Tue | Jan 17, 2017

WI need five-year leave of absence

Published:Tuesday | December 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM
AP West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul (left) leaves the field after he was caught by South Africa's Alviro Petersen (centre) in the West Indies first innings. At right is Petersen's teammate teammate Dean Elgar. The action is from the third day of the first Test at Centurion Park in Pretoria, South Africa.

I confess to being an ardent West Indian cricket fan, one who goes to bed early so as to get up at 3 a.m. to watch the first Test match between the world's number one team, South Africa, and minnows West Indies.

Even now, I am not sure what I expected. What has happened is that I am personally humiliated by what was shown on my television screen, a mismatch - boys against men; those who understood cricket, prepared, and thought out opponents versus a group of men who got a "trip" and "nuff" cash.

(Nice work, if you can get it.) West Indian cricket has been on a steady slide down the world rankings, moving from number one to number eight.

How often have we heard commentators and "experts" say that "the West Indies are turning the corner". We have been turning the corner for so long now that these men are in danger of falling down because of dizziness caused by constantly "turning the corner".

The present West Indies Test team is just not good enough to threaten the top six Test-playing nations. There are no signs that this position will change in the next five to 10 years as the young men in the Caribbean are more interested in 'big money', which is what T20, and to a lesser extent, one-day cricket, promises.

There also appears to be no leadership at the administrative level.

UNTRUSTWORTHY PEOPLE

To make matters worse, former Test great Michael Holding and the Caricom representative to West Indian cricket, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, have now made public their reasoned impression of the administration of West Indies cricket: "untrustworthy!"

When the present board allowed a squad of players to go on a tour of India without any idea of their contractual arrangements and bobbed and weaved when it was obvious that the players recognised that their union president had not settled the matter, it was obvious to everyone that what was needed was a new beginning.

However, in typical West Indian style, a committee was established to "look into the matter", and as was expected, found that everyone was wrong, everyone was to blame, no one was held accountable, therefore, back to the status quo.

So a team of disgruntled players was selected and sent to play against the best the world has to offer, and we were to expect a grand fight, close finishes, etc.

What is needed in the West Indies is for us to understand and realise that as a Test-playing nation, we are a joke. Let us be brave and request from the International Cricket Council (ICC) a five-year leave of absence from Test cricket. Say thanks to this present crop of 'senior' cricketers and concentrate on under-15 youngsters.

With proper guidance re technique, nutrition, and education, we will produce technically gifted young men with the ability to THINK. Then, and only then, should we re-enter the Test cricket arena.

Therefore, the choice before us, "we-the-people", is: Do we continue to play Test cricket, or do we INSIST that the present administration and structure of West Indies cricket be dramatically altered as per the Patterson report?

In closing, let me remind the presidents of WIPA and the WICB that talent is God-given. Be humble! Fame is man-given. Be thankful! Conceit is self-given. Be careful!