West Indies pace great slams chief selector Clive Lloyd's decision to make Jason Test skipper
Sir Andy Roberts stepped out of his hotel room for a function in Chennai yesterday when openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Rajendra Chandrika had begun West Indies' first innings after Australia declared at 551 for three declared at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Day Two of the traditional Boxing Day Test.
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Sir Andy Roberts
Even before Roberts returned to his room, West Indies ended the day in tatters — 91 for six after being 49 for one at one stage. Roberts is never surprised by anything in West Indies cricket, but when he heard 91 for six, he exclaimed in refrain, "excuse me… oh boy!"
Roberts arrived in Chennai on a personal visit on Saturday. The last time he visited India on a cricket assignment was in 1996 when he was coach of the West Indies team for the World Cup. An upset defeat to Kenya notwithstanding, West Indies reached the semi-finals, losing narrowly to Australia at Mohali, where Mark Taylor's men won by five runs.
Roberts played two Test series in India. On his first tour in 1974-75, he claimed 32 wickets, contributing significantly to his team's 3-2 win. In 1983-84, he figured in only two of the six Tests claiming five wickets. However, in Calcutta, he put on 161 runs for the ninth wicket with his skipper Clive Lloyd. It was in this Test that he became only the third bowler to take 200 Test wickets for the West Indies.
Excerpts from a brief telephonic chat:
Q. West Indies captain Jason Holder said before the Melbourne Test that his team is one good day away from a turnaround. What do you make of this statement in the light of another disastrous day?
A. It is not practical. Making him captain was a mistake our good friend made (referring to chief selector Clive Lloyd). Captaincy will ruin his (Holder) career.
Jason Holder. Pic/Getty Images
Q. So Holder is the wrong man for the job?
A. Look, he has not settled into Test cricket. The team is failing and it will have a negative effect on him. He is trying to be positive, but you can't be positive when everything around you is negative.
Q. Is this West Indies cricket's lowest point?
A. For years I have been saying that things are going to get lower, so this does not surprise me one bit.
Q. Do you see light at the end of the tunnel?
A. There is only one way to see light. It is by changing the administration so that we can change the way cricket is being run and played.
Q. What was the administration like when you were playing?
A. Negative! Nobody thought a great deal about the administration then.
West Indies cricket was run by one guy - Steve Camacho. The problem now is that we just don't have the players.