The players’ mentality is the problem
I HAVE long opined that one of, if not the most, fundamental cause for the continued implosion of West Indies cricket has been the mindset of the current crop of players. More so than any systemic or procedural shortcomings of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Blaming the board is simplistic, cliched and, indeed, lacks real credibility on the basis that when West Indies were the undisputed kingpins of world cricket, the structure and operations of the WICB were hardly any different and certainly not superior to what they are now.
That period of dominant success was not based on any novel ideas or strategic planning on the part of the then administrators, the difference between then and now is obviously the talent level but, more importantly, the attitude, the commitment, the collective and personal professionalism of that era of winners and champions, and what are now being foisted on to the people of the region as modern stars.
I concede that back then, key players in that West Indies unitplayed county cricket in England, which no doubt helped to make them more complete and professional players. But, instructively, those greats were sought after by the county clubs because of the inherent qualities they possessed compared to the mediocre quality of the players of today.
Compounding and perhaps expediting this wider decline especially in Test cricket is, of course, the rapid emergence of the Twenty20 game, which has brought about a paradigm shift in the focus of the players away from Test cricket and towards the easier and more lucrative shortest format. For one reason or another, the modern players have, over time left, West Indies cricket ‘out to dry’ and there is precious little the board could have done and can do about it.
The recent saga involving Darren Bravo is a clear index of this let-down. After six years of Test cricket, Bravo has played 49 Test matches, scored a mere eight Test centuries with an averages of 40.00. Bravo plays in a team that is ranked eight out of 10 Test-playing nations – only above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Yet in his mind, he is a big enough star to have earned the RIGHT to an ‘A’ conmers of the ‘small pond’.