Our Readers' Opinions
December 13, 2013
Will West Indies cricket ever return to its glory days?

Fri Dec 13, 2013

Editor: I recall how my father spoke of the days where they would sit up at night glued to their radios following every ball and run as our boys played abroad. I recall my guest lecture at the University of the West Indies, as Professor Hilary Beckles spoke of how cricket to the West Indian signifies a bastion of liberty. Our forefathers took a game played by and restricted to our colonizers and beat them at it; then we went abroad and did the same thing. I never saw Viv Richards in his glory days or Clive Lloyd and his notorious swag. I wasn’t able to see the three horsemen in action.{{more}} But through youtube videos I am able to comprehend and experience the extent of the pride felt back in those days. Through those videos I am able to see the fear of the batsmen as Michael Holding ran in to bowl. Some may watch Fire in Babylon, but still not get to a place where they can fully appreciate what West Indies cricket means, or meant to the West Indian.

I grew up in the Ambrose, Walsh, Lara, Hooper and Chanderpaul era. That era signified the end of the glory days of West Indies cricket. What we now have is a disabled trout swimming upstream against the current in the rainy season. It’s a bad day to be a fan of West Indies cricket. If the trend continues, we will soon be comprehensively beat by Bangladesh, who earlier this year at home won the ODI series against us. I cannot say that I look forward to the rest of this New Zealand series or to the West Indies-England series next year. Although there are rays of hope here and there, for example in the Bravo performance. But who is to blame?

We blamed Ernest Hilaire and Julian Hunte who are now both gone and the WICB took quite a beating, especially with its handling of the Chris Gayle fiasco. The board and the players’ association were at each other’s throats every day in court or out of court, with the players’ association often being vindicated. Now under the new president Dave Cameron, things have quieted, but not improved. They must take full culpability for not applying for a visa for young opener Kraigg Brathwaite to go to New Zealand. And please Mr Cameron and the rest of the board, grow some cojones and defend Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels. I’m fed up of their bowling action constantly being called into question while others’ aren’t.

The selectors also have seemed to have abandoned all semblance of reason. Shannon Gabriel continues to get the nod over Delorn Johnson, Ronsford Beaton, Jason Holder, Ravi Rampaul and Sheldon Cotterel. All of whom on the face of it are much more competent bowlers. For the Windies, it has seemingly become impossible to take 10 wickets in a test match against higher ranked teams. I also think that somehow, for his vast experience, Ramnaresh Sarwan should be in the test frame. Brendan Nash remains in the wilderness. And I pray that sooner, rather than later, Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard will be considered for the test side.

Then, there is the coaching staff. Who in the heavens is the batting coach? I’ve heard that “stellar” batsman known for his cricketing prowess (speaking sarcastically) Stuart Williams, has been given the role to impart his “knowledge” to the batsmen. I look forward to great improvements in their techniques (still speaking sarcastically). Absolutely none of the batsmen, save for Shivnarine Chanderpaul, seems to value his wicket or to have the discipline and resilience for test cricket. Otis Gibson was touted as the saviour of West Indies cricket, with a long-term vision of rebuilding. This long-term vision had better get short quite soon or the few remaining fans will begin to lose interest.

And while he’s at it, please teach Shannon Gabriel to bowl with an upright seam.

The issue of captaincy deserves an article by itself. Until then, my heart continues to ache daily. You really do need a strong heart to support the West Indies. Will West Indies cricket ever return to its glory days?

Kezron J.S. Walters