T20 has messed our cricket up - Lloyd
Former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd has said that West Indies cricket has been "messed up" by the T20 format, creating a situation where playing Tests for the country did not seem to be a paramount goal for players.
Speaking at the Annual New Year's lecture in Cape Town, which is also hosting the third Test between South Africa and West Indies, Lloyd said that the ICC needed to be stronger and that the game could not be ruled by only three countries - a reference to the governance and financial restructuring of the ICC cricket's governing body, which took place last year and was based on changes devised by the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the ECB.
"They [the players] earn a good wage and that's the situation that they have. They have the choice to play Test cricket or T20," Lloyd, who is head of the West Indies selection panel, said. "We are small islands and if you get a whole host of money, you are a king. This T20 competition has messed our cricket up.
"Someone like Andre Russell, I spoke to him only a month ago and said you can get into our Test side because you are one of the best allrounders in the world. A couple of weeks later he told me he has got a bad knee and could only play one-dayers. It's such a waste that we have a guy who could be a great cricketer who is now not thinking of playing both formats. We have contracts, probably not as exorbitant as others, but they are getting good money. It doesn't seem playing for our country is paramount where these players are concerned.
"I don't think there is any cricketer who should strike for money now because they are well paid. We have to impart to our young people the importance of playing for your country. Money is a subsidiary of success."
Lloyd, who has had stints as an international match referee and as chairman of the ICC's cricket committee, said that the ICC should be running the game and it was important for the governing body to work out a better system of revenue distribution for all countries. The revamp of the ICC last year, based on changes devised by the Indian, Australia and English boards, gave more influence to the three boards. Lloyd also stated that policies like the use of Decision Review System (DRS) should be unanimously followed.
"I agree that the ICC must be stronger. It should be like the FIFA or the IOC [International Olympic Committee] - very strong in the things they do. FIFA said when you kick the ball back to the goalkeeper he has got to kick it out. I don't see Italy and England and France saying we are not playing. We have one team playing without DRS. If we have something it has got to be globally done. Everybody has got to work together.
"We can't have three countries ruling cricket. It can't be done. It comes back to money. I hope one day everything will come back to normal. I think the ICC should be running cricket. They should say to the highest bidder, television company to send out a tender - saying we want 5 million for so many Test matches for the next couple of years. That money should be distributed either on rankings or equally. That money can be used to run cricket properly. Players can be paid better. If we are saying Test cricket is the highest cricket you can play, you should be paid better. We all have to sit down and work out a better system for all countries."
Lloyd gave the example of West Indies, who could benefit from the distribution of TV revenues: "Where West Indies is concerned, we have a special case. We have to fly everywhere. We can't drive anywhere. you can't go by boat either. It's expensive for West Indies to hold Test series. It's in high season and we have to compete with that. We can't fill the stadium. We don't have the amount of people to do so. Television would help us out in that respect. We would just play cricket and we wouldn't have any wranglings. We have a system."
Lloyd said that the establishment of a national cricket fund, to aid retired cricketers, is imperative and the fund could be built through proceeds from one game of a Test series, or a percentage of television deals.
"In spite of the big contracts a few of our players receive for various T20 tournaments, we must recognise that these are only a few players and it is imperative that a national cricket fund be established," he said. "We should play a game in every Test series and those proceeds should go to a fund for retired cricketers. When we have television deals, a percentage of that should go to the fund. There are quite a few people who played for their country and I think they should have some remuneration."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent