Former West Indies captain Viv Richards has said the Caribbean cricket establishment has prevented retired players from helping with the administration but affirmed that he's willing to help revive the game in the region.
"I think cricket is at its lowest tier at the moment in the Caribbean," Richards, who is in India with the Antiguan delegation for the Commonwealth Games, told Reuters. "Lots of work needs to be done to get it to the right prominence and to where folks would believe where we should be. I am not at all involved in West Indian cricket. Most of the former players have been ostracised. Constructive criticism is not much accepted in the Caribbean."
West Indies, once a dominant force in the international game, have endured a barren 15 years, with no major silverware to boast of barring the Champions Trophy in 2004. Their biggest problem has been an inability to produce talent at the rate they used to in their heyday. Richards believes he can contribute on that front, if offered a role similar to the one held by Greg Chappell - now a fulltime national selector as well as talent manager for Australia.
"I would love to take a role like Greg Chappell did for Australia," Richards said. "I think I have a good eye for talent and this is something that we have never taken on board in the Caribbean."
Richards, whose fearless batting made him a top batsman in both Test and ODI formats, endorsed the longer version of the game after the closely contested Mohali game between India and Australia. "The Test match, and the finish - that's cricket for me at its very best. This format sorts the good ones out from the bad ones."
Richards picked Test cricket's two highest run-getters - Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting - as his top batsmen in the game. "Ricky Ponting is the most aggressive for me. I have always liked his aggression. But the role Sachin is playing for India, that's batsmanship at its very best for me. The things Sachin is doing now and the way he did them in the past, are two completely different chapters in his career."
While he held Tests as the pinnacle of cricket, Richards felt the Twenty20 format had the right packaging to take the game to global competitions like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. "That [Twenty20] is the version, it will be the best salesman for cricket as it is short and entertaining. We can't accommodate the longer version," Richards said. Cricket featured in the 1998 Commonwealth Games, when South Africa emerged victorious in an ODI event, but has since been left out.
"I think the more cricket is played at other outlets the better it would be for the game. There are a very few countries who play cricket and we need to do this for the sport."