Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Ramdin - a very, very lucky man

Published:Sunday | November 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Denesh Ramdin

Tony Becca, Contributor

It is written somewhere in the Good Book that you reap what you sow. That, however, and obviously does not mean anything to the West Indies cricketers who recently embarrassed the West Indies in India.

Surprisingly, eight of them, eight of the players who recently and unceremoniously pulled out of the tour to India, including Test match captain Denesh Ramdin, have been selected by the West Indies to tour South Africa, a tour that takes place even before the dust of shame has settled over the West Indies.

What is surprising, however, based on the West Indies history, is that all of the players who were in India were not selected, including the ring leader, ODI skipper Dwayne Bravo.

Maybe the plan was to pick some and omit some while hoping to get away with it.

BRAVE PEOPLE

The South Africans, however, must be a brave people, brave enough to agree to host the West Indies, this set of West Indians, who may well wake up one day, any day, and to a man, say, "Come on, it's time to leave this place."

The South Africans may spend many sleepless nights wondering when, when will the West Indies strike, not with bat or ball, but when will they go on strike, abort the tour, and walk away leaving behind mayhem, and a big, almost unmanageable debt.

But who cares, especially when the players will not pay for their folly.

None of the players who were in India, young or old, regardless of their dispute with the Players' Association, should have been selected for the tour to South Africa.

Chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd has said that the selectors' job is to select the best squad to represent the region, and that is true, in most cases. This time, however, it should not have been business as usual. The board should have acted.

If it is that the West Indies Board is awaiting the findings of the Task Force, or the result of its own disciplinary committee, both of which, most times, are a waste of time, then the players should have been suspended until such time.

The players' behaviour in India justified such action.

The West Indies Board has blundered once
again, as it has on so many, many occasions; or maybe it is its general
weakness that has come to the fore, once again; or it is its basic
incompetence which has been evident for sometime
now.

Had the board been firm but fair in the past,
many times in the past, maybe the catastrophe of India would never have
happened. Dwayne Bravo and his friends may never have even thought of
it.

The great players of long ago had problems, in the
days of no money they had money problems, and some of them threatened
all sorts of things. None of them, however, not in the days of Kerry
Packer in the 1970s, went as far as Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Darren
Sammy, captains all, and their colleagues in
India.

Would they have had the guts to do what they
did had president Peter Short not gone to talk Brian Lara into rejoining
his teammates after Lara had walked out on them and changed hotel on
the tour of England in 1995, or had president Pat Rousseau not gone to
London to talk to Lara and company when the players left South Africa in
1998 and went to London with a threat not to go back to South Africa,
Nelson Mandela or no Nelson Mandela, or had the board acted firmly but
fairly when the players went on the strikes they did in the past, as
they did for the start of the series against South Africa in
2005?

MISGUIDED ACTIONS

No one
knows, but at every turn the board tried to patch up things and the
players, including the captains, were allowed to return to action when
it pleased them. The board, misguidedly, tried to put West Indies
cricket first by playing the best players regardless, sometimes even
sweeping other indiscretions under the rug.

Ramdin and
company are lucky, very lucky, and of those selected to tour South
Africa, Ramdin is probably the luckiest off
all.

Looked on as a possible West Indies captain from
his days as a youth player, Ramdin, before he became captain of the West
Indies, once claimed, in a Test match, a catch which he did not take,
and once in a Test match also used the television to try and embarrass
Viv Richards, a former West Indies captain, a West Indian legend, a
national hero of Antigua.

Still, he became the West
Indies captain, and without an apology for his
indiscretions.

And then, as a member of the team in
India, and as the Test match captain, he foolishly, or otherwise,
followed Dwayne Bravo and abandoned the tour.

Back
home in Trinidad and Tobago, he went to a meeting with the Trinidad and
Tobago Board over one hour late, wearing shorts and slippers, the dress
code of a number of West Indies cricketers of recent times, and despite
being the captain of Trinidad and Tobago, he told the people, those who
selected him as such, that he could not speak to
them.

Captaincy is more than flipping the coin in the
middle, setting out batting order, make bowling changes, and shifting
fielders around. Captaincy, especially of the West Indies, the many
territories of the West Indies, calls for carrying out policy, including
dress code and general discipline, honesty and integrity, and it calls
for standing up to principles.

West Indies cricketers
are, or should be, ambassadors of the West Indies, and they should
behave as the West Indians of 1967 did after the crowd had invaded the
field in a Test match and the West Indians decided to go home before
Frank Worrell, who was in India, asked to say something to the
players.

Worrell told them about their responsibility
as cricketers, about their duty as West Indies ambassadors, and about
the importance of country-to-country relations.

The
West Indies Board is obviously weak to allow Ramdin and friends to go to
South Africa, and with all that has happened in West Indies cricket in
recent years, and with all that is happening now, the board must go, in
the best interest of West Indies cricket, and it must go quickly, or
share the fate of Humpty
Dumpty.