I do not know West Indies cricket history as well as I would like to, and I intend to do more to fill the gaps in my knowledge. Nonetheless during our recent period of darkness in the longer forms of the game I felt that we paid too little attention to its mental side. I was therefore very surprised to read last year of an interview given by Sir Viv Richards in which the latter extolled the contribution of Dr Rudi Webster, the psychologist, to Sir Viv’s success. I was even more surprised to have heard Dr Webster referred to in Dr Beckles’ new book Cricket without a cause as “an architect in the Third rising of West Indies Test Cricket, mental manager of Clive Lloyd’s team in the late 1970s and early ʼ80s”.
The negative reaction to my many recommendations in my letters to the editor to include a psychologist as an integral part of our cricket architecture has convinced me that our fan base was obviously unaware of that part of our history. I find that rather baffling, and even more baffling that Dr Beckles has had so little to say on the subject in his writings, even in this, his latest book. It is nothing short of remarkable that the part played by a psychologist that earned him the description of “architect” in simpler times would not generate more interest in this far more complicated era, and from someone whose declared objective in his latest work is the revival of our cricket. I hope the passive mood used and short shrift given in his book to the demise of the Shell Cricket Academy that was led by the same Dr Webster are not pregnant with significance.
It is also astonishing that Dr Beckles, in the chapter on the new captain Jason Holder, used the circumstance of “Holder`s request for leave from regional cricket duties to participate in the Pakistan Super league, which clashed with Windies first class championship” so soon after his appointment as captain, to demonstrate only how the West Indies Board asserted the ‘Windies First’ policy, without acknowledging the other side of the coin that led me in earlier comments to observe that the patriots were those who did not receive those huge offers to play abroad and the mercenaries were those who did receive such offers, and that the names in those categories would change from time to time.
The biggest error we can make in undertaking the rebuilding project is to ignore reality, one of which is that there are now three and not one format of cricket.