Follow The Trace | Bravo, West Indies Cricket!
A poignant reminder of the continued erosion of West Indies cricket is playing out in the still-unfolding saga involving embattled batsman Darren Bravo and the board president Dave Cameron.
Essentially, Bravo's feisty and obviously inappropriate tweet referring to Cameron as a "big idiot," has seen the Trinidadian being subsequently barred from West Indies selection, and indeed from all cricket organised by Cricket West Indies.
Typically, as is the case with all contentious issues involving West Indies cricket in recent times, opinions are split along insular, agenda-driven lines. The stakeholders who are against President Cameron and his administration, for whatever reason, will continue to try subtle and not-so-subtle ways to excuse, justify, and even condone Bravo's insolent, inappropriate, and disrespectful actions.
Darren Bravo is absolutely out of order and deservedly out of the West Indies set-up until he mans up and shows some remorse and accepts some level or responsibility for his actions. His adamant refusal to accede to the request of the board to remove the tweet from his account and apologise for his indiscretion epitomises the most fundamental reason for the changing face of West Indies cricket.
Within the context of a general evolution of the game, Test cricket continues to struggle for relevance and appeal. Meanwhile, Twenty20 (T20) cricket continues to flourish with booming popularity and the resultant mega profits. As a result, the typical West Indian player, more so than any other player from any other international territory, is no longer fully committed to representing the West Indies.
If Darren Bravo depended totally on representing the West Indies for putting his pot on the fire, he would have taken down that tweet and apologised to Cameron months ago. The argument could even be made that Bravo most likely would not have made that tweet in the first place.
It is, of course, hardly the fault of the modern West Indian player that his naturally athletic and explosive attributes make him ideally suited to the T20 format which has blossomed into a financial haven for the top players from the region. Call it luck, call it good fortune, or call it whatever you may, but it is simply the changing face of cricket that happens to be attracting and enriching individual elite players from the region. This is a development that has in turn resulted in the ultimate demise of West Indies cricket as we once knew it.
BIG GAME CHANGER
It is that financial independence to be achieved by playing "alternative cricket" that has created the biggest game changer in the fortunes of the West Indies team, especially in the longer formats of the game. The sorry state of our Test and one-day International teams has precious little to do with the specific board president or the overall make-up and direction of the administration, but more to do with the shifting of priorities of the players.
The dilemma facing a player like Darren Bravo in his current situation is that he is a proverbial big fish in a small pond. He is a reasonable player in an awful team that continues to alienate substantial numbers of its traditional supporters by its woeful performances. If Darren Bravo was a superstar in a winning team, than the dynamics would be totally different. Possibly, Cameron would be the one apologising and would possibly be forced to resign. However, in the wider scheme of things, Darren Bravo is a 'nobody in cricket'. The West Indies were poor while he was playing, and they will continue to be poor whether he returns. I think therefore, that Darren Bravo's ego is leading him down a path from whence there might be no return. The sad thing for Bravo is no one will miss him.