Lloyd speaks at a function by the T&T Cricket Board November 17, 2006

'West Indies are serious contenders for World Cup' - Lloyd

ESPNcricinfo staff

'The West Indies team has begun to show some improvement in the quest for consistency and that elusive culture of success' © Getty Images
Clive Lloyd, the former West Indian captain, praised the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) for their unstinted support to West Indian cricket over the past 50 years. Lloyd was speaking in a function organised by the TTCB to honour outstanding individuals from the country.

In his address, Lloyd said: "Rebuilding West Indies cricket has become one of the major objectives in my life and the achievement and contribution of the TTCB in its 50 years of service deserves praise." Lloyd credited the Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPCC) as the "premier institution responsible for cricket in Trinidad and Tobago, providing the foundation for the TTCB".

"They provided the impetus," he said, "for the development of cricket in the Caribbean. It was the QPCC and the TTCB and the other local island cricket boards which laid the foundation for West Indies cricket."

Lloyd said "institutions are crucial for the development and success of the West Indies cricket team on the field". He continued: "I was impressed by the vision the TTCB manifested and the enlightened leadership it provided in Trinidad and Tobago and the region, as well as the excellence exemplified by those cricketers who represented this great nation (Trinidad and Tobago) and the West Indies throughout the years."

Lloyd also spoke about the current obstacles facing the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). "From my vantage point, the challenges that obtain in West Indies cricket today are formidable, and the struggle to ameliorate in its current conditions is keen and at times unrelenting, but the president (Ken Gordon) has met it with proportionate determination ... with a straight bat. The result is that this iconic institution has been the most unifying entity in our vast and varying culture.

"The WICB have resolved the impasse between the players and has instituted a plan to deal with the deficit of the board. They have also put in place retainer contracts which were under discussion for a long time. The West Indies team has begun to show some improvement in the quest for consistency and that elusive culture of success. Within the last year, due to Bennett King's [the coach] rigorous training sessions and the eagerness of the team to embrace a winning attitude, the West Indies have performed well against India, winning the series and then performing well in the DLF Cup against India and Australia, as well as recently reaching the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in India," stated Lloyd, who worked with the WI team during the Champions Trophy.

"The West Indies are serious contenders for the ICC World Cup in less than six months' time. The long-term benefit of staging the World Cup in the Caribbean is that the islands will be assisted in the development of infrastructure which will contribute to the development of cricket up to the level of the developed nations.

"Just as the Soca Warriors prove they belong with the elite in football, so too we must prove that we are not only competitive on the field, but we are also capable of throwing the greatest party of all time," Lloyd said.

Among the awardees at the function was the late Ralph Gosine, who was given a special honour as the one of the best umpires produced by T&T. He presided over the game at Test level as well as 50 regional games. The Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPCC) was also praised for its contribution and long service to the sport in the region. Established in 1896, 110 years later it is the only club not to be demoted in league competition.

In addition to the icons of local cricket, the four captains of the Trinidad and Tobago cricket teams that captured the regional title were given due recognition. Michael "Joey" Carew captained the national squad to back-to-back titles in 1970 and 1971; Prince Bartholomew followed in 1976; then Rangy Nanan in 1985; and Daren Ganga led T&T to the regional crown this year after a 21-year drought.

The underappreciated Larry Gomes, current TTCB president Deryck Murray and West Indies captain Brian Lara were honoured as ambassadors of the game.