An emotional Sir Gary Sobers says that the West Indies don’t produce cricketers like him anymore and that Twenty20 (T20) cricket is killing the team.
Sobers made the comments during a press conference to unveil the Sobers/Tissera Trophy for the current Test series that is being played by the West Indies and Sri Lanka.
The Barbadian took centre stage at the Taj Samudra in Colombo and answered varying questions that came from the many reporters on hand to cover the event.
He said that when he played cricket it was for the West Indies but sadly that is not the case with cricketers of today.
“I never scored a run for myself, I scored every run for the West Indies. I valued what it was like playing for the West Indies and for me it was all about the West Indies. Now I feel the players play for the West Indies with the hope of doing well to attract the IPL (Indian Premier League) and then they are gone. Once this continues we will never have a great side like what we had in the 1980s and 90s. We had a team that was world champion for 15 years and that is not likely to happen again in the sport.
“The West Indies while we were winning we were probably lazy in putting things in place to sustain what was happening. Today when you look at the team you can see that the cricketers we have produced for the last 10 years cannot come close to what we produced in that winning era.
“Today’s players seem to be preoccupied with the T20s and this (is) affecting West Indies cricket the most in my view. When you look around the world, you see players from Sri Lanka, from South Africa, New Zealand and places like Australia playing with such enthusiasm. You are not seeing that from our cricketers and while some teams like West Indies and Sri Lanka are in a recession, I am sure Sri Lanka would come out of it quicker than us. In fact by winning the first game they are already pointing in the right direction. We are very far away from becoming the force we once were.”
Sobers added that he understands the position that the players find themselves in but he thinks they need to balance it.
“Many of our cricketers come from humble backgrounds, so when they get an opportunity to make money and help their families they will do it. You can’t get upset with them for that but I always say that I wish they can balance it and give service to their country as well.”
Sobers will be at the second Test match at the P Sara Oval today and will be there at the end also to present the trophy.