West Indies cricket will miss Lloyd (11 July 1999)

11 July 1999

West Indies cricket will miss Lloyd

Tony Cozier

When the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) sifts through the applications for the post of team manager in the next few months, it should reflect on the sad saga of Clive Lloyd.

It must ensure that it does not repeat the same mistakes that transformed the initial enthusiasm and commitment of the current manager into frustration and despair.

Unlikely to seek, or be granted, a renewal of his contract, our most successful Test captain will be a great loss to the administration and development of West Indies cricket.

Interpretations

Lloyd's case is unusual in that he and the board appear to have placed different interpretations on his job description.

But it raises the question of what the manager's role should be.

Is it better to leave it to an experienced administrator entirely divorced from the cricket, as is done by most other teams, or is a former player's cricketing experience necessary, in spite of a limited administrative background?

The ideal is a combination of the two as we have been fortunate to have had in the past with such as Gerry Alexander, Clyde Walcott, David Holford and Wes Hall. But it is imperative that the contracts are explicit.

West Indies cricket was in a state in 1996 when the WICB influenced Lloyd to return to help straighten things out.

His reputation as captain of the great teams of the 1980s was legendary and, resident in England and away from the mainstream of West Indies cricket for some time, it was felt his would be a wise and detached influence.

He arrived at the end of the World Cup during which Richie Richardson had resigned as captain, Andy Roberts had been sacked as coach, Wes Hall had ended his term as manager and Brian Lara was on two disciplinary charges.

Soon, a New Dispensation, with Pat Rousseau as the new president, had taken over the board and there were new selectors.

Lloyd was first made coach for the home series against New Zealand. But he was generally regarded as the supremo with the responsibility of restoring the prestige of West Indies cricket.

Coaxed by the board into taking the job, giving up posts with Lancashire, his old county, and a promising career as an ICC match referee (he officiated in the 1996 World Cup (semifinal and final), Lloyd had reason to believe that his assignment would be far-reaching.

He spoke then of identifying talent and getting players up to standards expected of Test cricket - "in terms of actual cricket, in behaviour, in attitude, the lot".

Administrative

He wanted former players to be involved, urged the establishment of an academy and went around the Caribbean talking to presidents and prime ministers about what governments could do.

Lloyd's remit, and involvement, was changed when Malcolm Marshall, on his backing, was made coach and he was appointed manager on three-year contracts in October, 1996.

His duties now were principally administrative, such as paying fees and checking hotel reservations, airline bookings and social engagements even though he was responsible for team discipline, was one of the selectors on tour and, always with an eye on his players, seldom missed a net session.

But, as far as he was concerned, that was not all that he came back for.

"According to my contract, I should be involved in the development of West Indies cricket," he said.

"That means from the age-group level, the Under-15s and Under-19s. I should be going around, talking to players, giving them the impetus about what is expected when they get in the West Indies team."

Above all, Lloyd remained adamant that he should be on the selection panel proper, not simply on tour.

"I'm accountable for the team on tour and I think I should be able to help choose those players I'm accountable for," he said, pointing out that he saw every match played by the West Indies, more than any of the appointed selectors.

It was a disillusion that became increasingly pronounced with the team's successive failures overseas.

It is a pity that it had to come to that, for West Indies cricket does not have many leaders with Lloyd's credentials. But, at least, his successor should know exactly where he stands from the start.

Source :: The Barbados Nation

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