For all his lording of the crease and general God-like status, Sir Viv Richards is a king of the sound-bite. But get him onto a subject he really knows and cares about and you listen.
Sadly, such is West Indies’ plight these days, only the media listen to him when really it should be the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) who ought to take notice of what he says.
“I learned a lot [from Close] and there are things the boss or individual in charge has to say. If guys in the workplace are not up to scratch, it is your job to say they are not up to scratch and suggest things they can do to improve.
“But it is coming near breaking point. The West Indies must think seriously – what is most important? Is it the people with their personal political agendas or the majority of the people who are the supporters of West Indies cricket?”
West Indies’ woes during this tour haven’t courted as much criticism as in previous years, perhaps further emphasising their struggle. Such is their plight, commentators are more concerned than they are angry; concerned that this side, one of the weakest West Indian touring parties, is beneath the required standard to compete at Test level.
There is one man who, Richards believes, shows the courage and passion – not to mention skill – required to compete: Dwayne Bravo.
“When you look and see the way Bravo enjoys his cricket, he could have been part of the 1970s and 1980s,” Richards said. “I hope he realises the job he is faced with in the future in helping us enjoy the game. West Indies cricket is all about enjoying and having fun and at the end being very successful doing it.”
The situation really is this bad. Neither the board or the players’ association (WIPA) can agree on any tour which takes place and, even if they do eventually strike a deal, it usually ends in somebody’s resignation. Furthermore, the board fail to recognise or admit their own enormous failures. It is one big buck-passing sham and, very soon, there may not even be a West Indies team. It’s that serious.
Not even Sir Viv can save them now. A win tomorrow, though still unlikely, would be the most tremendous fillip imaginable for them and I can’t help but wish (guiltily so) Shivnarine Chanderpaul is there to guide them home.