T20 ‘has messed our cricket up’, says Clive Lloyd

"It doesn't seem playing for our country is paramount where these players are concerned"

“It doesn’t seem playing for our country is paramount where these players are concerned”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

West Indies chief selector Clive Lloyd believes that the country’s cricket structure has been “messed up” by Twenty20 cricket.

Lloyd is also infuriated at the fact that players are starting to prioritise ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals over Tests.

“They [the players] earn a good wage and that’s the situation that they have,” Lloyd said at the Annual New Year’s lecture in Cape Town. “They have the choice to play Test cricket or T20.

“We are small islands and if you get a whole host of money, you are a king. This T20 competition has messed our cricket up.

“Someone like Andre Russell, I spoke to him only a month ago and said you can get into our Test side because you are one of the best all-rounders in the world. A couple of weeks later he told me he has got a bad knee and could only play one-dayers. It’s such a waste that we have a guy who could be a great cricketer who is now not thinking of playing both formats. We have contracts, probably not as exorbitant as others, but they are getting good money. It doesn’t seem playing for our country is paramount where these players are concerned.

“I don’t think there is any cricketer who should strike for money now because they are well paid. We have to impart to our young people the importance of playing for your country. Money is a subsidiary of success.”

 Lloyd, who led the West Indies to World Cup glory in 1975 and 1979, also noted that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should organise a better revenue distribution system.

“I agree that the ICC must be stronger. It should be like the FIFA or the IOC [International Olympic Committee] – very strong in the things they do,” Lloyd said. “FIFA said when you kick the ball back to the goalkeeper he has got to kick it out. I don’t see Italy and England and France saying we are not playing. We have one team playing without DRS. If we have something it has got to be globally done. Everybody has got to work together.

“We can’t have three countries ruling cricket. It can’t be done. It comes back to money. I hope one day everything will come back to normal. I think the ICC should be running cricket. They should say to the highest bidder, television company to send out a tender – saying we want 5 million for so many Test matches for the next couple of years. That money should be distributed either on rankings or equally. That money can be used to run cricket properly. Players can be paid better. If we are saying Test cricket is the highest cricket you can play, you should be paid better. We all have to sit down and work out a better system for all countries.”

In terms of West Indies cricket, Lloyd feels the national team can benefit from the distribution of TV revenues.

“Where West Indies is concerned, we have a special case,” he said. “We have to fly everywhere. We can’t drive anywhere. you can’t go by boat either. It’s expensive for West Indies to hold Test series. It’s in high season and we have to compete with that. We can’t fill the stadium. We don’t have the amount of people to do so. Television would help us out in that respect. We would just play cricket and we wouldn’t have any wranglings. We have a system.”

Lloyd added that a national cricket fund should be established in order to help retired cricketers.

When asked how this would be funded, the legendary captain said: “In spite of the big contracts a few of our players receive for various T20 tournaments, we must recognise that these are only a few players and it is imperative that a national cricket fund be established.

“We should play a game in every Test series and those proceeds should go to a fund for retired cricketers. When we have television deals, a percentage of that should go to the fund. There are quite a few people who played for their country and I think they should have some remuneration.”

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