Former Jamaica PM saddened by the state of West Indies cricket

(Jamaica Observer) The overall state of West Indies cricket has been a source of irritation, agony and pain for millions of West Indian fans in the Caribbean and the Diaspora, not the least of them being retired Prime Minister of Jamaica, PJ Patterson.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer before the start of the first Test match between the West Indies and England at Kensington Oval in Barbados last week, Patterson, an avid cricket fan and who, along with Ian McDonald and Sir Alistair McIntyre, formulated a document recommending, among other things, a new governance structure for West Indies cricket years ago, insisted that the trajectory of West Indies cricket needs to change if the region is to experience greater and more positive results on the international scene.

Retired Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson speaking on West Indies cricket while armed with a copy of his autobiography, My Political Journey, at his St Andrew home last week. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

“I’m still saddened by the state of West Indies cricket. Who could be otherwise but sad?” the famed attorney-at-law questioned.

“We have been turning the corner for a very, very long time. Let’s hope that somehow the corner is going to end and we are going to get better. There is no doubt about it, there will have to be changes in the governance structure. We are in a far different situation in 2019 than we were when we began to see the emergence of West Indies cricket as a force in the 1960s and beyond,” the senior political strategist argued.

While acknowledging that talent within the region was available, he said that talent without application was meaningless “in a game like cricket where application of talent is so important. No matter how naturally gifted our players are, if they don’t seek to hone those talents and perform in accordance with the discipline that is required of the game they will not go far”, he went on.

But doesn’t the administrative screws need to be tightened? was the next question put to the elderly statesman, now 83. “Oh definitely! was the sharp response. And isn’t there a need to bury some of those egos? was the follow-up. “Sure!” the author of the book My Political Journey readily agreed.

“The truth is, I have almost given up that it’s going to happen. After the triumphs in India a few years ago, where we won the Under-19, the Women’s and we won the T20 for the men, I thought that that was a crucial interval or achievement that we should convert into us changing up some of the structures. I made a tremendous effort to get it done, it didn’t go anywhere, and I can’t be party of what seems to be the continuing feud,” he said.

The emphatic victory by the West Indies over England in the first of three Test matches at Kensington Oval last week will no doubt please Patterson, who, as a schoolboy, represented Calabar High School at table tennis but has had a long association with cricket for several decades.

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