By Sean Devers
After showing plenty of improvement in the recent home series against England, the West Indies crashed to a crushing 10-wicket defeat inside three days in the first of their two-Test series against England at Lords.
Replying to England’s 377, West Indies slumped to 152 before making 256 in their second innings after being asked to follow-on. England reached 32-0 to win.
Former West Indies ‘B’ and Guyana batsman Andy Jackman, who resides in England, expressed disappointment with the team’s performance and feels it all starts from the local level. The 46-year-old believes that little has changed since he last played for Guyana 18 years ago.
Jackman said once the attitude of the players does not change and the coaches at the lower levels don’t pay more attention to proper technique, West Indies cricket will continue to struggle.
“I watched the West Indies team fold like a pack of cards. The standard of cricket in the West Indies is so poor, it’s unbelievable. Some of the batsmen have basic faults and I wonder what their coach is teaching them. Some of these faults aren’t difficult to correct. I hope we get young players with the right attitudes to play, otherwise, we will struggle for a long time” said Jackman, who scored five first-class centuries from 42 matches between 1981 and 1991.
One of those centuries was for Demerara against Berbice and the other four for Guyana including a magnificent innings against Australia at Bourda.
“I am very concerned about the state of cricket in Guyana. It seems to me that things are very much the same as when I played”, Jackman told Kaieteur Sports. “A lot of the insecurity felt by the players was down to how Guyana’s cricket was run by the cricket board and the negative attitude by some of the players.
“Some members of the Guyana cricket board were clueless about cricket and the players’ needs. They said that to have the out-of-town players stay at hotels would be very costly, yet some of the selectors were bringing their partners down, staying at these same hotels, eating the best food available at the hotels,” Jackman, who played six youth Tests for the West Indies between 1979 and 1982, added.
“The lunches that were provided for the players at the ground during trial games were not that good. Yet, we would see the selectors drinking at the game and charging it to the cricket board. My concern is that nothing much has changed from all those years. The Guyana cricket board President is another person who seems to know very little about actual cricket, and from what I am hearing over here, has little control over his executives” the former GCC batsman opined.
“I remember one trial game that was played at the Police ground, I was the captain of one of the teams. We were fielding first and we went onto the field when umpire (Rudolph) Haynes asked me for the ball. I told him that I thought he had it, to which he replied, “No, David Jordon has it”. Jordon was then the secretary of the board. We all left the field to try and call him on the phone.
He was not at home. We had to wait until someone went to a shop and bought one before we could restart the game. This is just an example of how unprofessional and badly organised our cricket was.”
“During that same match, Jordon also forgot to arrange Tea for us and a player from the other team came out to tell us, not to come off at the normal Tea time. They had to send to get soft drinks and buns for us. They fetched it over the back fence of the ground, so that the public watching the game wouldn’t notice,” the elegant stroke player re-called.
Jackman hopes that things in Guyana change quickly for the sake of the talented youths playing the game here.
“Three or four years ago, a Guyana Under-15 team came over to England. I went over to see them play. The boys were so cold that some were afraid to stop the ball. At lunch time, I asked the manager why the players were not wearing jumpers. He told me that the only thing the cricket board gave them was a short sleeve cricket shirt. I could not believe it. Here you have, young men, coming from a warm country to England, for the first time, yet the Guyana Board thought that a short sleeve shirt would be enough.
I was so angry that I drove straight away and bought enough jumpers for all the players. These are the sorts of things a person with good cricket knowledge, would have thought of,” Jackman stressed.
Jackman feels new coach Ravindranauth Seeram should be given some time to ‘grow into the job’ since he thinks the lack of a proper development programme in Guyana makes the job of a coach that much harder, and urges everyone to try and work together to revive Guyana and West Indies cricket and not just get involved for personal reasons.
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