Legendary former Indian captain Kapil Dev says the West Indies team has all that it takes to be a good one but needs a charismatic leader like a Clive Lloyd to bring them together. He is suggesting Lloyd be given a consultancy position with the team to begin that process.
Dev made the comment as he was doing commentary on the ICC World Cup semi-final between Indian and New Zealand at Old Trafford, Manchester, yesterday, a match the Kiwis won in stunning fashion by 18 runs to advance to their second straight final.
After winning their opening World Cup game against Pakistan by seven wickets at Trent Bridge on May 31, skipper Jason Holder's West Indies went winless in their next seven matches before winning their last game against Afghanistan to finish ninth among 10 teams in the tournament.
The less than flattering performance of the team has led to an avalanche of criticism from various stakeholders, who have pinpointed the continuing issues of player selection, preparation and the fragmented Cricket West Indies management going into the tournament as of the issues which must be dealt with if future teams are to fulfil their potential.
Yesterday, Dev, who famously led India to the World Cup title against the West Indies in the 1983 final, said there is still a lot of hope for the West Indies team. However, he said they need a leader of the calibre of a Lloyd.
"They look like a really promising team but they need someone who can really handle them. Probably a man like Clive Lloyd who can bring all these youngsters together, who are coming in," he said.
"I feel a love for West Indies cricket and when I looked at their players at this World Cup they were good but I felt they could have done much better."
During his tenure as captain between 1974 and '85, the Guyana-born Lloyd led by example on and off the field and of course led the team to its only two World Cup titles to date in 1975 and '79. While he had players like Viv Richards, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge in his teams, many argue that it was his ability to bring these men together to play as a team and his tactics that made the ultimate difference in their successful run for almost an entire decade.
As far as the talent of today is concerned, Dev said he took a very close look at some of the players on the team and believes there is a core that they can build around moving forward.
"Look, they have around three or four really good players they could build around at the moment but they need that presence of someone who can really pull them together.
"What is exciting is that all of a sudden we are not seeing five feet six inches players coming through, we are seeing six feet five inches and they are looking strong. That is what we know of West Indies, it is good to see players like that around.
He added, "I supported them at this World Cup and will be supporting them in four years again."