Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Cricket team lacks consistency

Published:Monday | April 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Years ago, I wrote a letter stating that black pride was what made West Indies cricket great back then, especially in light of the fact that our dominance started in the 1970s when the Black Power movement was at its zenith. One could actually observe a pompous air of superiority in men like Viv Richards in both style and speech. And, of course, under black existentialism, struggle and 'angst' are key to black empowerment and purpose.

Now, in 2016, with the West Indies flagging at the bottom of Test and 50-over rankings while fighting for more pay, comes a second T20 victory - a version that seems so much suited to our style and temperament. One needs, too, to consider the statement by captain Darren Sammy: "The disrespect from journalists ... from our own cricket board ... the only way we could make a statement was by winning this tournament. When you see these 15 men playing out there with hunger and passion, it all stems from what has been boiling inside."

As a poet who knows, like John Hartley Williams and Matthews Sweeney in their book Writing Poetry, that the best poems are born of disturbance, it is now clear that the concept is true of any great performance. It is when our backs are against the wall that we are most determined to shine. The cornered animal is indeed most dangerous.

As Sammy inadvertently suggests, struggle and disappointment are catalysts for greatness. Comments like those of Mark Nicholas, that we are "short on brains", put us to shame, but isn't shame the opposite of pride?

The task now is to get West Indies cricket (especially in Tests) back to the top. Winning single tournaments is not enough. That "hunger" must be engendered consistently.