The rot in West Indies cricket – commentary

The rot in West Indies cricket

West Indies cricket team logoNOVEMBER 22, 2013 · By Stabroek News

The West Indies team were the most accommodating of guests in the two Test series in India to mark the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, by allowing their hosts to dominate them as never before, losing twice by an innings and within three days. Apart from their gracious guard of honour to welcome the great man to the wicket, in what turned out to be his last Test innings, their pathetic display was the rudest possible farewell gift they could have given to a fellow professional and legend of the game; it was, moreover, an embarrassment to all followers of West Indies cricket, even when held up against the many embarrassments of the past 15 years or so.

In the first Test at Kolkata, only two West Indians appeared to be playing Test cricket, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Shane Shillingford; at Mumbai, they were belatedly joined by Denesh Ramdin. But, it has to be said, even Chanderpaul could not quite live up to his own lofty standards.         

Clive Lloyd, one of the greatest West Indies captains ever, when asked by The Indian Express, on Monday, whether the crushing defeat was due to a Twenty20 hangover, replied, “T20 hangover? I think they looked drunk.” He could not have been more dismissive of what he, the spectators and millions others on television had had the misfortune to witness.

The regional media and other former West Indies cricketers have been scathing in their criticism of the disgraceful performance of the West Indies team. And the social media have been ablaze with the disgust of West Indies cricket fans.

On Wednesday, our sports columnist Orin Davidson was brutally frank in his assessment of the West Indies selectors, management and team, mincing no words in reflecting the regional and international consensus that the wrong team was selected, their pre-tour preparation was inadequate if not farcical, their technique, ability and commitment were badly wanting, and they were poorly led by a captain who does not even merit his place. Mr Davidson’s palpable outrage was heightened by the fact that the selectors have, in their wisdom, retained the same team and same captain to go to New Zealand, a notoriously difficult destination for West Indies tours.

There is little more to add to Mr Davidson’s sense of incredulity and anger, except perhaps to try to explain why rock bottom gets lower and lower.

Mr Davidson practically speaks for all true West Indies cricket fans. But these are an increasingly masochistic breed, who are themselves probably an endangered species nowadays, given the preference of the younger generation for the razzle dazzle of T20 and their blissful ignorance of the socio-cultural and historical significance of the world-beating feats of past West Indies teams. Sadly, it seems that not enough people, including the players themselves, care much for Test cricket.

We, in Guyana, have become somewhat accustomed to a culture of mediocrity, with most of our best and brightest either ignored or exported. It should come as no consolation, however, that the disease has spread across the region; it has been clear for some time now that the administration of West Indies cricket has been in the hands of a self-serving, self-perpetuating clique of mediocrities, who have consistently either ignored the accumulated experience and knowledge and inspirational power of a generation of world champions, or frustrated the best intentions of the few exceptions whose help has been sought.

How else does one explain a selection panel comprising three men, all pleasant enough individuals but who can only boast a combined total of 27 Tests: Clyde Butts (7), Courtney Browne (20) and Robert Haynes, who actually never even played Test cricket? For them to make changes now would be to admit their culpability and mistakes in the first place. That, sadly, does not appear to be the way of our region.

And how does one explain a head coach who, for all his paper qualifications as a coach and his successful stint as England’s bowling coach, played a mere two Tests and who clearly cannot cure his batting charges of rudimentary technical deficiencies much less teach them how to occupy the crease and put a premium on their wicket? This is the same man, remember, who was happy to have Darren Sammy replace Chris Gayle as captain, tried to get rid of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and was accused by Ramnaresh Sarwan of being responsible for his mental disintegration.

But all four, Messrs Butts, Browne, Haynes and Gibson, have only been doing the bidding of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), first under Julian Hunte, aided and abetted by former CEO Ernest Hilaire, and now, under new WICB president Dave Cameron, who was vice-president to Mr Hunte for three terms.

Continuity has its merits, but not if a rot has set in. The rot in West Indies cricket has gone on for long enough. Unfortunately, we are at our wits’ end to say how it will be stopped.


India v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Visakhapatnam

West Indies slip and stumble, but draw level

CRICINFO Report by Sidharth Monga  November 24, 2013    Comments |

West Indies 289 for 8 (Sammy 63*, Simmons 62, Powell 59, Darren Bravo 50, Ashwin 2-37) beat India 288 for 7 (Kohli 99, Dhoni 51*, Rampaul 4-60) by two wickets.    Scorecard and ball-by-ball details        Full article


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