West Indies team gets board's 'total support'
Julian Hunte, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president, says his organisation is putting their "total support" behind the West Indies squad and Clive Lloyd, the team manager, ahead of their upcoming tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Hunte hopes the long campaign is a chance for a new beginning for the team whose fortunes have been dwindling over the last decade.
"We cannot change the past," Hunte stated in a letter to Lloyd. "However, we can learn from it. As the greatest cricketing leader this region has ever known, you have a tremendous task, yet it is one that is not beyond your capacity or your courage. You are the pivotal figure in what we see as a West Indian renaissance.
"We have a new captain in Christopher Gayle and it is important that we not only have synergy within the squad but a symbiosis between you as manager and Gayle as captain. The Zimbabwe tour is preparation for the more arduous and demanding tour of South Africa. There you will be facing a team that is supremely confident. We have the talent but need now to find the inner core of courage that characterised the West Indies team in what is known to all as the 'Clive Lloyd' era."
Hunte said there were deep concerns about the attitudes, behaviour and overall discipline of the squad, "I think that most West Indians will be satisfied with a team that is cohesive and committed. We want to see the team try its hardest. We want a group of young men who are fiercely competitive and who ask, and give, no quarter. Yet, we also want the team to demonstrate the sportsmanship that is the hallmark of the West Indian ethos and impact on the game."
Hunte said every journey begins with a single step and the tour of Zimbabwe is hopefully the first step of "an arduous uphill climb back to the pinnacle of world cricket".
"We do not expect overnight results, but we expect results," he wrote. "The West Indian people have invested considerable emotional currency and need to start reaping dividends."