Wed | Sep 18, 2019

Paul Wright | Endless Windies troubles

Published:Tuesday | September 10, 2019 | 12:18 AM
Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt.

In the sport of cricket, a game where we once ruled the world, our downward spiral seemingly continues unabated. The defeat by India was easily predicted, and congratulations are in order for those fans who spent their hard-earned cash to watch yet another defeat at Sabina Park.

The boast by an analyst who defended his appearance at the game by proudly reminding us that he did not have to pay to enter Sabina Park, only helps to make the slide down ICC rankings, although inevitable, distressing.

Our ladies are presently involved in a series against Australia, here at home, and the results so far indicate that the Aussie ladies are using these matches to notch up batting and bowling statistics that will enhance their individual résumés, just like our men used to do years ago when we played Afghanistan and Bangladesh, two cricketing nations who now relish the thought of playing against us, mainly to also embellish their résumés.

GRAND WASTE OF RESOURCES

I thought that we could not sink any lower, and that I should be optimistic as the only way this group of cricketers could go was up. But the news that part-time spinner Kraigg Braithwaite was called for throwing (‘flinging’ in Jamaican parlance) in the Test match against India at Sabina Park, only serves to add salt to a ‘fresh’ wound. This is not the first time that umpires have noticed his action, as he has been previously called, only to be reinstated after a review.

I still believe that to continue to pay this present crop of cricket professionals good money to act as fodder for others who wish to improve their statistics, is a grand waste of resources that should instead be used to assist our under-21, under-19 and under-17 cricketers with their development. The sacking of our best performer with the bat and ball, Jason Holder, as captain of the shorter forms of the game, and the elevation of Kieron Pollard to the post, is another attempt by the Ricky Skerritt-led board to rescue cricket from oblivion.

Appointed at the tender age of 23, Jason Holder did his best by trying to lead from in front, performing when others failed, yet refusing to call out the ones who were obviously and blatantly not pulling their weight and should have been named and shamed. Our new captain, Kieron Pollard, has shown in the past that he has no such qualms, but he should realise that he has to regain some of the form that made him financially independent.

His leadership skills are not in question. When the Trinbago Knight Riders had an emergency caused by the injury to Dwayne Bravo, they lost no time in calling on Pollard. He is the best of this group who has shown the necessary leadership nous necessary to rescue West Indies cricket. Personally, I do not think that it is possible for this group of men to regain our pride, but as a comedian said some time ago: “I like how they’re thinking.”

FUTURE OF FOOTBALL

The shellacking that Antigua and Barbuda received at the hand of the Reggae Boyz in Montego Bay has caused some of us to think that the journey to the World Cup is now well under way. When this piece is read, we should similarly have beaten Guyana. The standout feature of this victory last week was the amount of goals scored by the Boyz.

A quick review of the start of this year’s Red Stripe Premier League also reflects a flurry of goals that augurs well for the future. The sacking of defensive-minded coaches and the coming to the fore of young and attack-minded coaches is reflected in the amount of goals being scored. Goals are what win football matches. The famous so-called quote by an unnamed Brazilian coach who is rumoured to have said, “You-scora-eight goals, we-scora-nine,” is the way to go!

Not losing, or pulling the entire team behind the ball if your team goes one goal up against a difficult opponent results is boring football that reflects on low gate receipts, the very thing that the sport needs to become viable. Hopefully, this new coaching dispensation is not derailed by the occasional loss that will result (á la 3-2 defeat of UWI by new team in the league Molynes United). What prevailed in the first set of games of the league WILL result in better football overall. All hail to the new attacking dispensation in Jamaica’s football.