On Target
August 12, 2016
Best at being our worst

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), in many quarters over the years, has been labelled and accused of being unprofessional, uncaring and most of all, vindictive.

Each passing day, these assessments are proven to be truths, as their operations have given credence to such.{{more}}

Therefore, when Darren Sammy was axed as the West Indies Twenty/20 captain and dropped totally from the team last week via that infamous 30-second phone call by head of the selection panel Courtney Browne, it was just a case of being true to form.

Sammy did not have a title deed on the captaincy, nor a guaranteed place in the team, as some day he had to leave the stage.

Instead, he joined many others before him, and was served an eviction notice, forthwith.

But nothing should surprise anyone when it comes to West Indies cricket, as in train is an engrained policy of tit for tat, butter for fat.

Browne’s explanation was that Sammy can no longer command a place in the team, as his performance with bat and ball in recent Twenty/20 international matches for the West Indies did not light up the headlines. That may be so, but Sammy is the same man who led the regional team to the World T/20 title in India last April.

It was the same Browne, who a few weeks ago, bore similar news to Denesh Ramdin as wicketkeeper of the test team.

In the latest unfolding of West Indies cricket soap opera, history will show that Sammy has two world titles under his belt as captain, with the said 20/20 crown attained in 2012 in Sri Lanka.

But Browne is simply the messenger, the hatchet man, the conduit for the revelation of the bad news items.

In simple terms, something is awry, as nowhere in the current set-up can it be said that Sammy is not among the best 13 Twenty/20 cricketers the region possesses at this juncture.

The fact that Sammy is being sought by several franchises across the globe for their various Twenty/20 competitions is testimony of his abilities in the shortest form of the sport.

One, then, can only speculate, but with a high degree of accuracy, that there is something in the mortar more than the pestle.

First that jumps out at any one who follows the sport closely was Sammy’s critical comments of the WICB’s operations at a post-match interview at the Twenty/20 triumph in India.

His outburst was uncharacteristic of someone who has been defined as a statesman of the sport and who exemplified diplomacy to West Indies cricket and more so, the WICB.

To some people, it was inevitable that Sammy would have been hauled over the coals and grilled for dinner by the regional administrators.

He paid the ultimate price of becoming in the annals of history, a past West Indies captain and player in all forms, test, one-day internationals and twenty/20 internationals.

What then followed Sammy’s sacking was another piece of absurdity, as Carlos Braithwaite was handed the West Indies 20/20 captaincy. With all things equal, can Carlos Braithwaite too command a place in a West Indies T/20, if he is not captain?

Did his match winning innings in the World T/20 final versus England, when he struck four successive sixes, compliments the thoughtless efforts of Ben Stokes, propel him as the best person to lead the regional team in this format?

Deeper than Braithwaite’s elevation is a trend that is being institutionalized in West Indies cricket.

While it is the best team that should be put on show at all times for the West Indies, irrespective of the territory one hails from, something says otherwise.

Not wanting to be insular, but the Barbadianization of West Indies cricket is taking root.

The test and one-day captain is Barbadian – Jason Holder; 20/20 captain – Carlos Braithwaite.

Down the line, test vice-captain is Barbadian Kraigg Braithwaite; in the present test outfit which is taking on India, there are seven Barbadians in the 14-member squad.

Other key positions see the head of the selection committee – Courtney Browne of Barbados; manager of the senior West Indies team – Joel Garner of Barbados; and bowling coach – Roddy Estwick, also of Barbados.

The subtle message sent out by this type of configuration is that Barbados’ cricket is the strongest in the region; however, the results of the latest sets of WICB competitions do not suggest that thinking.

The West Indies cricket team, which has been and still is the lone unifying factor among Caribbean people the world over, continues to have such status diminished and redefined by the actions of our administrators

It is said that a thousand French men cannot be wrong, as fixing our cricket in the region is mandatory.

Except for Pakistan and to some extent, Zimbabwe, which other cricketing nation has more ups and downs than West Indies cricket?

We have become perfectionists at the wrong things, while our status on the test and one–day internationals’ tables languish nearest to the bottom.

Again, nothing is new in West Indies cricket for the past two decades, as the modus operandi readies itself for another round; just stay tuned.