Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has suggested that Cricket West Indies (CWI) should adopt a different payment structure for their players in order to improve the national team's performances.
The West Indies have observed a massive slump in quality in men's international cricket over recent years and are hardly in the recoking for major tournaments.
The two-time T20 world champions failed to qualify for the Super 12 stage of the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. Defeats against Scotland and Ireland knocked out Nicholas Pooran and his men from the qualifiers round.
They were also whitewashed in the two-match Test series Down Under last month.
As a result, Phil Simmons stepped down from his role as head coach and Nicholas Pooran resigned as white-ball skipper.
CWI annually grants a retainer contract to its men and women players. A total of 36 players - 18 men and women each - were offered retainer contracts for the 2022-23 season in June last year.
Gavaskar mentioned in his latest column for Sportstar that West Indies administrators should pay players based on their performances rather than annual retainers. He wrote:
"The big stars are unavailable, busy as they are plying their trade in the different T20 leagues in the world. So if the West Indies Board wants better performances from its Test players, maybe another method needs to be tried."
He further stated that players' commitment towards the national team will increase as soon as their earnings are affected. He said:
"The moment the tap of easy money is turned off, the commitment and application towards the job will increase. Players will realise that only when you do well will you be picked for the next game and get the higher match fee."
Gavaskar believes that cricket boards should provide a valuable match fee for individuals, but at the same time only those with consistent performances should be rewarded. Stressing the importance of a performance-based payment structure, Gavaskar said:
"For example, if the Board has a performance-based fee structure, it would certainly help: it would make the players who are coasting along realise that they need to perform if they want to earn money."
He suggested match fees should be hiked significantly so that players that play more with the national team earn more.
"Instead of a retainer for the year, the match fee for all formats should be increased considerably with a slab system where those who have played more Test matches get more than others."
West Indies due to announce white-ball captain
Former Jamaican player Andre Coley will replace Simmons as the interim head coach for the West Indies. Meanwhile, the board is yet to announce a new white-ball captain.
Pooran, who took over from Kieron Pollard in May last year, stepped down from the post in November after a first-round exit at the T20 World Cup. The 27-year-old said the decision was in the best interest of the team and himself as he needed to focus on what he could deliver as a player.
"I remain fully committed to West Indies cricket and I look forward to providing my services as a senior player in a supportive role," Pooran said in a statement.
The next assignment for the West Indies will be the two-Test series against Zimbabwe, scheduled for February 4 to 16. They will then travel to South Africa for a month-long tour to play two Tests, three One-Day Internationals and three T20Is.
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