Sir Andy Roberts, one of the legends of the game, has criticised Cricket West Indies (CWI) for scheduling too many India games in Trinidad, allowing the crowds to back the visiting team rather than the home side. Speaking to Cricbuzz from Antigua on Wednesday evening/Thursday morning, Roberts stressed on the approach of the game’s administration in the Caribbean – previously West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and currently CWI – towards the India games.
“That is the way it has been. When we were playing, if we had five Test matches against India, two would be in Trinidad. It was because more people would come to watch those games. Those were the non-television days and more crowds in the ground had meant more revenue. It is no longer that way now, the revenue comes from the television but still the board plays more India games in Trinidad or Guyana,” the 71-year-old, known as one of the fiercest fast bowlers the game has seen, told this website, pointing out that there was more support for the Indian team at the Queen’s Park Oval, the venue of the three ODIs.
Four of the eight games in the current series are in Trinidad and Tobago, a dual-island southern Caribbean nation known for the huge presence of the Indian diaspora. All three games of the just-concluded ODI series were at city’s Queen’s Park Oval stadium and the first of the five T20Is, on July 29, is at the city’s other stadium, Brian Lara Stadium. The other big island in the Caribbean with a huge Indian presence is Guyana and Roberts did not forget to point that out.
“We are looking at the Indian population in both Trinidad and Guyana. What other reason do we have for playing every tour India makes in Trinidad or Guyana? Every time India come, they play Trinidad or Guyana, invariably; same for Bangladesh (team). We believe the Indians will watch Indians. Have a team from Africa come here, do you think the Indians will watch the Africans,” he told Mason & Guest Radio programme earlier in the day and reiterated the point in conversation with this website too.
Roberts said he could understand why the previous administrations of West Indies cricket played the sub-continent teams, India mainly, in those two southern islands — Trinidad and Guyana. “There is no reason to do that now,” he said and stopped short of saying the visiting side enjoyed an advantage over the home team because of the crowd support.
Asked for its reaction, the CWI said Roberts is entitled to his views. “Sir Andy Roberts is entitled to his opinion, of any kind, about anything to do with West Indies cricket,” CWI president Ricky Skerritt told this website.
About the ODI series, which India won 3-0, Roberts said India were the better side. “The best team won and it is amazing how the young Indian team has beaten the West Indies,” the Antiguan said.
Roberts played 47 Tests and 56 ODIs in a career spanning nine years in the 70s and 80s. He played his last Test and ODI in India, in Chennai and Jamshedpur.