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Legendary West Indies batsman Sir Viv Richards has slammed the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), saying that they have done a “lousy job” with the national team.
Richards’ comments come at a time where the West Indies are currently involved in a series against Pakistan on home soil, but don’t have the services of some of their most gifted players, like Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo, as they are all participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Many, if not all, of those talented players don’t have central contracts, which makes them free to play in any tournament they want.
Furthermore, with the WICB making is compulsory for players to feature in all domestic competitions in order to be considered for selection, it has led to relations between them and some of the cricketers turning very frosty.
“When you have an arrogant administrative unit, guys are going to pick and choose,” Richards told ESPNcricinfo in Mumbai on Wednesday. “We must remember that many of the players come from humble backgrounds. I have no qualms in saying this, some of these administrators think they are as important as the players on the field. They are not. It is all about the attraction of the environment that the players on the field would have created for them to be in an administrative position.
“I think it is a bigger issue than about the guys playing in our domestic competition. Most of the guys played there when they first started out, that’s what they wanted to do. But when you get an administration who thinks that they are the most important entity where West Indies cricket is concerned, they better wake up.
“The players have done their bit in terms of their representation. We lost a series in the UAE recently [in 2016 against Pakistan], now we have lost the T20 series in West Indies to Pakistan. All this after winning the last World T20. That sends a message in my opinion that all is not well with all the players who are representing West Indies at this stage.”
The West Indies failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy in June and are on track to miss out on automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup as only the top eight teams on the rankings receive the privilege.
With the West Indies currently occupying ninth place, they will have to compete in a qualification tournament if they fail to ascend up the rankings by September 30, which is the cut-off date.
The West Indies are faring no better in Test cricket as they sit in eighth place on the world standings. To make matters worse, attendances for matches in the Caribbean are dwindling.
But, despite all the problems the West Indies are currently facing, Richards believes that it is possible for them to turn their fortunes around.
“I am one of those individuals that never says never,” Richards said. “I believe if we start having a little bit more respect for the individuals who would have helped the administrators into that administrative position.
“You have a Michael Holding, who refuses to be part of cricket in the region because of the behaviour of members at the administrative level. It hurts because we are the ones that are the trailblazers, not the ones who have come on the scene at present wanting to be administrators. We are the ones who made it attractive enough for them to administer and they have done a lousy job.”
Besides keeping a close eye on West Indies cricket, Richards has taken up mentor roles with a number of domestic Twenty20 franchises, including the Delhi Daredevils, Melbourne Stars and Quetta Gladiators.
With many young batsmen coming to him for advice, Richards always keeps his message simple, clear and concise.
“Some of these individuals in the coaching department are trying to enhance their product in terms of what they believe coaching is all about,” he said. “If you look at the instinctive nature of players in T20 and the things that they do try, it is tough to coach that. So it is all about getting the guys to be mentally prepared and in a frame of mind that they understand what their duty is. This is such a great format for you to have a swing of the bat. I would have loved that more than anything else.
“Our job is to give them the confidence if necessary. It is to be brave. You will have your bad days, but in the end it is about believing in the product that you have. As they say, he who dares, wins. That sort of mentality, you can take that in, you will have success.”