That West Indies cricket isn’t what it used to be, is an established fact for decades now. The once fearsome team that dominated the game has now become one whose Test status is questioned. That they capitulated to an innings and 272-run loss against India in the first Test in Rajkot highlighted these doubts.
However, it is also hard to deny that the quality of the cricketers they have kept producing in the last few years, especially in limited overs cricket. They won the men and women’s World T20, as well as the Under-19 World Cup all in the same year, and have managed to shine in Tests sporadically.
But the inconsistent performances at the international level, as well as the fluctuating teams, do not help their cause. According to former captain Daren Ganga, the biggest reasons for these erratic performances can be traced back to the grassroots level in the Caribbean islands – the lack of quality coaching, a small pool of players and petty politics in administration.
“Let’s not forget that India is a performing team while Windies are a forming team,” Ganga told the Indian Express in an interview. “That will amplify the gap between the two squads. While people on the outside only see these 12-15 players representing the West Indies, they don’t see the back-end of what is happening with our cricket and the systemic issues around it.”
Elaborating on the problems plaguing Windies cricket he said, “Our coaching education programme and the coaching certification programme haven’t been in existence for many number of years. When you think about how that’s not been consistently addressed over the years, you realise there’s been over a generation of cricketers who’ve been coming out of the grassroot levels, who have not interfaced with quality coaches, not learnt the proper technique or approaches, who are currently going through a process of unlearning and therefore developing into substandard cricketers.”
Ganga also lamented the fact that there are no academies like the Australian Institute of High Performance, which many Windies players attended in the past.
The other major factor is the administration, which has been in constant loggerheads with the players to the extent that former captain Darren Sammy called them out publicly after winning the World T20.
“There are lot of things being done to change but there is an old guard that continues to hold on to power, like the incumbent group of executives in Trinidad & Tobago who continue to inherit power. Those in control are not willing to relieve them because their self-interest comes in between with the greater good of the game,” Ganga added.
Read the full interview here.