Mon | Sep 25, 2017

The Wright View | No flukes!

Published:Tuesday | July 11, 2017 | 7:00 AM
West Indies opening batsman Evin Lewis on his way to his score of 135 runs against India in a Twenty20 cricket match at Sabina Park in Kingston on Sunday.

The Jamaicans who performed on the world stage this past weekend continued a trend which has been a salve to the many negatives, day after day, that we have to endure as violence continues unabated in our fair isle.

The victory of the West Indian Women over Sri Lanka in the ongoing ICC Women's World Cup came even though the quality of the performance fell well short of the excellence we had come to expect prior to the World Cup. A worrying feature of the victory was the body language of the players and lack of 'joy' when the players gathered after a wicket was taken, or during a water break.

I got the distinct impression that there was tension between the captain, Stafanie Taylor, and most of the players on the field. I hope that I am wrong, but there MUST be something, some undercurrent among the players and possibly the support staff that can explain that inexplicable loss of form that may see the team ousted from the second stage of the tournament.

 

Almost guaranteed gold

 

In the IAAF Diamond League in London, Elaine Thompson (in 'trainers') and Fedrick Dacres maintained their good form with performances that confirmed to us fawning fans that gold in the World Championships in August is almost guaranteed. When Usain and the rest of the team complete their preparation, the promised heat of August will seem cool to the 'heat' in Jamaica generated by their performances.

The Reggae Boyz, armed with the inclusion of the MLS-based players, showed in no uncertain manner that the defeat by CuraÁao in the finals of the CFU Caribbean Cup was definitely a fluke result.

In the first half, the exclusion of Darren Mattocks bothered me, but once he came on to the pitch, his ability to score goals brought comfort to a side that seemed under pressure from a rampant CuraÁao side. But, three points is three points.

The next game in Denver, against Mexico, beckons. It will be a tricky game, no doubt, as Denver, with its challenges regarding altitude, may give Mexico a distinct advantage. This is over teams with most of their players living and playing at sea level. But, as they say, the ball is round and the Mexicans might be a bit short of their best, as they will field players without a coach has been banned from the touchline.

Then on Sunday afternoon, the best available Twenty20 (T20) players in the region were selected to play against India, and play they did.

Evin Lewis proved that his score against India in Florida last year was no fluke, as he showed us and the world the true meaning of T20 cricket. Being dropped twice, and giving other chances, did not phase this young man. He was relentless and destructive to anything that India threw at him. The Big Man himself, Chris Gayle, seemed in awe as Lewis thrashed the ball to all parts of the ground. The dismissal of Gayle brought elder statesman and Mr Cool himself, Marlon Samuels, to the wicket. Here the experience in pacing a run chase came to the fore, as Samuels accelerated when necessary and ran singles when necessary. Truly a feast for West Indian cricket fans, who had become weary of hearing their one-day and Test captain Jason Holder search desperately for excuses to explain defeat after defeat, while knowing fully well that speaking the truth about why he cannot lead a team to a series win will result in his instant dismissal.

The essence of international sport remains the best of ours against the best of yours. Anything less, such as refusing to select the best available players in order to satisfy what can only be described as egomania, will only stultify cricket and relegate the West Indies to associate status in the near future.

Some West Indian leaders are trying to save West Indies cricket, as they foresee the inevitable ... associate status. But as history has shown, in the struggle for what is right, victory will only come when the people are energised enough to demand change.