New con­scious­ness of “Holder gen­er­a­tion” at the heart of re­vival: Sir Hi­lary

Stabroek News Sunday - - SUNDAY SPORT -

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Dis­tin­guished aca­demic and cricket his­to­rian, Pro­fes­sor Sir Hi­lary Beck­les, be­lieves the “tide is turn­ing” in West Indies cricket, and con­tends the ex­cel­lence of the “Ja­son Holder gen­er­a­tion” could lead to a re­vival of the for­mer World cham­pi­ons.

Speak­ing dur­ing a pub­lic lec­ture series here en­ti­tled “Fire in Baby­lon: Cricket as Pop­u­lar Cul­ture”, Sir Hi­lary pointed out that a new con­scious­ness ex­isted in the young gen­er­a­tion of cur­rent Windies crick­eters and as a re­sult, they were now at­tempt­ing to re­con­nect with pre­vi­ous high stan­dards of ex­cel­lence.

He also ar­gued that the de­vel­op­ment of Caribbean so­ci­ety and West Indies suc­cess were in­ter­twined and once so­ci­etal is­sues in the re­gion were ad­dressed, he could fore­see the emer­gence of a strong Windies side “in seven to eight years.”

“I be­lieve we are now see­ing our way out of this. I be­lieve that the tide is turn­ing – I don’t think it is empty op­ti­mism. I be­lieve the tide is turn­ing,” said Sir Hi­lary, the Vice-Chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of the West Indies and for­mer prin­ci­pal of UWI Cave Hill Cam­pus.

“I be­lieve that the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of young crick­eters who are com­ing up – I call them the Ja­son Holder gen­er­a­tion. I be­lieve they are see­ing the so­ci­ety dif­fer­ently.

“I’ve spo­ken to them, most of them are UWI stu­dents any­way. They come to the Univer­sity, they are work­ing class boys and we speak to them. All the young crick­eters – Ja­son Holder, Car­los Brath­waite – th­ese young men who are ready and will­ing to fight for us.”

He con­tin­ued: “I have sat in class­room ses­sions like this with them, to speak about his­tory, to speak about cul­tural re­spon­si­bil­ity, na­tion­hood, to ex­plain to them what the IMF (In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund) is all about.

“This younger gen­er­a­tion who have come through the academy, they un­der­stand the prob­lem and they want to re­con­nect to the Vi­vian Richards, Michael Hold­ing gen­er­a­tion. They want to look over the head of (Chris) Gayle and (Brian) Lara and they want to re­con­nect with Viv Richards and Michael Hold­ing. It’s a cy­cle.”

West Indies have been stuck a pro­tracted state of un­der-per­for­mance over the last two decades, and have slumped to his­toric lows of ninth in both the Test and One-Day In­ter­na­tional for­mats.

They have won only four of their last 22 Tests in­side the last two years and last year alone, won just three of 23 ODIs, spark­ing wide­spread crit­i­cism from fans.

But ref­er­enc­ing the re­cent gen­eral elec­tions in Barbados where the coun­try elected its first woman prime min­is­ter Mia Mot­t­ley in a clean sweep of all 30 seats, Sir Hi­lary said it was ev­i­dent ci­ti­zens were de­mand­ing of their po­lit­i­cal and crick­et­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives a stan­dard of ex­cel­lence.

“Many of you who have seen the team in de­cline, what your crit­i­cism showed was a lack of ef­fort. Many of you were say­ing ‘I don’t mind the boys los­ing but show more ef­fort, show more pas­sion, give us some pas­sion,’” Sir Hi­lary ex­plained.

“But I be­lieve those fans and ci­ti­zens are com­ing around again and I be­lieve that to be true be­cause of my as­so­ci­a­tion with th­ese young men. All of th­ese things are con­nected.

“So what I de­scribed … as the Mia Mot­t­ley rev­o­lu­tion in Barbados – all of th­ese things are con­nected. Peo­ple are com­ing grad­u­ally to re­alise that there has to be a stan­dard of ex­pec­ta­tion from the gov­ern­ment and ci­ti­zens are ask­ing for a min­i­mum thresh­old, and no­body must fall be­low that min­i­mum thresh­old.”

Sir Hi­lary, who has writ­ten sev­eral books on West Indies cricket, said he was see­ing signs of the chang­ing tide across the re­gion but was care­ful to note he was not pre­dict­ing a re­turn to the hal­cyon days.

He also re­it­er­ated the link­ages be­tween the re­gion’s po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and Windies cricket, and the need for the con­tin­ued growth of Caribbean so­ci­ety.

“Th­ese things are in­deed con­nected. I have seen it in Kingston, I have seen it in Port of Spain. There is a turn­ing of the tide,” he stressed.

“I can­not say this will be to the resur­gence of our Test dom­i­nance but what I will say is that there are el­e­ments that will con­sti­tute the po­ten­tial for ex­cel­lence, those el­e­ments are be­ing put in place and are com­ing to­gether.

“And I would like to imag­ine, and I don’t be­lieve in lin­ear­ity, but I would not be sur­prised if in seven to eight years or so we be­come com­pet­i­tive again in this form of the game but first of all I be­lieve we have to fix Caribbean so­ci­eties.”

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of She­mar’s Truck­ing Ser­vice, Duean Bos­ton (right) hands over the cheque to Mark Wilt­shire yes­ter­day.

Ja­son Holder

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana

© PressReader. All rights reserved.