"Performance for pay" rationale for West Indies cricketers
Often it has been said the players on the West Indies cricket team should be remunerated on a performance basis. This has been offered by the general public that the rationale for pay should be no different from what obtains in other professions in the regular society. Underlying reason for this proposal has been largely urged by the unmistakable fact of Caribbean players have over the last two decades fallen grossly short of standards of performance associated with previous teams under the leadership of John Goddard, Gerry Alexander, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Gary Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd and Sir Vivian Richards. I take liberty to offer a scheme leaning towards both player assessment and player incentive geared towards elevation of team performance. In this case my considerations are restricted to the traditional game comprising Test cricket.
For this purpose the weighing of a time scale becomes convenient. Undisturbed by rain or other weather elements, a Test match of five days can be looked at as five days of 90 overs each. Thus on an average your team may look to bat around 225 overs shared over 120 overs for the first innings and 105 for the second innings. Presuming the likely reasonable scoring rate of 3.75 runs per over, the team score for the first innings should be around 450. All this assumes a decent standard against decent opposition under reasonable conditions as to weather, light and playability of the batting surface. However, this is only a yardstick.
Let's say this expectation is duly achieved, while batting first, as occurred in the first Test at Brisbane in December, 1960. West Indies Scored 453 to set the pace in this first ever tied Test match against Austrailia. Individual contributions were: Conrad Hunte 24, Cammie Smith 7, Rohan Kanhai 15, Gary Sobers 132, Frank Worrell 65, Joe Solomon 65, Peter Lashley 19, Gerry Alexander 60 Sonny Ramadhin 12, Wes Hall 50, and Alfred Valentine 0 not out. Extras were 4.
Bearing in mind Sobers and Worrell put on 174 for the 4th wicket, we might be inclined to give Sobers an assessment of 30 points for his individual score and 10 points for his part in the partnership. We might allow Worrell 15 points plus 10 points by the same token.
Solomon nets 15 points and 5 points for much lesser partnerships. Similarly Alexander pulls in 15 points and 5 points; and Hall 20 points and 15 points – this on the strength of his contribution coming at the bottom of the order as a tailender. Thus, we have the five major contributors: Sobers 40 points, Worrell 25 points, Solomon 20 points, Alexander 20 points and Hall 35 points. Hall's allotment may seem lopsided but should be suitable incentive to the lower order to encourage them to assume responsibility in assuring creditable team scores. I would for the time being ignore the other batsmen whose scores were marginal.
Looking at the West Indies 2nd innings of 284, only Hunte 39, Kanhai 54, Worrell 65 and Solomon 47 stand out. Only the 2nd wicket, 75 and the 4th wicket 83, yielded notable partnerships. My points allotted would be Hunte 15 points, Kauhai 20 points, Worrell 20 points and Solomon 50 points.
All told, for the batting in both innings the aggregate points tally would be Sobers 40 points, Worrell 45 points, Solomon 40 points, Hall 35 points, Alexander 20 points, Kauhai 20 points, Hunte 15 points. In order to offset the apportionment at the top, we might accord Sobers an additional 10 points in view of his top score of 132 being a long way ahead of other match contributions for West Indies and highly significant in the match outcome.
Austrailia in their first innings were bowled out for 505, a lead of 48 runs. Hall took 4 wickets for 140 runs, Sobers 2 for 115, Valentine 1 for 82 and Ramadhin 1 for 60. Two batsmen were run out; three were caught with no fielder taking more than one catch.
In those days there were eight ball overs used in Austrailia, so Hall's 29.3 overs would equate with 39.1 overs in the modern context. Sobers sent down 32 eight ball overs (42.4 six ball overs). Worrell bowled 30 overs (40 six ball overs).
One does not wish to be unduly subjective, but it is fair to observe both umpires throughout the series were Australian (prior to the advent of neutral umpires). At that time many international sides had reservations as to the credibility of Australian umpiring! Sobers accounted for the first wicket and his other victim was also among the first six Australian batsmen. Ramadhin and Valentine took the second and third wickets and had Australia on 194 for 3. Hall was responsible for disposing of Norman O'Neil 181, the top scorer of the match. Hall's remaining three wickets were in the middle and lower order.
As for bowling points, I would grant Hall a tally of 40 points, Sobers 25 points, Ramadhin 10 points, Valentine 10 points for the 1st innings.
In the second innings Hall took 5 for 63, Worrell 1 for 41 and Ramadhin 1 for 57. For this I would post 50 points to Hall, 10 points to Worrell, and 10 points for Ramadhin.
OVERALL MATCH POINTS
Accumulated match points for West Indies would reflect: Sobers 75, Hall 125, Worrell 55, Ramadhin 20, Valentine 10 points along with Kanhai 20, Solomon 40, Alexander 20 and Hunte 15.
POINTS SYSTEM ANALYSTS
Who, then, would be the persons entrusted with computing the points system? There should be input coming from the coaching staff, the team manager and the team captain along with the chairman of selectors. It would be necessary for this assessing body to set standards indicating what a pass mark for a particular series is, what is fair, what is good and what is excellent as regards average points for a series.
Looking at the overall points accorded for our specimen match we have Hall 125, Sobers 75 and Worrell 55 in the top positions. It is necessary perhaps to have a separate assessment for specialist batsmen. Thus we had Solomon 40 points, Kanhai 20 points and Alexander (though the keeper) 20 points! We leave out Sobers and Worrell (clearly the all rounders) and observe the average of points gained purely by the batsmen is 26 points approximately.
Relating this average to a series of five Tests we may say a batsman playing all the Test matches should capture 130 points to gain a B+ rating. Accordingly 100 points would be a B- rating. As many as 150 points would attract an A- rating and 170 an A+ rating.
For the bowlers pure and simple we had Hall 90 points, Ramahdin 20, Valentine 10. Note I have left out Sobers and Worrell, the accredited all rounders (even though the two are among the greatest batsmen the game has ever seen). The total of bowling points by Hall, Ramahdin and Valentine is 120, yielding an average of 30 points.
Within reason one figures that 30 bowling points in a match would gain a bowler 150 points if he plays each match in a 5-match Test series – enough for a B+ rating in manner similar to our computation for the batting.
It would be up to the points systems' analysts to modify the scales of assessment to determine whether a player has qualified as having performed adequately well in a given series in order to secure a bonus or a double bonus etc.
For my part, the starting point for remuneration should be a basic of US $8,000 for each newcomer to the team for a series. Players with 30 Tests under their belts should get $15,000 each per series and others $25,000 each per series. The captain should get $35,000 per series.
Bonuses to players should allow for up to an added $10,000 each per series, depending also on whether the team wins the series, in which case the captain may earn an additional $20,000.