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Too little, too late?

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The move by the CEO of the Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control, Lennox John, with support from the respective individual associations, to put some measures in place to have the islands’ cricketers follow a programme ahead of tournaments is a sign that at last they are getting with it.

But is it too little, too late?{{more}}

John and company may have tried to lock the stables after the horses have bolted.

What took them so long to realise that our cricketers in the four-nation set up are simply above average club cricketers?

However, it cannot be business as usual, whereby players perform at the Windwards tournament, then go back to their rocking chairs and wait on another plane ticket to travel the region.

For too long, these players sat in this comfort zone and became self acclaimed heroes, who are just the best of the worst.

Mind you, it is not that we in these parts expect miracles from the teams, but the least we can expect is a plan for improvement. Although the plan is late, a start is a start.

Stories of players allegedly faking with their fitness and the like should be negated with this initiative taken on by the board.

Also, John and his team of administrators should ensure that it is not a case of tour management’s blanket authority to drop or select players, but must be done in conjunction with the three other selectors’ recommendation and approval.

Reports of tour management asking for a particular player should now be a thing of the past.

In this regard, let us do what the other big cricketing nations do: have a selector move around with the team, especially when the matches are played in neighbouring territories.

At least, they will no longer be called “scorebook selectors.”

Can’t you guys afford that?

But the issues confronting Windwards Cricket are not the final product, but the process, as fundamentally, the structure, or lack of structure in the four islands is what impacts on the teams that are produced.

What obtains in the four islands are autonomous “cricket structures” which vary from one territory to another, hence the obstacles.

Schools’ cricket is not a priority, and club cricket is of a low standard.

Right here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, school cricket is a by-the-way mishap, and the domestic competitions are more of a farce; just to say that we are having competitions, rather than purely developmental, of the individuals and the sport as a whole.

Most players just go through the motions, as at the end of the day, the trophy and the small prize money are meaningless, except for the cause of writing local cricket history.

It transcends and manifests itself on the field of play and the results.

The fact that the Windwards, since placing second in 1982 and 1983, are yet to come near to that achievement, paints the correct picture of the state of play. Then, there was a bunch of talented players, dotted by a few professionals, but commitment was the team’s daily diet.

Today, our representative teams very rarely make 200 runs, and at all levels are not counted among the contenders for any regional title.

Yes, the senior team has Limited Overs triumph to its credit, while the Under-19 and Under-15 have both lifted regional trophies.

But that happens once every blue moon.

For the past 20 years, the Windwards has only been able to put eleven players on the West Indies senior representative teams, for tests and One Day Internationals. That further tells the situation, granted it is much easier to make the West Indies.

And, if what I saw at the recent Under-15 competition is anything to go by, then the Windwards will continue to be tagged, “the Cinderellas of West Indies Cricket”, and the “Whipping Boys”.

Sadly, no one seems to have it. No one’s name is on the lips of the few who chose to look at the Windwards’ cricket pantry.

Then we will often speak of insularity in West Indies Cricket, but the Windwards’ players and the administrators are the charters of their own destiny, by the way they view the sport.

The first excuse is often money. While this may be so, once you have a good product, you are going to get good patronage.

Get a Cricket product, then you will see.

It is not too early in the year to begin to call for the removal of that “ Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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