On Target
March 27, 2015
Just the way it is

The inevitable exit of the West Indies from the Cricket World Cup 2015 should not surprise, as anything better would have been a massive fluke.

In fact, to reach the quarter final-stage, should be hailed as somewhat of an achievement, as on merit, the West Indies is worse than can be counted among the top eight teams at the One Day International level in the world.{{more}}

There would certainly be arguments and counter arguments as to what went wrong and what should have been done.

But the West Indies lost any semblance of at least a respectable return from the tournament, from the happenings that have festered over time.

Therefore, no one should have expected anything better than what transpired as representation, first of all to the sport, and to the millions of people the team represents.

Inaugural winners of the World Cup in 1975, and retaining the title in 1979, there lies the success of the regional outfit.

Downhill have been the fortunes of the West Indies since being defeated by India in the final in 1983.

The West Indies only made it to the first round stage in 1987 and 1992.

A place in the semis in 1996 was followed by successive first round eliminations in 1999 and 2003.

When the Caribbean hosted the global event back in 2007, the West Indies got to the then Super-Eight stage and no further, with a quarter-final place in 2011, the best the West Indies could have done then.

Not that trophies at global competitions are the lone barometer for the sport’s success and progress, but they are instructive of the way the preparations and institutions in place work.

The West Indies’ most recent success at a world event was the Twenty/20 title in 2012. However, many pay little attention to this, as any number can play in this format.

Eleven years ago, the West Indies pouched the Champions Trophy, as the success train stops by intermittently.

What unfolds for cricket on the field by the West Indies team is in concert with the state of the sport in the region.

Except for Pakistan, no other cricketing nation is more disjointed and sporadic than the West Indies’ set-up.

To put it mildly, West Indies cricket is poor, the cricketers on show are not students of the sport and more so the administration is pathetic and unimaginative.

This has been so for some time, except that in the current state, both are operating in unison and are affecting each other.

As it is, the West Indies has more problems than there are solutions.

No one has faith in the players nor the WICB, the governing arm of cricket in the region.

Players don’t respect the board, and the board itself does not have the moral authority – earned nor given.

It has been the same khaki pants, a recycling of players, whilst those with the responsibilities of decision making are bankrupt of anything good to move the sport out of the mire.

For the past 30 years, after more than two decades of near invincibility, West Indies cricket, has not caught itself.

The West Indies must now hold the record for the longest a cricketing nation has taken in trying to turn that proverbial corner to recovery.

During that period, coaches have come, coaches have gone; several positions with fanciful nomenclatures; numerous consultations, documentaries; cricket analysts; there have been numerous reports, commissions, strategic plans, you name it.

Players are better paid; even a semi-professionalization of the sport regionally, has taken effect.

Yet, we are in the same position and have even regressed. As it is, West Indies has more problems than there are solutions.

Therefore, the best bet is a purging of the system, players and administrators alike.

Starting from scratch with a new crop of personnel all round has to be the panacea.

However, there must be that cleansing, that cultural revolution in the whole approach to cricket, otherwise, the West Indies will, for next 30 years, be a team still playing bat and ball, as is the present occurrence, instead of cricket.