Bengaluru, October 9: After a massive defeat against India in the first Test at Rajkot, former skipper Daren Ganga said alarm bells have been ringing in the West Indies cricket set up for some years and the systemic issues around it should be sorted out to rescue the sport in the region.
"The alarm bells are still ringing. But they've been ringing from 5 to 7 to 10 years, you get jaded hearing them ring. That's been the case in the West Indian setup. You no longer get a jolt from the performance like Rajkot. Some people are disenchanted while others have given up interest or don't have the energy to fight for reform and put things right because progress has been so slow. There are a select few who aggressively pursue the betterment of West Indian cricket and they're trying to address the deficiences," Ganga told the Indian Express in an interview.
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"Progress cannot be in a vaccum though. There's a great desire for the fortunes to change among the great players of the past. But many of them aren't influential and that's the most frustrating thing. The process of them getting into the leadership positions isn't democratic. So, it ends up being a lot of lip-service. And breaking away into regional outfits isn't a solution, it's just a statement made after such heart-breaking defeats," said Ganga.
Ganga, who made his Test debut in 1998, said the West Indies domestic cricket too lacks quality these days.
"The quality of players aren't anywhere near those in the 1990s when the Laras and Ambroses would play in our first-class cricket. Every region has 15 centrally contracted players dedicated to playing all-year-round but that security of tenure doesn't make them better cricketers.
"The backend of their programme of development is non-existent. It's left to chance. You don't know what's happening in Guyana as against Barbados as against Jamaica. Because we have a small pool of quality players the competition isn't great. So players are being selected on potential for international cricket and not performance," he said.
However, Ganga said they have nucleus of players who could be groomed to become Test players. "We've had a nucleus of players who have been groomed for Test cricket, and we have been able to win Tests against higher-ranked teams in the last year. Our record isn't that bad. These are not peripheral players who have been isolated into the Test format.
"The problem is the young players who are sacrificing first-class cricket to play T20 cricket. Like Evin Lewis who burst on to the scene and dominated T20 and ODI has gone off the boil a bit. There should be a dialogue between the powers that be and these youngsters. There is a disconnect there that is not helping Test cricket," he said.