Letter: What has become of West Indies cricket?

 

Letter: What has become of West Indies cricket?

Published on Thursday, April 12, 2007

 

Dear Sir:

Literally being all the way across the world has its advantages. Being able to adapt to a new culture, learning a new language and meeting new people are some of these advantages just to name a few. However no matter where I go, stay and live, I am always a Dominican and furthermore, always true to West Indies cricket.

I was most happy that finally a major sporting event was held in the CARICOM region. More importantly it was the 2007 cricket world cup. Cricket in many ways is the unifying force for West Indian people. Even as the team has gone through an extremely rough patch over the past decade or more, the word cricket always brings excitement as no matter what people cheer for the home team.

I must say here in recent times the West Indies team has had some commendable performances. The solid beating of Zimbabwe and the 4 – 1 thrashing of India last year in the Caribbean brought smile to the faces of all. The going to the finals of both the Champions Trophy and DFL Cup, though not winning, were signs of some kind of turn around. Then at the very beginning of this 2007 Cricket World Cup three wins on a trot showed a teamed with energy set on making Caribbean people smile and take pride in the sport once more.

However, that has been short lived. The “Win”-dies have all but crashed out of the tournament and very soon may become mere spectators in their own backyards. But as I have rambled on about what the team has done and not done, I am most disturbed at what I have been reading not only about the team’s performance on the field but off the field as well.

How in the devil’s briefcase were members of the team allowed to travel to their home islands in between matches unless there is some kind of family emergency? When the team should be together looking for ways to save face, they are allowed to go gallivanting and show-boating to their respective islands. That is most unacceptable and team management should be made to answer as to why this has happened. This long break between matches should have allowed the players to regroup (if they can) and come up with a new and winning game plan to have some hope of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Secondly, have Andy Roberts and Brian Lara gone mad? That the two of them arguing over team selection shows that there is no communications between team management, players and the board. The team selected for the match against New Zealand was downright unforgivable. There was no reason to play an inexperienced extra batsman ahead of an in-form fast bowler. And then, for Lara and Roberts to have a public squabble over this fiasco was totally uncalled for and both gentlemen should apologize to people of the Caribbean.

I am fed up with former players who are given opportunities to make a difference and then have nothing to show for it. What is Clive Lloyd’s role in this current team? How could a man of such cricketing fortunes allow such things as mentioned above to happen with the team?

The players: Captain Brian Lara, Shivnerine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Ramneresh Sarwan need to step it up. Shiv has scored some good runs this World Cup and so too has Lara, but it is still not enough. Chris Gayle also needs to get some runs on the board and play his natural attacking game. Dwayne Smith in particular needs to turn in stellar performance like that of the first match but with a few more runs. They also need to be more disciplined in the field, more attacking in the final overs and more aggressive in the opening overs when they are at the cris.

And finally to the Board, the West Indies Players Association – WIPA, and West Indies Fans: The Board needs some immediate changes; enough talk and stop with the business as usual nonsense which they have been doing since the slide started. Invest in a young captain like Gayle, Bravo or Smith. (I prefer to lose with them for now than with the current experienced leader). The Board should also pay attention to the needs of the players and the level of the sport in the Caribbean.

WIPA – It seems WIPA has other interest at its heart than that of West Indies Cricket. For many years they seem to only want to settle differences at the time of tours and their stance is all but becoming. If the players were performing they could be rewarded at the levels being demanded by WIPA.

The Fans: Continue to rally around the West Indies, they now and then make us proud. No matter what they are our team. They bring us together and they will continue to do this for a very long time. So “Rally Round the West Indies” and wish the well for the rest of the World Cup.

Daryl V Titre
Beijing
Peoples’ Republic of China

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