That the West Indian team is in a state of decline is a well-known fact, with the side failing to qualify for the recently-concluded Champions Trophy and currently struggling in the One-Day International (ODI) series against India.
However, if West Indian pace legend Andy Roberts' opinion was to be taken into consideration, then the sport in general has gone downhill, and not just the team that he used to represent back in his playing days. At least, as far as levels of aggression in the sport are concerned.
"We don’t have enough pacers in the world. No one’s bowling fast because rules for short-pitched bowling have changed, batsmen are fully protected. The rules of the game are cutting aggression. You cannot even stare hard at the batsmen else they would fine you. They are taking all the aggression out of the game," Roberts was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
"Let me ask you, women are playing, is it a female’s game? No. People who make all these rules make them sissy’s game," added the pace legend, who also said that the sport back in his time wasn't for the "chicken-hearted", but for those with a "lion's heart".
Roberts was an integral part of the fearsome West Indian attack of the 1970s and 1980s of which the fellow luminaries such as Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner were also part of. The team under the leadership of Clive Lloyd won two World Cups — in 1975 and 1979 — and were known for their intimidating bowling tactics, peppering the batsmen with short deliveries in an age when helmets and other protective gear weren't quite widely in use.
Talking about players from the current generation, Roberts did not sound too impressed about 20-year-old Alzarri Joseph, who was West Indies' find of the tournament in their successful campaign in the 2016 U-19 World Cup and is fast becoming an integral part of the team.
"He is not fast. No, he is not fast. He bowls medium pace at 85 and 86 miles. What some of these guys need to do is speak to people, especially those from the past, and learn about their methods of training which made them bowl quick," said Roberts.
West Indies are currently playing India in a five-match ODI series, in which they have lost all games played so far barring a washed-out series opener. They lost all hope of winning the series by losing the third ODI by 93 runs on Friday.