Daren Sammy, who led West Indies to both their T20 World Cup triumphs (2012 and 2016), has lamented the decline of Caribbean cricket in the shortest format as well. He, however, admitted the hands of Cricket West Indies (CWI) are tied to an extent since it's not as financially well-off as the BCCI or some of the other rich cricketing boards.
The Windies have struggled in Tests and ODIs over the last couple of decades, and have been a shadow of their former dominating self. However, there was a glimmer of hope when they won two T20 World Cups in a span of four years. The format suited West Indies’ flamboyant style of play and the cricketers also reveled in the new-found challenge.
It’s all gone down pretty downhill for the Caribbean and rather swiftly over the last few years. They did not make the knockouts of the T20 World Cup in 2021 and failed to qualify for the Super 12 stage in the ongoing edition.
Admitting that the downfall of West Indies cricket hurts a lot, Sammy delved deep into the reasons why they have lost their way. He told PTI in an interview:
"India is strong because they can tell their players that you don't play anywhere else. You have to understand that they have the money to back it up. An India A list contracted player could probably make a million dollar a year (₹7 crore plus match fees plus TV rights money) compared to a Windies A lister, who would earn $150,000 (₹1.2 crore roughly).
"That's a massive difference and obviously the question of pay (disparity) will always come up. It's very difficult for smaller boards (in terms of financial might) to keep their players together when they are handsomely paid elsewhere."
Tearing apart the theory that passion seems to be missing in players, he retorted:
"Gone are those days when you played for love. Love doesn't buy you groceries from supermarket.”
West Indies lost two of their three first-round matches to be knocked out of the T20 World Cup 2022. They succumbed to a 42-run loss to Scotland and were demolished by Ireland by nine wickets.
Daren Sammy urges CWI to learn from New Zealand
While admitting that things are tough for players as well as cricket boards with the advent of cash-rich T20 leagues, Sammy praised New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for attempting to find a middle ground. He stated:
"So, it's a tough period. I think NZC does it quite well (no international cricket scheduled during IPL). If NZC can do it, it comes down to communication. It’s upto the players and the boards to get a working system.
"If you say, you are committed to me (player to board or vice versa), then some level of sacrifice has to happen. You can't be committed to me when nothing else is available for you."
Sammy represented West Indies in 38 Tests, 126 ODIs and 68 T20Is from 2004 to 2017.