Chanderpaul cited as cricket role model in Barbados survey

Professor Sir Hillary Beckles said a survey of cricket fans in Barbados found Shivnarine Chanderpaul to be a role model in West Indies cricket which is in decline due to mismanagement and financial motivations rather than love for the game. 

Professor Sir Hillary Beckles delivering the feature address at the Guyana Cricket Board annual awards ceremony Friday night at the Umana Yana. (Lawrence Fanfair photograph)
Professor Sir Hillary Beckles delivering the feature address at the Guyana Cricket Board annual awards ceremony Friday night at the Umana Yana. (Lawrence Fanfair photograph)

Sir Hillary made this declaration in his feature address at the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) annual awards ceremony held at the Umana Yana on Friday. He said 50 students conducted the research with about 2,000 participants and after tabulations they found about 10 reasons for the decline of the game.

“I want to share this very interesting information with you, as they were also asked to go back into the field to find out what needs to be done, to remedy and rectify the decline of our cricket. The public opinion gathered by the students, was of serious concern,” Sir Hillary said. Listed by priority, he recounted the reasons to a captive audience that could be heard murmuring in agreement.

Listed under the subtitle ‘The Rise and Fall’ the researchers found that West Indies cricket had achieved excellence and was on top for 15 years. They said too that once excellence was achieved it should not have been lost and the West Indies team of the ’80s achieved excellence and should now explain how they lost it.

The survey found too there was a loss of technical skills. Some members of the current team of cricketers do not have the same level of skill as their predecessors in the areas of batting, bowling, fielding and strategic planning.

“I am amazed when I hear of our young fast bowlers who have lost the art of managing the ball. We have seen the loss of technique by some members of the present crop of cricketers,” he said.

Loss of interest was also cited in the survey. “Our cricketers are being distracted by other sports, example basketball, football and even golf. Sir Garfield Sobers once said that if he could relive his life over today, he would become a professional golfer instead of a cricketer,” Sir Hillary told the audience. The WICB was also cited for mismanaging the game. It was found guilty of “sitting on the laurels of the great achievements of our players of yesteryear. They assumed that there was a lot of room where that came from, which meant they never made room for replacement when the stars left,” he said, adding that “If you’re beating somebody at 19, they should not be defeating you at 23.” Sir Hillary suggested that this happened because the person learnt from his mistakes and made the necessary improvements while the WICB failed to put any plan in place.

Failure of masculinity was also another reason cited for the decline in the game.  West Indian men are not as they used to be, the survey stated. “They are not mature enough as grown men. Even the mental profile of the team today, compared to 50 years ago, is a big mental gap which has severe implications,” Sir Hillary said.

Political purpose was also cited in the study. Cricket should be driven by a bigger sense of political interest and agenda, the study found. The weakness of Caribbean integration was  also found to be a factor. The Caribbean identity and experience is not as strong as it used to be and “Insularity is affecting the pride of the team,” the report said.

Economic and financial security of the area boards was also found to be a factor.  “We do not have the facilities, neither have we developed, in comparison to the other countries we compete against,” he said, adding “In the third world, we are lacking in infrastructural development, whilst in the first world, we are first in history.”

The study found too that cricket is a business. “Our young generation of cricketers is not playing for their identity or the love of the sport. They are not even playing for the pride of the maroon cap they wear, but rather the pride of the green. They are mostly motivated by financial objectives,” it said. Sir Hillary said the review found intellectual inferiority also affected the game. “We are the least academically certified cricket team competing on the big stage. Given such, we cannot embrace the latest technology due to our academic standing. Our young cricketers need high intense academic training,” he said.

In closing, Sir Hillary said an Academy for West Indies cricket is being designed and work will soon start.

Source: Stabroek News

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