West Indies’ Cricket must have hit its lowest of all lows in its long illustrious history on Friday October 21, 2022 when the senior male team failed to make it to the Super -12 of the ongoing ICC T/20 World Cup.
Yes, the regional game and fortunes have been in an abyss for many years now, but it was totally unacceptable for a bunch of professionals not to get past the likes of Ireland and Scotland.
As a consequence, the few Caribbean people who are still in tune with the sport, remain dumbfounded trying to fathom what took place at the Bellerive Oval in Tasmania.
Regional Cricket administrators are shell shocked, but have promised to delve deeper into what went terribly wrong in in the Qualifiers.
Meanwhile, one casualty has surfaced since the Tasmania debacle- the resignation of Head Coach, Phil Simmons.
It should not be speculated that Simmons was gently asked to resign, rather that suffer the indignity of being fired, joins the list ‘immaterialities’.
Likewise, groaning over the team exiting the qualifiers with one win versus Zimbabwe, sandwiched between the losses against Scotland, then Ireland is water under the proverbial bridge, as the Super-12s are ongoing minus the two-time champions, the West Indies.
What is instructive for the region and its Cricket authorities is that the West Indies is a spent force in World T/20 cricket.
This is juxtaposed against the reality that individually, West Indies players are among the most sought-after in the many franchise leagues across the world.
Thus, the region has found itself between a rock and a hard place as it relates to its T/20 prowess.
It was just about a year ago that the West Indies, after winning titles in 2012 and 2016, performed miserably in the edition played in India, unable to make it out of the Super 12.
But the writings were on the wall, as the West Indies were made to seek qualification for the ongoing tournament, based on its rankings.
And, the evidence of the team’s efforts in T/20 internationals for the past six years, tells the story.
Since winning the tournament in 2016, West Indies has played 99 T/20 Internationals, winning only 33, whilst losing 58. The others ended in no results.
Those statistics would guide those who care about West Indies’ success at the shortest form, some reasoning narrative for what eventually unfolded last week.
To compound the Tasmania conundrum, the team was filled with relatively young players, many of whom arm chair selectors were clamouring for.
Interestingly, during last year’s similar exercise played in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, heaps of criticisms were piled on the selectors for opting to take an aged but experience squad.
Hence, the likes of Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons, Andre Fletcher, Dwyane Bravo, Andre Russell, Ravi Rampaul and Kieron Pollard, all over the age of 30, were part of the team, with Gayle topping at 42.
Therefore, it does not matter, youth, experienced, or a combination of both, it is glaring obvious that the technical capabilities or lack thereof that the West Indies is light years behind the other T/20 playing nations.
We also have to face the realities head on and concede that T/20 cricket has evaded the skill set, mental capacity and moreso, the tactical know how of both the players and back room staff.
Our cricket ambassadors who don the maroon colours, in the main are undermining the pillars and doing a disservice to a relatively firm educational foundation which the region has built, fortified and sustained for many decades now.
The actions of our players in their displays on the field, especially our batters, is synonymous of flogging a dead horse, as the West Indies philosophy of see ball, hit ball continues to be the chosen way of operation; yet the results are the same.
Unfortunately, this type of thinking and rationale is not enhancing the West Indies’ fortunes on the bilateral scale, more so on the global stage.
Instead, pervading the regional game is gloom, doom and institutionalized cricket hopelessness.
Fixing all formats of West Indies cricket will be a long and arduous task, but with no light seemingly in sight at the end of the tunnel.