Ernest Hilare, CEO for the region’s cricket board, has so damning reflection on the state of the West I Indies cricket and suffice it to say it is not pretty nor is it optimistic.
Not all of what Hilare says will go down easily with the West Indies cricketers, but he goes ahead to make the comments anyway while speaking at a convention topical to the issue of cricket in the West Indies.
The excerpts are pretty self explanatory. Here goes:
“I listen to our players speak, and they speak of money, that’s all that matters to them – instant gratification.
“There’s no sense of investing in the future coming from them. We are producing young people in the region that we expect, when they play cricket for the West Indies, to be paragons of virtue. That just won’t happen.
“Sometimes when you speak to the players, you feel a sense of emptiness. The whole notion of being a West Indian, and for what they are playing has no meaning at all. They have not been brought up with a clear understanding of what it means, and its importance. But do we blame them?
“Our cricketers are products of the failure of our Caribbean society, where money and instant gratification are paramount. We as a region have some real issues and problems that are producing young men in particular, that cannot dream of excellence. Excellence for them is about the bling, and the money they have.
“Until the High Performance Centre, as a structure of support that has been created now [in Barbados] to prepare the next generation, we will suffer a lot of embarrassments and a lot of awfulness, because our present cricketers are not prepared.
“I keep hearing from people, ‘Fire those [current] guys, and bring in new ones!’, but where is the new set coming from? Who are we going to bring in? Somebody said to me, ‘Bring in the Under-19s. They came third at the Youth World Cup’. And I whispered that almost half of the Under-19 team could barely read or write. The simple fact is that we are producing cricketers who are not capable of being world-beaters in cricket. It’s just a simple fact.
“For the last nine years, we have been chopping and changing. Between 2000 and 2009, the WICB has tried 59 new players in Test match cricket alone. We have put young men in the international arena only to be slaughtered, demoralised, dejected, and the development path they ought to take never really takes place. We can win matches occasionally, but not consistently with what we have. It is not that we do not have the talent, but in today’s cricketing world, having talent alone means absolutely nothing.”