Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cricket Lovely Cricket

Last Sunday had a grand day out at Derbyshire County Cricket Club watching Derbyshire play West Indies A.

When we arived the weather was warm. The picnic bags were full. The West Indies were fielding.

When we left, after an excellent day's fun, the weather was still warm, the picnic bags were empty and Derbyshire won by 30 runs. Here's the scorecard.

Here's a report from the Gleaner.

The International Cricket Council is investing heavily in promoting cricket in its current Associate and Affiliate member counties. And that's a good thing. The more countries playing cricket the better.

However it needs to look at the decline of cricket in the Caribbean. Those of us of a certain generation grew up watching Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Alvin Kallicharan and Clive Lloyd conquer the world. We are now saddened by the decline in West Indian cricket. Indeed a simple search on google for "west indian cricket" decline gets 565 responses.

Here's a serious piece, by Jeffery Mordecai, that blames the West Indies Cricket Board's imposition of "a ridiculous eligibility rule" as, a major, reason for the decline. In 1994 the Board made eligibility for the West Indian team depend on playing in domestic inter-island competitions. As Mordecai argues
Our administrators chose instead to put all their efforts into developing and improving our domestic regional and national competitions. This was and is an admirable policy initiative, for the long run, but cannot fully replace foreign professional competition in the short to medium term.

The Eligibility Rule has destroyed the very ingredient that led to our dominance of world cricket by providing that you cannot represent the West Indies unless you represent your territory in all the rounds of the domestic regional competition. In other words, if you secure a professional contract you cannot play for the West Indies.

What is the equivalent rule in the other international sports? There is none!

Does Dwight Yorke have to play every match in the domestic season for Joe Public to represent Trinidad and Tobago in football? Do Brazil and Argentina prohibit their best players from playing abroad?

Such a rule would be impossible to conceive in any other international sport but in our case, the national association (WICB) unbelievably imposed it on themselves, without any input from the ICC
Put like that, will anyone be surprised when the West Indies will soon struggle to beat Bangladesh.

No comments: