By Neto Baptiste
Most former players who offer criticism regarding the performance of the current crop of West Indies cricketers are simply passionate and want to see players achieve their full potential.
This was the response from legendary West Indies captain and iconic batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, as he responded to questions regarding statements made by Test captain Jason Holder that most of the former greats are unapproachable to current players because of the constant criticisms.
“Most of the individuals that I know, who love West Indies cricket, care about the performances they see and they respond to that, and sometimes some are a little harsher than some but that’s all part of life. I know also that for sure, some players have complained that there are some coaches who hate to see former players around their players because of that insecurity factor that comes along with them,” he said.
Sir Viv, who scored a total of 8,540 in 121 Tests spanning a 17-year career, agreed with Holder that some former players, at times, tend to be overly critical but disagreed with the notion that they are unapproachable and are not willing to offer assistance.
“There may be some individuals who are like that, and I am also put in that particular category, I guess, as a former player. I’ve always been pretty much responsive in terms of the individuals who sometimes come to you for information and I’ve had Craigg Braithwaite, young Bonner, I’ve had Jermaine Blackwood, Sheldon Cottrell because these are guys I would have worked with. Also at times, when you’re on commentary, sometimes you have to call what you see,” the former player said.
The Antiguan was the target of an on-field response by then wicketkeeper batsman, Denesh Ramdin who, in an apparent response to criticism, held up a note that said “Yeah Viv, talk nah,” after scoring a century against England back in 2012.
The then 27-year-old, who had made only one century in his previous 44 Tests, played in the opening two matches as the tourists were beaten at Lord’s and Trent Bridge.
After the Windies collapsed on the fourth afternoon of the second Test in Nottingham, Ramdin came in for criticism from Sir Viv, who said, “Ramdin just looks out of sorts.”
Sir Viv said his statement had seemingly done Ramdin some good.
“Even from the commentary booth you can be a motivator because sometimes the things you say can rub a particular individual — like Ramdin, at that particular time — the wrong way, and look at what he did in the end? Even before he went out and scored that hundred he had that paper, he took that paper out on the field with him, so he knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish, and something made him want to accomplish that. So, I didn’t really take it as any huge criticism because I did think I helped to put a feather in his cap and to just get him moving a little bit more, and he was successful,” he said.
Holder has come in for harsh criticism over his style of captaincy over the past years, but more so during a number of recent tours where players were restricted to a bio-secure bubble due to the coronavirus pandemic.