post-match press conference, West Indies captain Shai Hope said he was at a loss to explain West Indies’ performances of recent, since they’ve lost three of their five matches against lower-ranked ODI nations.
Prior to the Scotland loss, West Indies lost to Zimbabwe last Saturday and to the Netherlands on Monday. Their two victories came against USA and Nepal.
Sammy added, “Caricom has to come together and say, ‘We hit the pit’. At this point, I don’t think structural changes are the problem. Let us sit with three to five people from each of the six territories – the thinkers at that level – and ask them what they want.
“You must consult with the community; in this case, it’s the territories. Ask them their issues. They would you no cash flow, no proper training of manpower, we don’t have UWI linking with us properly, we don’t send people abroad to institutes in India or England, not even Jamaica at the training centre there.
“This helps empower administrators as well. Ask each one of them to give their ideas, put them together and create a policy. Take this policy and implement a five-year programme. And run it transparently in all aspects and the quality will improve across the board.
“Involve Caricom in a meaningful way, let them help to resource it through whatever funds. It could be a Caribbean lotto. Where is the source of funds for the territorial boards?”
West Indies’ shabby World Cup Qualifier record sees them remain without a point in the Super Six.
On his team’s early exit, with Oman (Wednesday) and Sri Lanka (Saturday) still to play, skipper Shai Hope said the team let themselves down for the entire tournament.
“There is not one thing I can put my finger on. We let ourselves down in the entire tournament. We have to look at the way we start our innings definitely,” he told ICC media.
“We knew conditions would be in the bowlers’ favour and every captain would have elected to field first. We needed to find ways to negate the early morning movement, but we can’t look at the past, we have to look forward and find ways to get better.”
Fielding was also a major problem for West Indies, who put down 10 catches in the group stage including five against Zimbabwe.
Those errors continued into the Super Six and Scotland’s Brandon McMullen became the latest batter to benefit in Harare, making a vital 69 having been put down on 21 to help steer his side home.
“Fielding is an attitude thing. The effort needs to remain regardless of what’s happening and I don’t think we gave 100 per cent every single time. We did it in patches but we need to improve that. Our preparation needs to be better back home, we can’t come here and expect to be an elite team with that preparation.”
Hope and new coach Daren Sammy have plenty of work ahead but the captain is focused on finishing on a high in Zimbabwe, with matches against Oman and Sri Lanka to come as West Indies look to restore pride.
“We have to make sure we give the West Indian fans something to cheer about in what’s left. I always believe the talent is there, no question, but we need to make sure we transfer that talent into consistent performances.
“They (Scotland) played very well, credit to them, they were disciplined, and we can learn from that.”