Johnny’s work will en­sure troubles are sent to the Grave

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Richard Ed­wards

DE­SPITE liv­ing in An­tigua and en­joy­ing all the trap­pings of the life on a Caribbean is­land, there would have been plenty who didn’t envy the size of the task fac­ing Johnny Grave when he as­sumed the role of chief ex­ec­u­tive of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) back in Jan­uary.

Play­ers at war with the gov­ern­ing body, a dis­mal run of re­sults in both Test and one-day cricket and the em­bar­rass­ing prospect of hav­ing to qual­ify for the World Cup they won so hand­somely in 1975 and 1979 were just some of the is­sues wait­ing for him as he set­tled down in the hottest seat in global cricket.

Now, al­most seven months on, Grave still ap­pears rel­a­tively san­guine about the size of the task fac­ing him and is look­ing for­ward to at­tempt­ing to hand his home coun­try a bloody nose over the next month and a half.

Speak­ing to The Cricket Pa­per from Mi­ami, where the Caribbean Pre­mier League (CPL) is in full swing, Grave is in bullish mood af­ter help­ing to bro­ker a truce be­tween some of West Indies cricket’s big­gest names on the eve of the Eng­land tour.

“It has been a busy six months,” he says.“It has been full-on, I think I’ve had about two days off since I ar­rived.

“Hav­ing worked with a lot of the West Indies leg­ends, they have said in the past that the West Indies Cricket Board is a bit of a sham­bles and the op­por­tu­nity to come across and hope­fully make a bit of a dif­fer­ence was too good to turn down re­ally.

“We don’t have a tal­ent prob­lem, it’s still the num­ber one sport in the re­gion.We’ve got 115 pro­fes­sional crick­eters who are get­ting paid, in Caribbean terms, a de­cent wage. The un­der-19s won the World Cup last year and they’ve just beaten South Africa in their back­yard which is as tough as it gets in in­ter­na­tional sport. “I don’t think tal­ent is an is­sue.” What is, is har­ness­ing that tal­ent and en­sur­ing that the West Indies have every­one pulling in the same di­rec­tion for the good of the sport. The growth of T20 and the mil­lions on of­fer to the likes of Chris Gayle, Su­nil Narine and Dwayne Bravo have only served to fur­ther muddy the wa­ters.

“It’s a shame we’re only play­ing one T20 in the se­ries,” he says.“I think we’ll be very com­pet­i­tive in both the one-day se­ries and the T20 se­ries. The amnesty won’t see a mas­sive change to the line-up, but if you put three very ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers into our one-day side, it’s a dif­fer­ent team en­tirely.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.