The WICB CEO Ernest Hilaire © West Indies Cricket Board
I thought this was one of the best assessments of the state of West Indies Cricket which was given by Ernest Hilaire, the CEO of the WICB. His comments explains, in my view, why it is idiotic to say “we have the talent” because we really don’t. As I may have said before, talent is not just in physical ability but also in one’s sense of purpose, determination and attitude. That is why when we see a West Indian cricketer on the field sporting that bling coupled with misplaced ego, wearing that maroon West Indian uniform fans and supporters now feel a sense of shame and almost no pride inside. He did say it was going to get worse before it gets better – that has a familiar and scary ring to it – but given the current state of the Caribbean society, I think it can only get better when children are taken straight from the crib and placed into the the High Performance Centre Mr. Hilaire speaks about in the article in the Stabroker News - maybe, just maybe, I am being too drastic. I hope WIPA is not offended by the truth but being offended seems to be one of the goals of WIPA. Here is a quote from that article:-
Hilaire said the players seem devoid of the pride that drove previous successful West Indies teams.
“I listen to our players speak, and they speak of money, that’s all that matters to them – instant gratification,” he said.
“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.”
He said: “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?”
Hilaire conceded this was a sad reflection on wider societal ills in the Caribbean.
“This is what we have produced as a region,” he said. “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.
“Our cricketers are products of the failure of our Caribbean society, where money and instant gratification are paramount.”
Hilaire doesn’t feel confident about the young West Indies cricketers in waiting, questioning the literacy of half the Under-19 team that finished third in the Youth World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year.
He said: “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.”