Not too late to save WI cricket

Jamaica Gleaner - - TUESDAY SPORTS -

THE COURT­NEY Brown-se­lected group of West In­di­ans now play­ing against Pakistan in the mid­dle East, have so far lost the T20 se­ries a 3-0 mar­gin and are in the process of los­ing the One Day In­ter­na­tion­als (ODI) by a sim­i­lar score­line.

That loss will ef­fec­tively rule us out of au­to­matic qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Cham­pi­ons League next year where the eight top teams in the world vie for supremacy. This is a tough call for West In­dian fans who were quite re­cently cel­e­brat­ing the (tem­po­rary) resur­gence of West In­dian cricket af­ter the teams from this re­gion were crowned world cham­pi­ons in three dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tions.

To move seam­lessly from first to last, in any world sport is not an easy achieve­ment. The un­cer­tainty around the Cham­pi­ons League has been achieved by a se­ries of events that were eas­ily pre­dicted to re­sult in dis­as­ter. And yet we the West In­dian cricket fans made only muted to­ken protests and did not sup­port the Cari­com Com­mit­tee on cricket while a group of “ad­min­is­tra­tors” sys­tem­at­i­cally re­moved from the team, any player of note who dared to ques­tion tac­tics, re­mu­ner­a­tion or se­lec­tion cri­te­ria.

Teams in the lower half of the world rank­ing in Tests, ODIs and T20s can­not wait to com­pete against us as it is ob­vi­ous that they have a very good chance of mov­ing up the rank­ings by de­feat­ing us.

Where will it end?

SELECT­ING YES-MEN

Maybe when Afghanistan and Ire­land are ranked above us fans will re­alise what their prime min­is­ters and cricket leg­ends were say­ing for years, that the present West Indies Cricket Board and their sur­ro­gates are only in­ter­ested in select­ing yes-men to rep­re­sent us and have con­sis­tently sup­pressed in­di­vid­u­al­ism, the very trait that made us un­beat­able world cham­pi­ons for years!

When the his­tory of West Indies cricket and its demise comes to be writ­ten, th­ese men will never be for­got­ten.

The pas­sage of Cat­e­gory 4 hur­ri­cane Matthew through the Caribbean en route to the is­lands of West Indies play­ers (from left) Chad­wick Wal­ton, Jerome Tay­lor, Rov­man Pow­ell and Car­los Brath­waite stretch dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at the ICC Academy in Dubai re­cently.

the Greater An­tilles has caused sev­eral lo­cal sport­ing com­pe­ti­tions to be post­poned.

That meant that sport fans could spend more time watching live tele­vi­sion of dif­fer­ent sports from around the world. Cricket was be­ing played in South Africa, In­dia and in Sharja.

To watch the ap­proach of world­class crick­eters in ODI’s and Tests made us, quickly re­alise that cricket greats not only have nat­u­ral tal­ent, but they are able to think while play­ing, mak­ing crit­i­cal ad­just­ments dur­ing matches in an ef­fort to win. The cap­taincy on dis­play in th­ese matches re­veal that ex­pe­ri­ence is the only at­tribute that can make a cap­tain as­sess a pitch be­fore de­cid­ing to bat or field when the toss is won, and ex­pe­ri­ence is the only at­tribute when de­cid­ing what bowl­ing change to make when pitches or bowler tech­nique is un­help­ful when fac­ing pro­longed bat­ting part­ner­ships.

The West In­dian Way of plac­ing young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced cap­tains (who have trou­ble com­mand­ing a place on the team based on merit) can­not work, will not work, and will in­stead em­bar­rass the young­ster and the group of na­tions that he rep­re­sents.

When will the West In­dian cricket fan get a chance to cel­e­brate a good cricket again? It doesn’t look like that will hap­pen in the life­time of this gen­er­a­tion, un­less we the fans in­sist on change in the struc­ture of the group man­ag­ing West In­dian cricket. It is not too late!

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