On Target
March 12, 2010
One-eyed Kings!

Being one-eyed kings in blind men’s country may be good in reality, but for sure, it is no good when it comes to sport.

The recently concluded West Indies Cricket Board four-day regional competition characterized just that.{{more}}

The records show that the slow bowlers, who are unfortunately referred to as “spinners”, were the ones who dominated the bowling and accounted for the major spoils in the wickets column.

But are these same players striving to become a Shane Warne or a Muttiah Muralitharan? I guess not as they are seemingly satisfied with being the kings of the Caribbean and commoners of the world.

It must really be a big lie and living in a false world for the slow bowlers of the region who must be flabbergasted by their healthy returns.

The trundlers who got over 20 wickets, basked in the just higher level than schoolboy Cricket competition, were plenty.

Imran Khan of Trinidad and Tobago led the way with 41 scalps. Odean Brown of Jamaica, 30, Kavesh Kantasighn of the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) had 29, the Windwards’ Shane Shillingford, 28, Ryan Austin (CCC), 27, Rawl Lewis – the Windwards, 27, and Amit Jagguernauth of Trinidad and Tobago, 27. Omari Banks and Davendra Bishoo of the Leewards and Guyana, respectively, each took 24. Nikita Miller who played only three matches got 22, and the Leewards’ Anthony Martin, 21.

But to show up the weakness of these bowlers, top performer Shivnarine Chanderpaul played against Barbados and the Leewards, was not out twice, inclusive of a century, and was not dismissed by any slow bowler.

Chanderpaul’s fellow Guyanese Ramnaresh Sarwan who turned out against the Windwards was out off the bowling of Lewis, but not before hitting a century.

The poor state of the pitches, coupled with equally inept batting, made some of these bowlers into star lights who cannot flicker when asked to step up to international duties.

But, while they were enjoying the bounty, the former fast bowling assembly line seems to have halted.

West Indies forgottens, Pedro Collins and Lionel Baker, were the standouts. Collins, a Barbadian, captured 26 wickets, and Baker of the Leewards, 23, of which 13 were harvested in one match.

In the batting department, it was mainly the tried, tested and failed persons who shone in the present darkness of regional Cricket.

The top ten batsmen were Devon Smith of the Windwards with 546, Dale Richards of Barbados, 457, Ryan Hinds, 446, Jason Haynes – Barbados, 432; Andre Fletcher – the Windwards, 431, Kirk Edwards – Barbados, 425; Justin Guillien – Trinidad and Tobago, 419, Denesh Ramdin – Trinidad and Tobago and Wavell Hinds of Jamaica, who both played three matches, scored 340 and 330, respectively. Banks hit 319 in total.

To compound, no new batsman lit up the competition. There were 16 triple figure individual scores. Smith and Ramdin had two centuries to their names.

Only Gullien, the Windwards’ Liam Sebastian and Jamaica’s Danza Hyatt were the centurions who have never played Test Cricket for the regional side.

But ironically, the Windwards and Guyana, who jointly tied for the sixth and last spot in the seven-team race, had the highest scores. Guyana scored 452, to which the Windwards replied with 462 in their head to head meeting.

Jamaica, who won the title for the third consecutive year, was only able to score in excess of 300 runs on four occasions.

So how can the regional side compete against the other test playing countries when 31 team totals ranged between 200 and 300?

This emphasizes the state of West Indies Cricket, as without the “stars” who were out on one-day and T/20 money-making duties in Australia, the young aspiring players could not take advantage.

It is also these reasons that no one bothers to attend regional Cricket matches, but yet each player gets US$ 1,300 per match, more than a Qualified Assistant Teacher’s month’s salary here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

So the “best“ of the under-achievers are selected to represent the West Indies and the results then speak for themselves. And, the cycle continues year after year.

But it is also time for the cycle to end for the call of the complete removal of the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.