Franklyn Stephenson and Curtly Ambrose
Franklyn Stephenson and Curtly Ambrose

West Indies had a not so exciting series against Australia in the recent Test match. They gave off 131 runs after every wicket picked. Franklyn Stephenson runs his own academy called Franklyn Stephenson Academy at St. Thomas Barbados, where he trains aspiring cricketers from all over the world who age between eight to 15 years. Stephenson, an all-rounder who dominated English county cricket in the ’80s and was tagged the greatest “West Indian never to play Test cricket”, claimed Curtly Ambrose as not the right coach for to inspire bowlers to success on the pitch. ALSO READ: West Indies had Cricket Australia XI on the back foot: Curtly Ambrose

“He was a fantastic bowler but he’s the worst coach I’ve seen,” he said. “He came here to our camp but didn’t say a single word to any bowler. He is just for show, nothing more.” Stpehenson also went on to say that giving opportunities ti ex-players is responsible for the failure of West Indies cricket. Over the past two decades of failure, the West Indies have employed array of legends to help build the team to next level like Andy Roberts, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Gus Logie and Richie Richardson who have all had a go at putting pride back in the maroon cap, but Stephenson says past players are not the answer. “They’ve been the worst coaches,” he said. “The results tell you that. They want to give back, but they give back with their hands open.”

The perception that ex-players can add some spark to the team is a long debate among the administration and the ex-players have blamed West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) responsible for the team’s loss. Stephenson, whose academy has already produced West Indian representatives in their age group, says there needs to be a complete overhaul. “There are too many hangers-on,” he said. “The board needs dismantling for a start. Back when there was success, there were two guys running the show, but now there are 35.” ALSO READ: Stephenson: Greatest cricketer not to have played Tests

The bureaucracy has led to spoiling the future West Indies cricket which is on hault due to funding for the academy players.  “In the under-19s West Indies competition there is no three or four day-cricket, only one-day games,” he said. “There is no stepping stone to first-class matches. It is criminal.” Stephenson denies that American television culture in West Indies cricket has affected the team and also hockey has brought down the competition in cricket is not the reason behind the team’s constant failure. ALSO READ: Franklyn Stephenson’s 1988 double: An unbelievable finale!

“Kids still love cricket,” he said. “It is still our No.1 game. They have a passion for it. I see it here. The boys are meant to finish at 3:30 but they are still going at 5:30 in the afternoon.” His solution to the technical problems facing cricketers in the region is simple: get back to basics and play to entertain. “If you’re a bowler, every ball should be too short to drive and too full to pull,” he said. “If you’re a batsman you shouldn’t be blocking half volleys. The game is about entertainment. Cricket is a spectator sport.”