Grenada PM feels interference by governments inevitable July 3, 2007

Holding blasts WICB for lack of infrastructure

Cricinfo staff

Since they arrived in England in May, West Indies have only won two limited-overs tour matches and one international Twenty20 © Getty Images

Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler, has criticised the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for not developing any kind of domestic infrastructure for quality cricketers to come through to the international level.

Since they arrived in England in May, West Indies have won only two limited-overs tour matches and one international Twenty20.

"It's time someone woke up and realised what is needed," Holding, now a commentator, told BBC Sport. "I think many years ago they just sat down and the cricketers kept coming through and they thought they were doing their job - they weren't doing anything. It was just a natural thing that was happening in West Indies cricket at that time.

"And now that they actually have to try to do something they haven't got a clue what to do."

These remarks echo what Brian Lara had said about his interest in what West Indies was doing at the grassroots level. "I don't see anything in that direction," Lara said. "It doesn't matter who is the coach or who is playing - if the infrastructure isn't there, you're not going to produce the cricket you want to see."

Meanwhile, after West Indies' 79-run defeat in the first one-day international against England, Dr Keith Mitchell, the Grenada Prime Minister, said that it was no longer possible for Caribbean governments to remain uninvolved in the running of the game as they were already involved with the huge amount of money they had invested in the development of facilities.

"Certainly, governments do not want to be involved in the selection of players, of teams and so on but to say that we should not be involved is ridiculous because we've already been involved significantly by the level of investment on behalf of the taxpayers," said Mitchell, who is the chairman of Caricom's sub-committee on cricket.

Mitchell also said that governments had been dragged into interfering in cricketing issues like the contracts case between the West Indies Players' Association and the WICB. "It is clear that we have no choice sometimes but to offer advice and, again, that's the role of the Prime Ministerial sub-committee," he said.