Sunil Gavaskar’s suggestions to bring West Indies cricket out of slump – “Increase Test match fees but don’t give central contracts,”

Earlier this month, Caribbean cricket hit a new low as they were knocked out of the upcoming ODI World Cup qualification race after suffering back-to-back defeats against Zimbabwe, Netherlands and Scotland in the World Cup 2023 Qualifiers.

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, slated to be held in India from October 5 to November 19, will be the first edition to not feature the West Indies, who won the first two editions of the tournament in 1975 and 1979.

Soon after their dismal campaign in the World Cup Qualifiers, West Indies copped a crushing defeat by an innings and 141 runs in the first Test against India in Dominica.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar attributes the big stage failures to the change in the sport’s economics.

“It is where I went for my first tour and I know a lot of people there,” Gavaskar said at The Indian Express Idea Exchange, reminiscing the old times. “I know the kind of legacy those wonderful cricketers left behind. There’s a pretty laid back temperament which is fantastic but when it comes to playing sometimes a laid back temperament might not get you much results. To Clive Lloyds, Malcolm Marshalls, Viv Richards, Andy Roberts, Michael Holdings, Garners, the wonderful era for West Indies Test cricket, every Test match that they played, was extra income.”

On the current scenario, Gavaskar added, “Today the West Indian players, whether it is Test player or T20 player, all the players all over the world are guaranteed by their central contracts, a hundred thousand dollars or whatever. But if you know the West Indian temperament and you have that much in the bank before you score a run or take a wicket, I am not too sure about a lot of them if it actually matters whether they score runs or not. Because the money is in the bank.

“My suggestion would be to increase the Test match fees but don’t give them central contracts. You are paid for your performance. Then probably they will have a different attitude.”

For the Windies, who currently trail 1-0 in the two-Test series against India having lost the first match inside three days, performances outside of world tournaments have been as concerning. Since their last ICC trophy – the 2016 T20 World Cup win – the team has only won 12 out of 41 bilateral series played at home across formats.

Away from home, outcomes haven’t been any different. Nine wins from 35 bilaterals across formats.

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