The West Indies cricket team has come in for high praise from one of the region’s top former cricket administrators.
Captain Peter Short, who served both as president of the Barbados Cricket Association and the West Indies Cricket Board, told Barbados TODAY that the West Indies’ winning of the ICC’s World T20 championship was a significant achievement which regional players and administrators now had to fully exploit. He said the triumph was particularly pleasing as it was evident the team was playing as “one cohesive, unified unit”. He noted that this was an advantage for the West Indies to take the field of play with such a “team” mind-set.
“Darren Sammy and the entire team are deserving of the highest praise. The victory will inspire our cricketers to do even better. It will inspire those not in the team to seek to achieve as well,” he said.
Captain Short noted that though it was a limited overs competition, the T20 championship victory could be used as impetus to improve the West Indies’ performance in Test cricket. He stressed that success bred success.
“Of course, it is significant. We have not done especially well in Test cricket in recent years. But this victory will have the impact of boosting the players’ esteem and self-confidence and this will always bring about positive results. They just have to continue to work extremely hard. But the signs are good and I think the team is moving in the right direction,” he noted. Captain Short, who was BCA president from 1973 to 1993, had some financial advice for regional cricket administrators. He said the acquisition of sponsorship for regional cricket had proven to be a difficult undertaking in recent years and suggested that the West Indies Cricket Board use the team’s success to encourage sponsorship on board their developmental programmes. He explained that sponsors liked success stories and preferred to link their
names to successful endeavours. “We need to tap into this achievement for the overall benefit of our cricket.
It is well known how difficult the board has found it to attract sponsors for our regional tournaments and this victory by our cricketers gives them the opportunity for that type of thrust,” he said.
Captain Short said he was satisfied with the quantity of cricket being played, noting it was adequate, and that regional administrators had to be careful not to overwhelm the players with cricket, taking the likelihood of injuries into consideration. He said there were times when it might be better to play too little cricket rather than too much.
The retired administrator said he was not overly concerned about the number of youngsters playing cricket.
Short said he believed a lot of young people were getting involved in the sport because the financial rewards were much greater than before. He recalled that when living icon and national hero Sir Garfield Sobers was first contracted to play county cricket for Nottinghamshire he was paid about £5 000 annually.
“Sir Garry just missed the big times. Players like Gordon Greenidge at Hampshire and Desmond Haynes at Middlesex did not make the type of money the modern players now make,” Captain Short said, adding young people would be drawn to the game by the benefits they could reap.
He advised the current West Indies team and prospective West Indies players to keep working hard on their game and stressed that they were not just playing cricket for themselves or their individual islands, but for the collective millions of Caribbean people at home and abroad. (WG)