Cricket, like many other sports, challenges both the body and the mind, but it is not an academic discipline. Professor Beckles is a renowned scholar. His knowledge of the history of West Indian cricket gives him the right to expect his views on the reasons for its decline to be accorded respect. I do not myself agree with his views on that subject, while respecting his scholarship in the areas of his expertise. The IMF has been, for a long time, an equal opportunity destroyer of working people in the less developed countries of the world, but we must look elsewhere for the causes of the depressed state of our cricket. The economic environment in which our players were either competitive or dominant (1948-1995) differed very little from that of the modern period in which they languished. A better explanation lies in the apparent inability of management to make the adjustments necessary to deal with modern cricketers, who have more income options, tend to be less respectful of authority figures and also less verbally communicative for “technological” reasons. The reaction of management to these challenges has been purely punitive. In fact they have missed several opportunities for constructive engagement with players.
It is a serious error to divide the game, for the purpose of awarding contracts, into red-ball and white-ball categories. The proper categories for all purposes are (a) the longest form of the game; (b) the shorter form of the game; and (c) the shortest form of the game.
Contracts and remuneration should be awarded on the basis of skill and experience only, and players should agree to play in whatever format they are selected, and indeed be encouraged to do so.
It is precisely this foolish division that has been the cause of the pigeonholing of cricketers that has contributed to the lowering of standards, and reduction in success internationally.