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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
Who's to blame for Windies slump?
Sir Garfield Sobers
Sobers played international cricket for the West Indies from 1954-1974
Leading figures in West Indies cricket are in disagreement as to the reasons for the team's poor World Cup showing.

Barring a run of unlikely results the hosts will make an early exit.

Veteran broadcaster Tony Cozier blamed skipper Brian Lara and said: "The buck stops with the captain, who has failed as skipper for the third time."

But Windies legend Sir Garfield Sobers said: "Sometimes people don't look at facts, over the last few years the West Indies board has had huge problems."

The Windies won all three games in their preliminary group but have since been well beaten by Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa in the Super 8s.

"There is no way Lara can stay on, what sort of message would that send out?" Cozier told BBC Sport. "Someone has to be held culpable for this."

Cozier added: "This was a home event for us and we've failed badly in it. Bold measures need to be taken."

Tony Cozier
There is indecision and incompetence throughout

Tony Cozier

Sobers, one of the greatest West Indian players of all time, who scored 7,999 Test runs and took 235 wickets, said there were fundamental reasons for the decline that had nothing to do with Lara.

"One, the board didn't have enough money to have enough camps," he said.

"Two, there were always problems with not being able to field a strong West Indies team, there were strikes and there were all kinds of problems.

"To build a house, if you don't have a solid foundation and you build a house, you are going to have problems later on."

Cozier, who has been commentating on West Indies matches for almost 50 years, says the damage was done going into the tournament and it has been exacerbated by a lack of discipline since the competition started.

"There has been a lack of intensity and poor preparation. The fitness coach gave up on the team in frustration in Pakistan and they haven't replaced him.

606: DEBATE

"The contractual dispute with the players was only solved when the tournament started - there was a very real threat of the team going on strike.

"We don't have a fielding coach, so it's no wonder they have struggled so badly and we have received authoritative reports that players have been out at night.

"There is indecision and incompetence throughout and you can't just blame one or two individuals."

Cozier says action needs to be taken quickly, with the team due to depart for England soon after the World Cup finishes.

They play four Tests, two Twenty20 internationals and three ODIs and Cozier says the timing is far from ideal.

Meanwhile, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief executive Ken Gordon has pledged that changes will be made.

"You better believe that they have started already," Gordon said.

However, he took aim at the Caribbean media and former players who he accused of destabilising West Indies hopes by constant criticism and demands for the resignation of Lara as skipper.

"It is unfair to be criticising the team and its captain in the middle of a series like this," added Gordon.

"Let's face it, Lara was put there by the management, and I would be prepared to take whatever responsibility for it when the time comes.

"We all know that on its best day this team can beat anybody, but the reality is that the team is not enjoying its best days.

"We continue to send extraordinarily talented youngsters out there almost as sacrificial lambs."

The West Indies have two more matches to play - against Bangladesh on 19 April and England on 21 April, both in Barbados.



SEE ALSO
Windies on brink as Proteas win
10 Apr 07 |  Cricket
Chilled out Richardson
04 Apr 07 |  West Indies


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