A job well done
Tony Becca ON THE BOUNDARY
The West Indies first won the World Cup in 1975 and in 1979, the first years of its existence, and since then, they have been to the semi-finals on only two occasions - once in1983 and once in 1996.
The next World Cup will be staged in February, and West Indians believe that it is about time the West Indies win it again.
The truth is that there are a few who believe that they can win it and that they should win it, if for no other reason than that this level of cricket, the 50- over and the T20 versions, is right up the West Indies' street.
The general feeling is that the pace of the formats and the power of the West Indies players combine to make the two tournaments tailor-made for the West Indies.
That is strange, however, and it is strange because, with all that, the West Indies have not won the Cup or gone close to winning it, but for those early years, and they have not won the T20 title but for one solitary occasion.
The sad truths are that not everything that glitters is gold, and that, but for Christopher Gayle, the West Indies big hitters, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Smith, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, and Dwayne Bravo, have flattered only to deceive on most occasions.
While the West Indies appear invincible, and sometimes exciting, whenever they are in the team, or any number of them, they have failed the West Indies more times, many more times, than they have been successful.
In some cases, on many occasions, it has been a situation in which brain takes a backseat to brawn - even in the field where they can be so exciting.
The scent of victory, the promise of winning, may be the reason why so many fans are angry with the selectors and the West Indies Board for the omission of Bravo and Pollard from the West Indies team for the World Cup.
To me, however, they deserve their fate.
As Clive Lloyd, chairman of the selection committee, has said, they have not done enough to be selected, they have not done anything for the West Indies recently, they have not performed in West Indies cricket recently, and the selectors wanted players who are loyal to West Indies cricket, who want to see West Indies cricket move up the ladder.
Lloyd also said the players' figures and averages, most of them, are poor, and that is true. Because, he went on, the selectors need to try out players and give others a chance and despite it being a World Cup where the best team is expected to be selected, that, in this case, is also true.
Lloyd also said that if the West Indies have so many top-class players then they should be in a better position than number eight for the past 10 years or so, and that is also true.
In other words, right now, when one considers skill, form, injuries, commitment to West Indies cricket but for Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and Samuels, and a few promising youngsters, no one is sacred. It is as simple as that.
On top of all that, I believe, despite the board's poor handling of the situation, that Bravo and Pollard and all members of the team in India, all those who supported the team cutting the tour short and coming home, should have paid a price for their folly.
Not one of them should have been selected for South Africa, and not one of them should have been selected for the World Cup, win or lose.
Regardless of their problems, US$42 million is a lot of money, the players behaved like spoilt children, they showed no respect for India, they showed no understanding of international affairs, and they have embarrassed not only themselves, not only West Indies cricket, but also the West Indian people.
And as they have done everything else, the West Indian people must not forget it. They must not forget what the players have done, and neither must they forget the board and all who were responsible, in whatever way, for the Indian fiasco.
Clive Lloyd was a great captain. He is the second greatest captain the West Indies ever had, next to Frank Worrell, and he is one of the greatest captains the world has ever seen.
Lloyd has been found wanting on a few occasions since his playing days ended as the captain of the world champions. This time around, however, as the chief selector, he is spot on, and so is the board this time around.
Selecting a team, much more a cricket team, much more the West Indies team, is never easy, no doubt about that.
West Indies cricket, however, needs a change, it needs a different thought-process, and it seems to be changing. We need a few stars, players who will rise above the mediocrity and make West Indies cricket great once again.
The West Indies just cannot continue to accept mediocrity, to accept the swagger of the mediocre, and to allow the mediocre to stall their progress and to damage their legacy, all to their own selfish ends and especially when the great players of West Indies cricket, and the great deeds, come to mind.