Cricket academics agree Board the cause of Windies failures

WEST Indies cricketing great Clive Lloyd yesterday hit a massive 'six' over long on while declaring he has no more tears left over the sorry state of West Indies cricket.

At the same time, Michael Hall uprooted several problematic 'stumps' with some vicious 'yorkers' at a cricket forum staged by the Michael Manley Foundation at the Liguanea Club in new Kingston.

The forum, dubbed The State of West Indies (WI) Cricket - the Way Forward, was chaired by attorney-at-law Delano Franklyn.

The august panel was headed by Lloyd and Hall, a former West Indies cricket administrator and now CEO of West Indies Players' Association (WIPA). It also included Edward Shakes, principal of GC Foster College; Fritz Harris and Philip Service of the Jamaica Cricket Association; noted journalists Paget deFreitas, Earl Moxam, Leighton Levy, Kevin O'Brian Chang and Manley's widow Glynn.

Based on the discussions, it was unanimous that the bad state of West Indies cricket is mainly the fault of the board of directors deemed dishonest and disingenuous.

Lloyd, arguably the region's most successful captain, while outlining the cricketing problems in his native Guyana, was tired of crying for the poor state of WI cricket.

"I am running out of tears over the years. I can tell you I have no more tears," he said with a chuckle.

Lloyd, 67, who captained the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 and oversaw their rise to become the dominant Test-playing nation, pointed out that despite their talent, too many young players are being asked to learn on the job.

He was also pushing for administrators of the region's cricket to be persons, not necessarily educated with degrees and diplomas, but persons who can show on the resumes, what they have achieved for their clubs and countries before being thrown onto the West Indies board with little or no achievements.

The cricketing legend also made a plea for the board to follow suit as did the New Zealand Board recently in signing the players to an eight-year contract in an effort to have the top players available to represent the country amidst a plethora of limited overs cricket that is basically killing Test cricket.

Meanwhile, fastbowling legend Holding, who was not at the forum, but had his speech read by Franklyn, hit hard at the board and outlined many problems facing West Indies cricket.

"These are caused by the cricketers themselves and the organisation that is placed to manage the affairs of cricket in the Caribbean, that is the West Indies Board," he noted.

Holding, who took 249 Test wickets from 60 matches at an average of 23.68, said whenever an end product is not quite what it should be, the analysis usually starts at the top and the WICB has to bear the brunt of the responsibility.

According to the man nicknamed the 'Whispering Death', the board has named two committees to suggest structural changes to improve the performance of the team and the quality of governance.

"But as we have seen, both committees have suggested a restructuring with different numbers of independent directors, directors who do not turn up to meetings with their own region their primary focus and that has not gone down too well with the existing directors. Why?" he asked.

"They do not want to mess up what appears to be nothing more than a cozy little boys club where they do each favours and operate in a vacuum, not having to answer to anyone," Holding explained.

Holding also touched on the incident where a board member disrespected the Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, causing the Board to apologise and no action taken against the offender.

He also mentioned the case in which a director compared a player to a criminal "Don" and the board distanced itself with no repercussion or disciplinary action taken.

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior Reporter

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