Offering a few suggestions to improve WICB
I do not know a great deal about the governance issues facing West Indian cricket; but I have great respect for Messrs Patterson, McIntyre and MacDonald who studied them some years ago and submitted their report. I believe it is not too late to adopt some or all of their recommendations.
In order to write sensibly about the long run, one needs a great deal more information about the countries than I have. Accordingly my observations developed over several years of watching carefully, thinking deeply, and focus on what can be realistically achieved during the next few years.
The following are suggestions offered to the WICB and its agencies with a view to improvement of the competitiveness of the national team, indeed to win more matches. They do not appear in order of importance.
Do everything possible to eliminate regionalism and ethnicity from the decision making process. This may require the appointment of a powerful manager, as is done in North American professional sport, who is given significant incentives for success and held totally responsible for failure.
Recognise that the West Indies has a glorious cricket history that is worth a great deal in negotiations with the ICC and other countries, and in its involvement in ICC decision making. For example, have real input in scheduling, tour conditions, disciplining of players, illegality of actions, ball-changing, and in particular, the DRS, which for historic reasons should be of particular interest to West Indies cricket.
Recognise that notwithstanding the glorious past, times have changed and thinking must not be guided solely by what transpired in the old days. The need for specialised Coaching and especially sports psychology come to mind. No matter what the old timers think, the game has in fact changed.
Recognise that the West Indies now have the best group of, say, 20 players than at any time since the beginning of the 21st century and that great care must be taken in preparing and selecting players for tournaments, in some cases explaining to players why they are not selected for particular tournaments or games and reassuring those players that exclusion from one series or game is not tantamount to permanent exclusion.
Recognise the critical importance of providing reasons for decisions on the basis that decisions without reasons are by definition arbitrary, and will, in addition, result in the undermining of confidence in, or respect for the institution, and that decisions must always be evidenced-based. In that area, generally an atmosphere of openness is always to be preferred to one of secrecy.
Recognise the importance of independent thinking in regard to all critical issues.
Recognise that the role of captaincy has changed since the dramatic increases in support staffs over the last two or three decades, thereby making room for more flexibility in the choices available, in addition to making the position less onerous.
Recognise the critical importance of planning and preparation. For example in today’s world in which visas are more widely required, not only should reserve players be required to have visas readily available at WICB’s expense, but West Indian governments must be asked to stand ready at all times to put their diplomatic resources at work for the benefit of the team.
Finally, remember that notwithstanding the protestations of opponents, they believe their national interests are best served by keeping your team at or near the bottom. That should remind you constantly of the requirement that you give all the help and encouragement you can to your players at all times.
Romain WM Pitt