“In our time, most of the guys played county cricket,” said Gomes, who played for Middlesex from 1973-76. “Since (the English and Wales Cricket Board) limited the number of overseas players, that sort of pushed us out the window. Our players don’t get that opportunity to play in England like before. You were more professional, playing day-in, day-out. Unfortunately, our players don’t have that experience or exposure of playing in England.”
Gomes lamented the sorry state of affairs of the current Windies team, saying the players were focused only on the “shorter formats.”
“It’s sad,” he admitted. “It’s a different era now. Test cricket, I wouldn’t say, is dying, but is not as popular as the other formats of the game.
“It’s sad to see where we were at one time to just fall so far down in the rankings. I don’t know if it’s the fault of the T20s why players are not applying themselves, concentrating longer and thinking about the longer version of the game.
“We can play with more heart and (show) more pride in the performances… and think about the West Indian people. It’s sad to see but it’s a changing world. The players of today are focusing, I think, mostly on the shorter versions of the game.”
Gomes however, didn’t blame the players for the situation.
“T20 is more entertainment,” he said. “You can’t really blame the players. The lifespan of a cricketer is short, so they have to look after themselves. (Cricket West Indies) will have to try and do something to compensate the players if you want them to play the longer version of the game.
“We have to find a way to try to get our best players to play the five-day version. We wouldn’t have our best team at any (given) time, whether it’s the T20 or the 50-overs or the Test matches.”
First Published: December 3, 2018, 2:22 PM IST