Ricky Skerritt, the Cricket West Indies (CWI) president, has slammed the splashing of cash over the past two decades with very little to show for their vast investment.
The West Indies, currently in New Zealand on their second Test tour this year, have been accused of not making a significant improvement performance-wise despite over US$250m being injected over the past 20 years.
They are scheduled to play a trio of one-day matches, starting next week (27 November), against the hosts before they contest a pair of Test matches that begin on 3 December. Skerritt made the shock statement this week during his ‘Reforming CWI For Improved On Field Results’ lecture as part of the 20th annual Frank Worrell Memorial Lecture, which was virtually hosted by the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
The St. Kitts & Nevis-based former West Indies team manager was voted in as CWI president following a ballot conducted in at the Kingston Pegasus hotel in Jamaica in March 2019, but he omitted during his rant with facts and figures to mention that the Windies are the reigning T20I (Twenty20 International) world champions.
Skerritt pledged after his win over long-standing and controversial Jamaican Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron: “I’m humbled and deeply honoured to be elected as president, and pledge to work for improvement on and off the field for West Indies cricket.”
This week he addressed the topic online about the CWI and claimed: “The cost of personnel remuneration during the last 20 years has been astronomical.
“CWI spent a quarter of million US dollars on our players, coaches, and full-time staff during the past 20 years. This US$250m does not include the cost of travel, sustenance and housing our many coaches, players and administrative support people when on tour.
“CWI has undoubtedly spent heavily on our teams, without any sustainable improvement in performance. And, in contrast to the relatively poor results we have achieved, we have massively increased expenditure on personnel by more than 600% in 20 years.
“Expenditure was poorly targeted with too much resulting waste. Altogether CWI handled in excess of US$700m US dollars in the past 20 years, including significant income earned from hosting the ICC 2007 One Day International (ODI) Cricket World Cup. What do we have to show today, after so much expenditure? Certainly not enough returns on the field of play.
Skerritt backed up his comments with data, which showed that the Windies have won only 41 Test matches out of 194 contests over the past 20 years, which equates to a mere 21% of success. And over the same period the Windies fared slightly better with 32% of triumphs from 434 ODI games and 45% of victories from 124 T20I encounters
He explained that the CWI selectors had picked 18 different captains and picked more than 150 players to represent the West Indies.
Skerritt added: “These past 20 years also saw our selectors pick 28 different opening batsmen, 45 fast bowlers and 39 spinners for Test cricket alone.
“The CWI selectors’ turnstiles have been busy in the past 20 years. I remind you that, except for an occasional injury break, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes were our only opening pair for at least a decade, and Lance Gibbs was the main specialist spinner for nearly twice as long.
“We hired 15 men’s team head coaches in those same past 20 years, most of whom spent very little time before they were relieved of the job. Most of the contracts of these head coaches were either intentionally made short-term, or were terminated well before they officially ended, suggesting that the coach was the one who had performed unsatisfactorily.
“Dozens of assistant coaches and supporting technical and management specialists, from all over the world, have also been hired and fired in the same 20-year period.
“The poor win-loss ratio, the numerous panicky team selection changes, the extremely high turnover of coaches and the long list of team captains tell a sorry story of poor returns on investment by CWI.
“It also suggests that West Indies cricket administrators need to be more strategic and comprehensive in addressing the growing need for us to change the way we operate and the decisions we make – as producers of the West Indian cricket products.
“Cricket still has a golden chance to drive transformative growth and secure its sustainable long-term future in our West Indian culture for several more decades to come.
“West Indians are a resilient people. Sir Frank Worrell showed us how to face up to adversity, and in honour of his memory, let us pledge to continue to rally around the West Indies.”
New Zealand v West Indies tour schedule
Eden Park, Auckland
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
Seddon Park, Hamilton
Basin Reserve, Wellington
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