Larry Gomes laments fall of Windies

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - SPORT -

BRIDGETOWN, Bar­ba­dos (CMC) — West In­dies vet­eran Larry Gomes has added his voice to the lat­est round of crit­i­cism lev­elled against the Caribbean side fol­low­ing their re­cent de­feats in Bangladesh and In­dia.

West In­dies were dis­missed within three days in all their pre­vi­ous four Tests in the sub­con­ti­nent, with the lat­est hu­mil­i­a­tion in Bangladesh by an in­nings and 184 runs on De­cem­ber 2.

Gomes, who played 60 Tests for West In­dies dur­ing the late 70s and early 80s, was a guest at the Past Crick­eters Society din­ner and awards cer­e­mony at the Queen’s Park Oval on Novem­ber 24.

He at­tributed the re­cent strug­gles of the cur­rent team to the lack of ex­po­sure to county cricket in Eng­land.

“In our time, most of the guys played county cricket,” said Gomes, who played for Mid­dle­sex from 1973-76.

“Since [the English and Wales Cricket Board] lim­ited the over­seas play­ers, that sort of pushed us out the win­dow. Our play­ers don’t get that op­por­tu­nity to play in Eng­land like be­fore. You were more pro­fes­sional, play­ing day in, day out. Un­for­tu­nately, our play­ers don’t have that ex­pe­ri­ence or ex­po­sure of play­ing in Eng­land,” he added.

How­ever, the 65-year-old left-handed bats­man re­fused to blame the as­cent of Twenty20 cricket for the team’s cur­rent plight, and in­stead asked Cricket West In­dies (CWI) to take steps to im­prove the stan­dard in the longer for­mat of the game.

“T20 is more en­ter­tain­ment. You can’t re­ally blame the play­ers. The lifes­pan of a crick­eter is short, so they have to look af­ter them­selves. [Cricket West In­dies] will have to try and do some­thing to com­pen­sate the play­ers if you want them to play the longer ver­sion of the game,” he noted.

Gomes also lamented the in­abil­ity of the cur­rent crop of play­ers to con­cen­trate for long pe­ri­ods of time, a ba­sic re­quire­ment for suc­cess in Test cricket.

“It’s sad... it’s a dif­fer­ent era now. Test cricket, I wouldn’t say, is dy­ing, but is not as pop­u­lar as the other for­mats of the game.

“It’s sad to see where we were at one time to just fall so far down in the rank­ings. I don’t know if it’s the fault of the T20s why play­ers are not ap­ply­ing them­selves, con­cen­trat­ing longer and think­ing about the longer ver­sion of the game,” Gomes said.

Gomes was hon­oured by the Past Crick­eters Society along with leg­endary West In­dian fast bowler Sir Wes Hall in 2017. An­other leg­end, Sir Garfield Sobers, was this year’s re­cip­i­ent.

(Photo: AFP)

West In­dies bats­man Kieran Pow­ell (left) is bowled dur­ing the sec­ond day of the sec­ond Test match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, re­cently.

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