'Lloyd can bring a turnaround'

'Lloyd can bring a turnaround'

Gordon Greenidge says it is painful to see the game take a nosedive in the Caribbean

The West Indies hierarchy must give new chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd a free rein to make the changes that will inspire a turnaround in fortunes for the national team, according to batting great Gordon Greenidge.

Denesh Ramdin's side completed a 3-0 one-day whitewash of Bangladesh last week but West Indies are ranked a lowly eighth in both the ODI and Test rankings.

Sweeping changes were made behind the scenes earlier this month with Lloyd taking over as chairman of selectors from Clyde Butts and being joined by new panel members Courtney Walsh and Eldine Baptiste.

Greenidge, who used to play alongside pacemen Walsh and Baptiste and was an important cog in the wheel when West Indies ruled world cricket under Lloyd's captaincy, said he hoped the new chairman would be treated with the respect he deserved."The powers-that-be need to accept Clive, appreciate him and look upon him as the person he is, someone who can get the job done," Greenidge told Reuters in an interview."I feel in recent times there has been a lot of disrespect shown to players who have played in the past and there has been more dictatorial behaviour happening around cricket in the Caribbean.

"I haven't been involved for a while which is a damned shame because a lot of players who played in the past have got so much to contribute and have not been given a chance to do so," added the former swashbuckling opener.

"I just hope they recognise Clive's contribution to the West Indies and give him the necessary tools to work with. I don't see a problem at all with Clive but it may be a problem with the people he's working with or the people he reports to."

Greenidge said there were similarities in the turmoil that has been experienced at Manchester United since Alex Ferguson ended his all-conquering 26-year managerial reign at one of the world's most famous football clubs in 2013.

Asked if Lloyd needed to be given a free rein to do the job as he saw fit, Greenidge was emphatic in his reply: "Precisely.

"It's a bit like what's happening at Manchester United. Everyone's expecting the new managers there to just pick up where Alex Ferguson left off — that's impossible.

"The new man needs to transfer a serious input of his thinking to his team and the way he wants them to go. He needs to build a team and explain how he wants them to go forward.It's the same thing with Clive Lloyd," added Greenidge who hit 19 centuries for West Indies in 108 Tests between 1974-91.

"Unfortunately his job will be measured in terms of how successful the West Indies team is, that's always been the case, but I think a change around is necessary and he needs to do that straight away."

Otis Gibson, who had been in charge since 2010, was replaced as coach this month by another of Greenidge's former team mates, Richie Richardson, but only on an interim basis.

The new permanent coach will need time to drag West Indies back up the rankings, said Greenidge. "One major problem over the years is the standard of cricket has dropped in the Caribbean and the territorial boards need to do something about that in order to get the players better prepared," added the 63-year-old.

"They need to get a more adaptable group, a more professional group to play at Test match level. People are going to expect the new coach to bring an immediate turnaround and I don't think that's going to be possible. It's going to take time for whoever takes over.

"I just hope that whoever it is can mould the group into a better fighting unit. It's been very fragmented over the years and hopefully the new coach can make a difference and we can get away from the insular thinking."

Greenidge said it was painful to see the way West Indies cricket had slumped since the halcyon days under Lloyd and his successor as skipper, Viv Richards. "Words fail me, it's extremely disappointing to see what we have become compared to where we were," he added.

"We used to have seriously diehard fans who would sleep outside the grounds at four o'clock in the morning, get up at five, have some breakfast and then be in their seats in the ground hours before the matches started.

"That doesn't happen now and it's a shame. Some of those fans don't care less any more, some of them don't even know when West Indies are playing a Test match," said Greenidge.

"You need the crowd, you need the atmosphere. If you haven't got that, it's when everything becomes very flat.

"There's a lot that needs to be looked at and hopefully they will strike a balance there and make the right adjustments to help the West Indies go forward in the future."  

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