Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop is calling for a better relationship to come to the fore between the West Indies Cricket Board and the players.
Bishop, who played 43 Tests in an outstanding but injury-plagued career, said some degree of harmony between players and administrators was a crucial factor in getting West Indies cricket out of the international doldrums.
“There are many things that must be done to take West Indies cricket forward. In my view, there must be a better relationship between the administration and the players. This is a vital element that is missing from our cricket and it is a key factor that must be fixed,” Bishop told Barbados TODAY during an interview.
He pointed out that currently there were a number of West Indies cricketers such as Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and older players such as Rayad Emrit, who did not play international cricket and younger players like Evin Lewis who were in demand by the various domestic Twenty20 leagues across the globe.
“We obviously have a great talent base and I feel that the good relationship that is lacking between the players and the administrators will be the key in the management of these players. I know that a lot of these guys enjoy playing international cricket for the West Indies. Therefore, how we manage our human resources is going to be very important,” Bishop said.
He explained that the modern West Indian cricketer operated differently from the players of his era and those who played before him.
“Society has changed; the modern player is in many ways more savvy. I think the modern administrator must have an understanding of the mentality of the modern player. I am not saying that every thing the modern player does is right. I can point out a number of things that I would like to see our players do differently. But in order to get them to change the way they operate, the administrators must understand them. They must be able to communicate with them and press the [right] buttons. Which might be different buttons from 15 or 20 years ago,” Bishop said.
The noted cricket commentator and analyst noted that as a parent the way he communicated with his children was different from that of his parents because times had changed.
“Today’s young generation is different. Their lifestyles are different. What they need from society is different. Communications is the key. The administration got to come to terms with modern society,” Bishop stressed.
He pointed out that there were still several positive factors in West Indies cricket.
Among these he said was the West Indies Twenty20 team winning the International Cricket Council’s Championship in 2016.
Bishop said the West Indies’ lifting of the ICC Twenty20 trophy in India last year was an indication that they could be one of the best teams in the world.
Bishop, who has been a frequent feature on television and radio since his retirement from international cricket in 1998, and regional cricket in 1999, described the regional one-day team as “a work still in progress”.
He suggested that a lot of work had to be done to get the Test team on par with the other top international teams.
He said he was absolutely convinced of the presence of cricket talent in the region.
“When I see Roston Chase, Shai Hope and young Powell (Rovman) from Jamaica, I see talent coming through. How we mature and procure that talent remains a challenge,” Bishop said.
Relationships between the WICB and a number of senior international players have soured in recent years. The proliferation of high-paying Twenty20 leagues across the globe that often clash with regional tournaments and West Indies duties, and the preference of several players to play in those tournaments, has seen the WICB enforce a hardline policy of availability for regional tournaments being linked to West Indies selection.
Disputes related to salaries and WICB president Dave Cameron’s management style have also surfaced in recent years. Cameron has insisted that West Indies cricket does not revolve around only the international players but involves all those playing domestic cricket. He has also been insistent on linking monetary reward and incentives for international players to their on-field performances.