‘T20 tournaments, interest in other sports’ – Michael Holding on decline in West Indies cricket

Former West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding expressed his disappointment at the team missing out on playing the 2023 ODI World Cup. Michael Holding feels the current West indies cricketers’ interest and liking is for T20 alone.

That’s the sorry story of West Indies cricket, which has steadily been on a decline since their second T20 World Cup triumph back in 2016.

They are a group of players who seem least interested in international cricket and just refuse to gel as a unit.

The ignominy of not being able to secure themselves a World Cup spot for the first time in their history of ODI cricket following the loss to Scotland in the qualifiers is obviously Windies cricket’s lowest point.

They seldom win against top-tier teams. While in the ongoing World Cup qualifiers, their victories over minnows United States and Nepal were far from clinical. The Windies’ decline began in the 90s itself.

But legendary pacer Michael Holding holds a different opinion. According to Holding, the current Windies cricketers’ interest and liking is for T20 alone.

“That (youngsters losing interest in cricket) has been said incorrectly for years. Look at the number of West Indies cricketers playing T20 in the various leagues around the world.

“That’s where the interest is because that’s where the money is. Playing for the West Indies alone, they get left behind,” Holding told The Telegraph on Saturday night.

So, are the West indies cricketers underpaid by their Board?

“They’re paid what the Board can afford. If the T20 tournaments weren’t around, it would be a good salary. They earn more than what 95 per cent of the rest of the people in the Caribbean do. But compared to the T20 earnings, it’s meagre,” Holding replied.

In the franchise (T20) leagues, a Nicholas Pooran is a match-winner, Rovman Powell is an able finisher, while all-rounder Jason Holder is an expert death-overs bowler. But all these players appear a pale shadow of themselves when donning the west indies jersey.

Sunil Narine and Andre Russell, legends in the franchise world, aren’t even available for international cricket.

“They are not the only ones. On one West Indies tour to Australia, there were more Windies players in the Big Bash League than for the West Indies,” Holding pointed out.

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