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Skerritt says end petty politics and insularity

By CRICKET360 STAFF

President of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Ricky Skerritt speaking at the Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Virtual Lecture organised by UWI St. Augustine has made a call for all to put petty cricket politics and insularity to bed in order to drive the growth of West Indies cricket.

With the popular lecture series taking the virtual format this year Skerritt gave an account of West Indies cricket over the past 20 years and said that it’s a situation now where the West Indian cricket community needs to think big and differently. 

“Great things can be achieved when the West Indian cricket community strives to think big and think differently, to collaborate and innovate together, and to put insularity and petty cricket politics to bed. Cricket still has a golden chance to drive transformative growth and secure its sustainable long-term future in our West Indian culture for several more decades to come. West Indians are a resilient people. Sir Frank Worrell showed us how to face up to adversity and in honour of his memory, let us pledge tonight to continue to rally around the West Indies.

“At CWI, I believe we have stopped the knee-jerking and reactionary fiddling at the wheel, and instead are now inspiring and demanding data-based and more collective decision-making from our executives. We are no longer afraid to be focused on medium and long-term results. Rooted in a mindset that is both technological and 20 entrepreneurial, we are revising our roadmap to help cricket forge into the future, confident that we can emerge from the current COVID-19 pandemic in the strongest possible shape.

“Sadly, Sir Frank would also note that West Indian cricket on-field success does not come quite as frequently as it did when he was captain. He would see that regional cricket administrators have been grappling for the past 20 years or so with declining and inconsistent team performances, in all three formats of the game. Having won most of the Test Matches in which he captained, Sir Frank would be disappointed to find that of the 194 Test matches played by West Indies in the past twenty years alone, we have lost 104 and won only 41, or 21%. In the same period we have won only 32% of the 434 ODI’s, and 45% of the 124 T20 Internationals we have played at home and abroad. 

“The data would tell him that in the same 20 years, West Indies selectors put more than 150 individual players and 18 different captains on the field to represent the West Indies. This was the same period in which West Indies fell to the bottom of the ICC rankings ladder in all three formats of the game. These past twenty years also saw our selectors pick 28 different opening batsmen, 45 fast bowlers, and 39 spinners in Test cricket alone. The selectors’ turnstiles have been busy over the past twenty years. I remind you that, except for an occasional injury break, Greenidge and Haynes were our only opening pair for at least a decade, and Lance Gibbs was the main specialist spinner for nearly twice as long. The data suggests that the CWI Board has been pointing our fingers at the coaches as being responsible for the declining team performances. “In those same past 20 years, we hired 15 men’s team Head Coaches, most of whom spent very little time before they were relieved of the job. Most of the contracts of these Head Coaches were either intentionally made short-term, or were terminated well before they officially ended, suggesting that the coach was the one who had performed unsatisfactorily. Dozens of assistant coaches and supporting technical and management specialists, from all over the world, have also been hired and fired in the same twenty-year period. This data does not include the 5 Head coaches and 13 Assistant coaches engaged for the Women’s team, just in the past 7 years since our Women’s program began in earnest. I remind you that just three years ago, in 2017 after what was a disappointing ODI World Cup performance, the entire Women’s Coaching staff was dismissed immediately on their return home. This came just one year after almost the same women’s team and coaching staff had brought great joy and celebration across our region after winning the T20 Cricket World Cup.

“our cricket is facing great challenges. But I still believe strongly that it also has a tremendous opportunity to improve and grow. Great things can be achieved when the West Indian cricket community strives to think big and think differently, to collaborate and innovate together, and to put insularity and petty cricket politics to bed. Cricket still has a golden chance to drive transformative growth and secure its sustainable long-term future in our West Indian culture for several more decades to come. West Indians are a resilient people. Sir Frank Worrell showed us how to face up to adversity and in honour of his memory, let us pledge tonight to continue to rally around the West Indies.”

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