Cozier attacks 'lack of decorum' in squad
Veteran broadcaster Tony Cozier has delivered a stinging broadside at what he called the "lack of decorum" in the West Indies squad during the recently-completed tour to Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Writing in the Barbados-based Nation, Cozier, who reported on both series, said that the management of the tour party left a lot to be desired. It was, he said, clear that it was "divided and deficient, not only in relation to such cricketing issues as fitness and practice but, just as importantly, to standards of dress and demeanour."
He went on to bemoan the slovenly appearance of some members of the squad - officials as well as players - who were seen "in caps and armhole-shirts in the lobbies and bars of their five-star hotels and in elegant restaurants." He singled out Kenny Benjamin, the side's assistant coach, and Ronald Rogers' the trainer, as being seen during national anthems before matches as being the only ones in shorts. And Corey Collymore ("with his unkempt hair and beard") was the worst of the players. "A man is a man and I am my own man," was Collymore's response.
"Anyone chosen for the West Indies, in whatever capacity, should appreciate, or be made to appreciate, that he is no longer his own man but rather a representative of an institution with a long and proud tradition, "Cozier fumed, "and millions of people whose very psyche revolves around it."
Cozier's criticism will hardly come as news to seasoned followers of West Indies cricket. As long ago as 1995 Wes Hall reported at the end of the England tour that a meeting had to be held to address "unacceptable behaviour of some members of the team". That was the series when Winston Benjamin was sent home for disciplinary reasons.
Several subsequent tours have ended with thinly-disguised complaints from managers and officials about the poor approach of some players. Last year's Wisden Cricketers' Almanack described the West Indies A tour of England as "a bad-tempered, unproductive meander around the backwaters of English cricket rather than an exhilarating fast stream to the top".