'Our infrastructure is terrible' - Lara
Brian Lara, the former West Indies captain, has said that the administrative infrastructure for cricket in the West Indies has to improve before the team can become consistently competitive again.
Lara, who scored 11,953 runs in 131 Tests, was speaking at the World Travel Market in London last week, where he was part of a contingent representing Trinidad & Tobago as a tourist destination. He was not surprised West Indies failed to hammer home the advantage in the first Test against India, and ultimately ended up losing by five wickets.
"[We] still have a very long way to go,' Lara told the Caribbean Tourist Organisation. "I would not have been surprised if we won this game, because I know what we are capable of -- sporadic, good sporadic performances -- one here, one next year, but in terms of consistency, Trinidad, West Indies lack that, and that is not something that you regain overnight."
I think our infrastructure is terrible administratively, we have got it wrong on many occasions."
A key problem, according to Lara, was the tumultuous relationship between the cricket board and the players. "Our player-board relationship -- that has gone wrong for many years, gone sour, and we need to improve these things, fix it, set a base, get the infrastructure in, and then think about five, ten years down the line.
"So it might be a dismal outlook, but if we keep just trying to put a plaster on every sore that we have, it's not going to work. So I hope one day somebody's going to take it up and really get things going."
Lara said there was still plenty of cricketing talent in the region, but it needed to be developed and nurtured properly. "On any given day, I think we've got the best talented cricketers in the world," Lara said. "It's always been the case over the years, since even before my days … cricket has gone a long way now. Talent is only a very small part compared to 20, 30 years ago, when it was a major part -- your physical fitness, your talent -- that played a bigger role.
"Now [with] technology, there is a lot of things coming into play, and I say it all the time -- we in the West Indies take very good talent and make it average, and people like Australia and England and India take average talent and make it very, very good, and that is where the problem lies."