Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Champions!!

Published:Thursday | April 7, 2016 | 4:00 AM
AP The West Indies men's and women's team pose for a group photo after winning their finals matches of the ICC World Twenty20 2016 cricket tournament at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, India on Sunday.
FILE West Indies Under-19 players and members of the coaching and management staff celebrate winning the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup during the presentation ceremony, after defeating India Under-19s at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka, on Sunday, February 14, 2016.
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A time will come when reason prevails over West Indies cricket. Right now, despite the discomforts being aired, we are champions of the world three times over. That's no mean feat.

Mere weeks after victory in the Under-19 World Cup, the West Indies took two titles in the space of just a few hours at the T20 World Cup on the weekend. Those wins didn't come easily. The men's innings rode on the back of good bowling, a stable innings of 85 by Marlon Samuels and a swashbuckling finish by Carlos Brathwaite.

Sunday's double dominance can't gloss over the problematic issues that attend West Indies cricket. It can't, by itself, heal the cracks of trust that are evident. It doesn't even guarantee that a great Test team will emerge soon with a blend of veterans and debutants from the Under-19 team, even though anything is possible.

It does, however, reassert the region's potential for greatness in cricket. Twenty20 isn't Test cricket, but when one nation can win three world titles in a matter of weeks and two on the same day, it shows that there is definitely something worth saving.

JUST AS VALUABLE

For many, these three victories are just as valuable as triumphs over England and Australia in Tests. As offered in the space recently, the Under-19 success provides hope for the future. Our women, led by Stafanie Taylor, look set for a long reign among the world's best.

The quarrels are reminiscent of the street protests in Sydney by Jamaican athletes in 2000 when Merlene Ottey replaced Peta-Gaye Dowdie on the team roster for the Olympic 100 metres. Then, as now, frustrations bubbled over and led to an airing of dirty linen in public. Instead of celebration, sanction is the watchword.

When the dust settles, one hopes that all will agree that eligibility to play for the West Indies will rest on participation in regional tournaments with some concomitant flexibility to allow the professional cricketer the chance to make some money elsewhere, while it is there for the taking.

In the meantime, this is still a time for celebration. Even in the turbulent aftermath of the big double, the image of our women and then our men dancing happily with the World Cup trophies are inspiring.

Combined with the recent Under-19 success, it is a sign of how great we can be in cricket.

n Hubert Lawrence has attended the Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London.