Retired Keeper fires parting shot at Lara
May 6, 2005
Retired Keeper fires parting shot at Lara

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (AFP) – Recently retired West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Ridley Jacobs left no stone unturned as he slammed the state of West Indies cricket and especially former captain Brian Lara.

Jacobs, who played most of his 65 Tests and 147 limited-overs internationals under batting star Lara, said poor captaincy was the main reason behind their weak performances in recent years.{{more}}

“Honestly, the biggest problem is the skipper,” Jacobs told Essential, a bi-monthly magazine covering his native Antigua and Barbuda.

“The skipper sets the tone for the whole team. You can’t be captain and always in the spotlight. You can’t be a good captain and have an attitude when you don’t do well.

“A captain has to be able to motivate his team. He can’t afford to be selfish. With this captain, it is not for the love of the game anymore, it’s for him.”

The 37 year-old Jacobs also revealed that the unity of the team is not what it should be for the side to be competitive on the international stage.

“For the most part, there is good camaraderie, but there is a lot of pulling and tugging too,” he said.

“Most of the guys are keen and willing to put everything in the game, so there is hope. With a strong team and a new captain.

“There must be a strong programme too, and unity. The other teams are more unified. They know how to use psychology, that mental game, to destabilise a player. That’s why the Australians are as good as they are. They are unified.”

Jacobs, who was the top batsman and wicketkeeper in this year’s West Indies first-class championship, disclosed that his treatment by the management of the team after he was injured on the tour of Britain last year helped influence his decision to retire.

“I would not go back, even if they had asked. The feelings are too deep to explain, but I’m not motivated any longer.

“After my injury and knee surgery in Britain, I lost my motivation. I realised at that time they didn’t care about me. Well, I knew before that because they were always doing things to frustrate me.

“But when I got injured, the manager (Tony Howard) said, ‘Pack your bags!’ And if the doctor didn’t insist that I could not travel, that I needed a few days to heal before I could travel home, they would have put me on the plane immediately.

Jacobs, a devout born-again Christian, also criticised the selection policy of selectors he feels are heavily biased against players from Leeward Islands.

“I have seen clearly that in West Indies cricket, the system doesn’t cater to players from the smaller islands,” he said.

“Cricketers from these islands have to do too much to qualify. They prefer to pick players who are not ready.

I believe that because Sir Vivian (Richards), Andy (Roberts), Curtly (Ambrose), and Richie (Richardson) were so good, and dominated West Indies cricket for so long, they think it’s time for us to sit it out.

“It’s like the Leeward Islands cricketers had their time, so they prefer to pick guys who are not ready. I believe that most of the guys at this time are not good enough.”

Jacobs is, however, willing to stay involved in West Indies cricket and prepare upcoming players for the rigours of the international game.

“I would really like to dedicate myself to young wicketkeepers in the region, like be a one-on-one coach,” he said.

“I want to start that kind of programme. I will start in Antigua and Barbuda then take the programme regional.

“I love the game. Cricket is a good sport. It brings Caribbean people together. When I play cricket, I don’t play for myself. I play for the people first.”

Jacobs scored 2,577 runs at an average of 28.31 and collected 219 dismissals in Tests, and gathered 1,865 runs at 23.31 and took 189 dismissals in limited-overs internationals.