Future rests with players

Amid recommendations from academics and politically appointed committees for the dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), one cricketing legend has suggested there is no difference between today’s WICB and that of his golden era.

Indeed, former West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards said the way forward for regional cricket rested with the players and what they did on the field and not so much with the administrators. Sir Vivian suggested the administrators of the successful Clive Lloyd era had their shortcomings as well but these went largely unnoticed because that was a period of regional success.

Win and get back the fans, advises Sir Vivian Richards.
Win and get back the fans, advises Sir Vivian Richards.

“To be fair, the only difference with that era and this [period], is that we were winning then, and they [present team] are not doing so these days,” he told Barbados TODAY while at a World Travel Meeting in London last week.

Sir Vivian said the players had to change their entire psyche of doing things and forget about the past, the board, the establishment, and concentrate on what they had control over –– cricket on the field. He said if cricket once again became the primary focus of the players it would send a huge message to both regional fans and the administrators.

He said West Indies cricketers needed to galvanise themselves behind their captain and look to improve in the future.  He explained there was a much bigger picture than the administrators and this involved the fans and the legacy of the game. When regional supporters start to return to the game, he added, the players would know they are moving in the right direction.

“If the team starts winning, maybe the board would start to buck up where their governance is concerned,” Sir Vivian noted.

The Antigua and Barbuda-born cricketing icon endorsed the appointment of Jason Holder as West Indies captain, noting he had all the mental and physical attributes to be a fine all-rounder. He remarked that Holder would need the dedicated support of the players in the dressing room as well as the administrators.

Considered one of the greatest batsmen to ever play the sport, Sir Vivian said the WICB had to adopt a position of leading by example. He stated the WICB’s leadership could not afford to be meting out punishment to individuals when they fell short, when the board members were not “up to the mark” as administrators themselves.

Touching on the recent suspension of West Indies coach Phil Simmons following his criticisms of what he deemed outside interference in the selection of the team to Sri Lanka, Sir Vivian said he would not point fingers and attribute blame to parties in the impasse as he was unaware of Simmons’ contractual arrangements with the WICB. However, he stressed the concerns that Simmons raised had been part of the regional set-up for quite a long time.  He said Simmons spoke out and paid the price but had demonstrated the conviction to speak.

“You have to fight for the things that you think are worth fighting for,” Sir Vivian said of Simmons’ stance.

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