I must compliment the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, in particular, the Ministry of Tourism for accepting the great responsibility of staging the West Indies Super 50 Tournament for the Clive Lloyd Trophy over the next three years, with the main title sponsor NAGICO Insurance. This of course will take the financial pressure off the WICB purse.
The key to success of this first tournament is for the Trinidad and Tobago team to qualify for the semi-finals and finals. This will ensure full houses at the oval and a tremendous party and carnival atmosphere. However, to really make it a sports tourism success, in the future, two leading English county teams should be considered for participation; this will also be helpful to their own preseason training. I have no doubt that the Ministry of Tourism and the Trinidad Cricket Board has sensitized the public about the Super 50, despite its clash with the world-class carnival season. But as we saw in the CPL, the Barbados Crop Over festival did not stop the flow to Kensington.
I hope the new director of cricket will be given a free hand by the WICB to reform the current structure in West Indies cricket and the senior team.
The next 12 months will be an important period for our West Indies cricket fans and the WICB, with a focus on building a team for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The upcoming matches against Ireland, in Jamaica, and England, in Antigua and Barbados, present opportunities for selectors to examine different team combinations. This opportunity was afforded to us when Zimbabwe last toured the Caribbean but the focus was on winning and not building for the future. While in a few short weeks we will be off to defend our 20/20 World Cup title, the fitness of Sammy, Roach, Samuels, Pollard and Gayle must be of some concern to the selectors. A precise early medical report must be provided. Unfortunately as I write, our selectors have not done their duties efficiently and we are far from a settled 50 over team, while the 20/20 squad needs some tinkering. Out of a score of 10, I will give Clyde Butts and his co-selectors a score of 4.
A classic example of selection failure reflects in our recent tour of India and the squad selected. Since we failed to prepare properly, we were beaten twice in three days in the two test matches after which the selectors sent an earthquake shock by naming the same squad to journey on to New Zealand. It is difficult to understand how they could not evaluate the talent of Sunil Narine as a test bowler, who only got in after Shillingford was suspended. The selectors also failed to see Jason Holder as a test bowler despite his performance in the shorter form of the game and the omission of Miguel Almin is nothing short of mysterious after his performances on the A Tour to India.
Serious West Indies fans are looking forward anxiously to the Richard Prybus report on the new direction of cricket. After such a woeful performance in India and New Zealand which reflected a clear lack of fight of competitive spirit, I am hoping he will have a comprehensive debriefing from the management team and particularly the coach and a report analyzing the performances and identifying the structural factors responsible for such a poor showing by a group of professionals. It is my hope that the new director of cricket who has done excellent work in South Africa will be given a free hand by the WICB not only to reform the current structure in West Indies cricket but also the senior team.
The tour review should evaluate the management team’s preparation, methods and strategies adopted for training and matches, player discipline and commitment, and most importantly, the selection process.
On the question of the management team, I would like to see manager Richardson and coach Gibson given the powers to send home players for in-discipline behavior. In place of the two assistant coaches I would like to suggest that Curtly Ambrose be made the bowling coach, with one of our outstanding batsmen as the batting coach; and a fielding coach be added.
I was disappointed that manager Richie Richardson had to point out in New Zealand that when the present players got to the ground, they did not seem busy, getting ready to put on their game faces and to be physically and mentally ready for an international contest.
Looking down the road when the opportunity arrives, I would like to suggest that former Trinidad and Tobago captain Daren Ganga be considered as our next full time manager. He is a student of the game, knows his cricket and is excellent with the media. The WICB needs also to look in the direction of new selectors although it may be wise to keep one member of the present committee to ensure continuity. Persons to be given consideration are Bryan Davis, Wayne Daniel, Roger Harper, Ken Bengamin, Larry Gomes, Roland Butcher and Keith Arthurton.
I would like to end with a quotation from Dr. Rudi Webster who in his recent book “Think Like a Champion” dealt with the life cycle of a successful Team – “The life cycle of every successful team is one of conception, growth, optimum performance, stagnation and finally decline. Every successful team dominates for a while, but then strikes a plateau and stagnates. After that it starts to decline and is superseded by another team that is on the rise. But that decline can sometimes be prevented if a second growth curve or a psychological rebirth is created when the team is still performing well. To revive the team and start a new growth curve a reorganization of priorities is needed as well as an infusion of new players and new leaders with fresh ideas, attitudes and agendas for change. New systems, more efficient structures and better allocation and management of resources are also required. The longer the decline lasts the more difficult it is to reverse. Unfortunately, most teams wait until they are in full decline before they act”.