Port of Spain: West Indies batting legend Brian Lara has described the Caribbean cricket infrastructure as "terrible" and says it will take much more than just talent for the regional side to emerge from the prevailing slump.
Lara was speaking at the World Travel Market in London earlier this week, following the West Indies` five-wicket defeat to India in the opening Test in New Delhi.
"[We] still (have) a very long way to go. I would not have been surprised if we won this game, because I know what we are capable - sporadic, good sporadic performances - one here, one next year, but in terms of consistency, Trinidad, West Indies lack that, and that is not something that you regain overnight," the former West Indies captain told the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.
"I think our infrastructure is terrible administratively, we have got it wrong on many occasions."
He continued: "Our player-board relationship - that has gone wrong for many years, gone sour, and we need to improve these things, fix it, set a base, get the infrastructure in, and then think about five, ten years down the line.”
"So it might be a dismal outlook, but if we keep just trying to put a plaster on every sore that we have, it is not going to work. So I hope one day somebody is going to take it up and really get things going."
The West Indies hauled themselves into a winning position when they secured a 95-run first innings lead against the Indians.
However, they plummeted for a disappointing 180 all out in their second innings, and India then cruised to their target of 276 to win the Test.
"As I said, on any given day, I think we have got the best talented cricketers in the world," said Lara, who scored 11,953 runs in 131 Tests before his shock retirement following the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.
"It has always been the case over the years, since even before my days … cricket has gone a long way now. Talent is only a very small part compared to 20, 30 years ago, when it was a major part - your physical fitness, your talent - that played a bigger role.
Lara, who normally promotes Trinidad and Tobago at the annual high profile tourism expo, said the region had mismanaged the talent at its disposal.
"Now with technology, there is a lot of things coming into play, and I say it all the time - we in the West Indies take very good talent and make it average, and people like Australia and England and India take average talent and make it very, very good, and that is where the problem lies," he stressed.