Caribbean cricket not saved by Twenty20

February 26th, 2008 - 6:11 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Feb 26 (IANS) With money churning Twenty20 tournaments drawing the best of talents, the news should have been a welcoming one for the beleaguered West Indian cricket but even that might not be enough to rehabilitate the condition of sports in the island country. Cricket in the West Indies has suffered from years of neglect and complacency since the Calypso kings ruled world cricket in the 1970s and the ’80s.

The creation of professional leagues in India is expected to harness the country’s cricket talent from a population of a billion and enable the game’s financial superpower to challenge Australia’s on-field supremacy.

Twenty20 is all about excess and instant gratification, but it will be a long, hard road to revival. The team is at the bottom of the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings above stragglers Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and, under new Australian coach John Dyson, won its first Test in 18 months in a shock result against South Africa last month.

Gayle, meantime, expressed enthusiasm for Stanford’s challenge to Australia or England to play a Caribbean all-stars team for $US20 million, winner takes the lot, in Antigua next year.

“We are good enough. Guys deserve an opportunity, at least,” he quoted as saying in The Age.

“At least let’s go and have fun. It’s a lot of money so we will see what happens.”

But long time batsman Darren Ganga said that it the change won’t come overnight.

“We have to understand it is not going to happen overnight, we’re not going to get back to No. 1 status overnight,” Ganga said..

“But events like this is going to pay dividends, probably not in the next year or the next two years but five years down the line. He (Stanford) will probably be the guy who inspired one of the great West Indies players 10 years from now.”

The best West Indies player of his generation, Brian Lara, retired after his side failed to make the semi-finals of the World Cup and earns a lucrative pension in the “rebel” Indian Cricket League (ICL). Fringe fast bowler Tino Best also defected to the ICL, citing the need to provide for his family.

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