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WI can pick themselves up: Bishop

The standard of West Indies cricket has fallen so steeply that it would take a lot to sustained effort to rebuild the national team, former fast bowler Ian Bishop feels. N Ananthanarayanan reports. Switch hit

cricket Updated: Mar 03, 2011 02:21 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

The standard of West Indies cricket has fallen so steeply that it would take a lot to sustained effort to rebuild the national team, former fast bowler Ian Bishop feels.

The twice former World Cup champions have not beaten a fellow Test side in an ODI since the middle of last year.

At the World Cup, they have only faced questions about which direction their cricket is headed. And even Bangladesh, who they face on Friday, have overtaken them in the ICC one-day rankings.

Bishop, doing commentary at the World Cup, told the Hindustan Times: “The standard of cricket in the Caribbean isn't where it should be. It is not tough enough, it is not competent enough. But there are glimpses it is moving in a particular direction.”

There was still spectator interest for domestic cricket in the Caribbean.

And, after a series of player-administration squabbles, Trinidad and Barbados have contracted their players, thus setting down a marker for other islands and also encouraging players to change their mindset and become true professionals.

“I think it will take 4-5 years in the medium-term, just a guess, for what we see now, to come to fruition.

“I'm not saying that in four years the team will be number one in the world; I'm just saying you will start seeing good players come through.

“There must be an understanding of what your roles are, strengths are, how to adapt to international cricket and create a culture and climate of success. And those things don't happen overnight.”

Bishop said the development of West Indies A was encouraging and pinned his hopes on young talent such as batsman Darren Bravo, wicketkeeper Devon Thomas to lift the team in the near future.

The inconsistent performances have made finding sponsors a difficult job but Bishop was confident the administrators would tide over the problem.

“That is a struggle for our administrators. Often we don't appreciate how difficult it is if the product on the field has not performed to a certain standard — sponsors aren't seeing it as attractive enough.

“That is the challenge the island has faced; to get a mega, national sponsor, it is a challenge.”

Major challenges remain, but die-hard cricket fans would hope Caribbean cricket will turnaround before the goodwill from the glorious past completely dies down.