Former West Indies international Ian Bishop has refused to put the blame on current set of players for the team’s disastrous show in the ongoing ICC ODI World Cup Qualifier that resulted in the team missing the bus for the global event for the first time in their history.
Bishop says the erstwhile powerhouse’s decline has been gradual and it’s been happening for a decade now. West Indies won the inaugural ODI World Cup in 1974 before successfully defending it in 1979 to establish themselves as the world’s best.
However, they will not be part of the 2023 ODI World Cup after being eliminated from the race following a seven-wicket defeat to Scotland on Saturday.
“Yes, it has been a gradual decline. I’ve always said this pre-dates this group of players. We haven’t played consistently good ODI cricket against the top nations for perhaps a decade now. The T20 team, after having been two-time champions, they have slid,” Bishop told ESPNcricinfo.
Bishop, 55, compared West Indies’ slide to a corporation’s decline triggered by lack of vision.
“So like big corporations who were at one time at the peak of their powers, and then through, I suppose, a lack of vision or whatever you want to call it, they disappeared off the business scene, (and that is what has happened) for West Indies cricket, two-time world champions, who popularised the field for ODI cricket,” he said.
He added, “…..we need all hands on board to get the representation back to where it needs to be.”
Bishop admitted that even if West Indies manage to get back to their best but it won’t be like the way they world cricket in the 80s and 90s.
“We will never dominate like we did in the ’80s and the first half of the ’90s. I think other teams around the world are too good. We have serious economic challenges in the Caribbean, which the authorities around the world have to look at,” Bishop said.
“But I still think when I look at, for example, where Zimbabwe were, and the troubles they have gone through, and how well they have played in this tournament, I think we have enough there to do even better next time around, if there is synergy,” he added.
Bishop says the motivation of players has changed and West Indies cricket will have to adapt.
“I think it is a different time. What motivated Sir Vivian Richards and Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes and Clive Lloyd, globalisation has sort of dissipated that. So the motivations are now different, and I accept that,” Bishop said.
“If it is more financial and economic, then we have to ride with that time and provide experiences and platforms where the players gravitate towards that,” he added.
Bishop played 43 Tests and 84 ODIs between 1989 and 1997 also thinks that though the motivation to play for West Indies is there, the calibre of players isn’t the same.
“There is still, as I speak to players, a desire to play for West Indies, but there are not as many of that calibre as there may have been in times past,” he said.
Bishop also wants the West Indies to persist with head coach Darren Sammy and captain Shai Hope despite the world cup debacle.
“We have changed captains and coaches. We now have to give support and time to the incumbents and make sure we give them the support staff. Zimbabwe, in this tournament for example, have done it with minimal playing resources, so why can’t West Indies if they concentrate on their pool?” he said.