Dr Paul Wright: WI cricket needs overhaul in leadership
I watched the Test match between the West Indies and Australia recently. I've also read various statements and watched interviews from members of the CARICOM subcommittee on cricket and the president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
I thought that the attitude and performance of the players in the Test match were simply disgraceful. I also thought that the attitude and performance of the president of the WICB were simply disgraceful.
I think it is disgraceful because the WICB had agreed to the setting up of the CARICOM cricket committee and had selected and placed its own representatives on the body, implying that the recommendations would be binding on the contributing participants.
But I forgot that the president of the board had shown time and time again that his word means absolutely nothing as he continues to defy the wishes of every West Indian fan who does not benefit from the decisions of this group of men.
Then I saw an interview with one of my favourite batsmen, Virat Kohli, the captain of the victorious Indian Test team that defeated South Africa in their recent Test series. My hero, Kohli, lashed out against critics of his victorious squad, saying, among other things that someone who had never played Test cricket should criticise those who had because it was impossible for them to understand the pressure that these players undergo in a Test match.
Instead, flaws and deficiency in Test players should be discussed privately with the player, and publicly, players should be praised so as not to bruise their fragile egos. I have never played Test cricket and I have in the past criticised players.
So now, according to the wishes of my hero, I will try to find positives when commenting on the activities and performance of cricketers. So here goes: in the Test match between the West Indies and Australia, I thought the quality of bandaging of eight fingers of Marlon Samuels was well done. I particularly liked the way he kept both hands in his pockets, playing with what might have been loose change or marbles, enabling him to know exactly when six balls had been bowled in an over so that he could change his fielding position, slowly, so as not to risk injury.
I also noted (with admiration) the way Kemar Roach bowled each ball at a different part of the pitch, keeping the Australian batsmen uncertain as to when he would bowl a ball on a good length and in the so called 'corridor of uncertainty'. This unconventional and unique tactic ensured that he was not used for more than four overs in the opening session, allowing him a well-earned rest as the other bowlers were slammed all over the ground as record after record was broken, ensuring that when history is written, his name would be among those involved in the massive total of the Australians.
Darren Bravo's innings of 108 and Kraigg Braithwaite's innings of 94 out of a total of 148 has already been praised by other writers, so I will not highlight those obvious positives in the loss to the Australians.
JASONHOLDER'S UNORTHODOX FIELD PLACING
I will, however, point out that the unorthodox field placing of the captain, Jason Holder, ensured that he could not be accused of putting any pressure on his Australian hosts during the game (thereby upsetting them), and as a bonus, his field placing ensured that his fellow fielders did not have to go very far to retrieve the balls from the boundary ropes, thus keeping them fresh for other matches in the long tour of Australia.
So no one can say that we, who have never played Test cricket, criticised these cricketers, who, according to the president of the West Indies Players Association, Wavell Hinds, earn more money in a year than teachers, nurses, and doctors, as he advised young Jamaican cricketers to choose cricket as a career.
The leadership of cricket in the region and the poor performances locally and internationally are inextricably linked. The only way to save cricket is a wholesale removal of the leadership of cricket and concentrating on our Under-19 cricketers.
Failure to do this will ensure that the sport will lose its relevancy in the region and internationally.