Friday, 1 January 2016

How to fix West Indies Cricket? End it; and start again with the island nations

From March 1976 to March 1995, the West Indies test cricket team won 71 Tests and lost 20. Since June 2000, they have won 14 and lost 81.

What can be done to make the West Indies a top cricket team again?

Nothing can be done. It is time to end "The West Indies" cricket team and management, and start again.

When the "West Indies" began as a cricket team it could function as a nation, because all the contributing island were part of the British Empire - but now 'the West Indies' exists only as a cricket team, and the islands are now collection of autonomous, rival nations.

Cricket requires team spirit, not just individual talent. West Indies cricket has never been short of talent but the team (and its selection, management, training, strategy) utterly lacks cohesion - and national cohesion is the main basis of successful national teams,

There was a honeymoon period for a few decades after the big Caribbean nations got their Independence in the 1960s, due to ingrained habits and the overlap of generations; but the separate nations inevitably grew apart and became rivals rather than allies with respect to the cricket team.

It is now time to disband the last residue of the West Indies and to see how individual nations - such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados - can function in cricket. The talent pool will be smaller (although the nations might recruit from each other, and especially the smaller islands - perhaps after a qualification period) but this will be compensated by cohesion.

I would not be surprised if one or more Caribbean nation took cricket seriously, and again produced a high quality test team within a decade or two. But (as nearly always) things will need to get worse before they can get better.

It is terribly sad to end the West Indies as a cricket team - with its truly glorious history. But it is even sadder to see what it has now become - and there is no realistic prospect of anything other than further decline.

It is time for a fresh start.