Tony Becca ON THE BOUNDARY
Jamaicans are happy for three reasons,
One reason for the ecstatic mood in Jamaica is the recent treatment of Chris Gayle by the West Indies and Hilaire, another reason is the treatment of other players by the West Indies and Hilaire, including Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jerome Taylor, and still another reason is the recent continued "cuss-cuss" between the West Indies and Hilaire and the West Indies Players Association, the number of losing court cases, and the resulting loss of money through those losses.
Another reason why Jamaicans are happy is that Muirhead is a Jamaican and not a St Lucian like president Julian Hunte, Hilaire, or captain Darren Sammy.
In bidding farewell to Hilaire, however, the West Indies, including Jamaicans, should save a thought for him and should say a word of thanks as he moves on.
Hilaire came into West Indies cricket when it had lost control of its players, when a number of its players had lost respect for it and its officers, when the players did, or tried to do, whatever they wanted to do, when the players went on strike at the drop of a hat, and when the administration and the officers had lost control and could not, or did not, do anything about it.
Went too far
In fairness to Hilaire, he tried to stop it, but in trying to stop it, he and his team went too far, to the point where he appeared autocratic and where he appeared to believe that he could treat the players any old way.
The West Indies players, although they were not performing, were the heroes of the people, the people sided with the players, and the players, with money in their pockets, some of them with alternative competitions in which to ply their trade, refused to put up with such treatment
West Indies cricket suffered during that time, as it did immediately prior to that, and although it has shown some signs of recovering, it is still suffering.
West Indies cricket has not recovered - not anywhere compared to what it was before, and despite what president Hunte says, despite what Hilaire himself says, despite what Sammy says, despite what coach Ottis Gibson says, and despite a few good days here and there, that is a fact.
When they talk about the promise of Darren Bravo and Craig Brathwaite as batsmen and about the promise of Devendra Bishoo and Sunil Narine as bowlers, they are correct, no doubt about that.
They forget, however, either that or they do not remember, things such as Lawrence Rowe's performance, 214 and 100 not out, in his first Test match, Alvin Kallicharran's performance, 100 not out and 101, in his first two Test matches, Gordon Greenidge's performance, 93 run out and 107, in his first Test match, and Vivian Richards performance, 192 not out, in his second Test match.
They also must have forgotten, or do not remember, that when Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, and Colin Croft, plus Wayne Daniel, were cutting down batsmen around the world, youngsters, like Malcolm Marshall and Sylvester Clarke, were there or there about, and Courtney Walsh, Curtley Ambrose, Patrick Patterson, and Ian Bishop were on the way.
To Hilaire's credit, and that of coach Gibson, the West Indies team of today appears much more together than immediately before, they seem like they want to play for the West Indies, that performance is of great importance to West Indies cricket, and that is a plus for West Indies cricket.
Michael Muirhead, the man who was the former Tourism Product Development Company executive director, a former management consultant with Pricewater-houseCooper, and a former manager of National Commercial Bank, has signed on for three years, and he has said that he will do his utmost to maintain the position that the West Indies hold in international cricket while ensuring that West Indians can once again hold their heads high.
President Hunte has said that Muirhead brings a wealth of experience to the job and is a man on whom the Board can rely to execute its programmes and policies.
West Indians hope so, because of that, West Indian fans wish Muirhead well, and while I do not know much about his cricket background, while I believe a cricket background is almost as important as any other qualification in doing a good job in cricket, I also wish him well in this difficult job.
Muirhead has a lot of work ahead of him, but as one who lived through the glory days of West Indies cricket, as one who experienced, with the people, those great days, and as important as things like the strategic plan, the corporate governance model, the MOUs, and other things are to West Indies cricket, the things concerning cricket on the field of play are most important.
West Indians love to win, they are not winning now, and they are hurting. Muirhead, who is a nice, happy man, must bring back the joy to the people, and make them love West Indies cricket again, as much as they used to do when they were champions and before that.
If Muirhead does that, he will have done a good job.
The ICC World Twenty20 is on its way in Sri Lanka and up to Friday the West Indies, the people's favourites, were still awaiting their first hit.
After the first four days, six matches have been played, and with Sri Lanka beating Zimbabwe by 82 runs, Australia defeating Ireland by seven wickets, India beating Afghanistan by 23 runs, South Africa defeating Zimbabwe by 10 wickets, New Zealand beating Bangladesh by 59 runs, and England defeating Afghanistan by 116 after removing the minnows for 80 after they were struggling at 26 for eight off nine overs, the fancied teams have proven, so far, too hot for the opposition.
While those early matches suggest that the tournament may be one-sided, one thing is sure: with Sri Lanka's Tilakaratne Dilshan reeling off his scoop sweep much to the enjoyment of the fans, with India's Virat Kohli hitting Afghanistan off-spinner, Karim Sadiq straight for six and three beautiful Sri Lankan girls doing the Usain Bolt pose in tribute to the stroke, and with Afghanistan's opening batsman, the short, stocky Mohammad Shahzad showing off his "Helicopter" shot over mid-wicket off Zaheer Khan - an indescribable wheel-over stroke, the World Twenty20 promises excitement, and fun, galore.
In fact, with Sri Lanka's mystery spinner, Ajantha Mendis taking a record six wickets for eight runs off his four overs, New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, going to bat at 19 for one after 3.2 overs and smashing 123 off 58 deliveries after hitting 11 fours and seven sixes, and with England's Luke Wright, going to bat at zero for one after one over and slamming 99 not out off 55 deliveries with eight fours and six sixes, the World T20 is heading for a thrilling, action-packed finish.