The Wright View | Better must come
England's defeat of the West Indies in the second of three One Day Internationals (ODIs) on Sunday means that the Windies have lost another home series in the quest to improve its ODI ranking. This ranking is important, as those nations in the bottom third of the list are excluded from automatic qualification to the lucrative ICC World Cup. It also restricts the opportunities for these teams to improve their rankings in the coming year. The new management team of the West Indies Cricket Board has quite rightly played down the expectations of fans who are desperate for us to turn the corner and once again, return to winning ways in International cricket. We are hearing of a plan for 2018!
There were times in the two matches played so far that it seemed as if the youngsters on show in Antigua could actually win one of these games. In fact, the members of the team, in separate interviews, all predicted improved showing in the games as the series continued. However, it now seems as if it was just hot air, with no such improvement seen. The coach bemoaned the level of fielding as one of the main reasons for defeat in the first ODI, and now we await the reason for the second defeat.
West Indian cricket fans (a rapidly diminishing number) are being forced to watch those selected to represent the region being beaten while hearing of the successful exploits of other West Indian cricketers plying their trade in other countries. Outspoken, dismissed captain of the West Indies cricket team, Darren Sammy, led his Peshawar team to victory in Lahore, Pakistan, amid scenes of adulation usually reserved for local heroes. There are reports on ESPN's Cricinfo that Captain Sammy's inspirational and tactical leadership on the field of play ensured that his team (Peshawar) won its way to the finals, while playing in Dubai, then encouraging his overseas teammates to stay calm and focused as the finals was switched to the troubled city of Lahore in Pakistan.
The fact that the overseas players in his opponents' team for the finals all declined to travel to Lahore speaks volumes for the strength of his influence in International cricket circles. Compare his performance, captaincy and positive influence on teammates in the West Indies and internationally with what now obtains back home. Our young captain is trying. Of that there is no doubt, but his inexperience and cricket nous has resulted in our opponents being able to extricate themselves from precarious positions in match after match, snatching defeat from the very jaws of victory.
Knowledgeable cricket fans could be expected to understand that our captain is learning on the job, but their frustration must be understood when there are continuous and persistent reports of West Indian cricketers of far superior quality than those currently in the team, who are not available because of the policies and vindictiveness of the Dave Cameron-led board. However, as we can see in our powerful neighbour up North, and in Jamaica's football hierarchy, these leaders were all democratically elected, and they have influential support from electorates who have economic reasons to continue with the status quo, while the country and sport continue on a definite and relentless downward spiral.
So, as chaos reigns and results continue to defy logic, we hear and see blame being ascribed to everyone and everything except where it belongs; where the buck stops. But let us not give up hope. One day, the penny will drop and change will come. The West Indies cricket team WILL be among the top tier of international cricket. There is too much talent available in the islands, and no poor leader lives forever.