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Strong leaders were needed to unite and grow a cricket team from the West Indies, not a country but a diverse region. Frank Worrell was one, Clive Lloyd another, so was Viv Richards. In the Age, Greg Baum writes that there has been no one after them to break the freefall West Indies cricket finds itself in, after the latest player payment crisis forced the cancellation of the India tour.
West Indian cricket is nearly irrelevant. Yet their teams still are populated by cricketers who a Caribbean commentator once characterised as "a bit too pleased with themselves". Chris Gayle epitomised them: such a devastating player, so insouciant. No successor to Worrell and Lloyd emerged to temper and tame.
West Indies have opted for a host of changes to their cricket structure in their Systems Report for 2014 and Tony Becca in Jamaica Gleaner is impressed with the emphasis on building professionalism in first-class cricket, with 15 players per team playing under contract and top-grade coaching staff on call. But memory serves him to be wary of how they take effect.
I remember also in the days of Jamaica's county championship, a two-day tournament which featured some of the West Indies contracted players, when many of the West Indies players turned up with sick mothers and aunts, fathers and uncles, in places like Canada and England, and were excused from some of the matches. I hope, really hope, nothing like that happens this time around.