Monday, March 1, 2010
West Indies’s cricket in a disarray
Everyone knew that cricket in the Caribbean was going through tough times, but it is sad to see the situation getting worse as it is not just about off field distractions like the battle between WIPA and the board, but they were disappointing in Australia in the one-day series and now have lost to Zimb in a T/20 match. Yes, they showed a bit of fight against the Aussies in the test series and did well at home against England in the test series but such performances from them are like finding oasis in a desert.
Cricket in the Caribbean has been on a slow decline for more than 15 years now, but the sad fact is it is getting worse and probably it has reached its nadir.
I do remember senior players like Marshall, Dujon etc at the time of their retirement in 91/92 saying everything isn’t rosy as far as cricket in the Caribbean is concerned.
In 1995 Richie Richardson had problems with their star batsman Lara and Lara didn’t even tour Australia in 95/96. Finally, Richardson retired after the 96 world cup as Walsh became the captain. I have heard that disunity in the team existed even in 1996 itself.
Lara was finally given the chance to captain the side in 98, but again even in 98 there were problems between the board and the players association before a tour to SA, though it was resolved just in time, but it did affect the performance of the side as they lost 5-0 in SA.
For a brief period, Lara got disillusioned with cricket and took a break as Adams took over the captaincy, but the Caribbean team lost most of their matches as Adams finally resigned from the job of captaining the side.
Hooper, who had retired from the game came back to take up the mantle of captaincy as he and the coach Logie did a decent job, but the stop gap arrangement didn’t last long and it ended after a disappointing world cup campaign in 03.
Players strike came back to haunt the side in 04 during the tour of Lanka when Chanders took up the mantle of captaining a second string side. He continued to be the captain in spite of senior players coming back into the side only to see the team lose match after match as he finally resigned as Lara again became the captain.
King the coach of the side at that time wasn’t said to be good and was criticised for his methods as he eventually resigned after the a disappointing 2007 world cup. It was also the last time we saw of Lara. Yes, he was a great batsman, but was involved in lots of controversies.
Temporary coaches like Moore came and went as finally Dyson took over the role of coaching the side and it looked like Gayle and Dyson were doing a decent job as the team defeated England at home in a test series which was a decent achievement, but again the controversies came back to haunt cricket in the Caribbean as the board and the association fought on the issue of contracts. The board fielded a second string side against Bangladesh and that side promptly lost to Bangladesh. The board had to find some scape goat and it was of course the coach Dyson, who was sacked! On the other hand the association lead by Ramnaraine and the board were at each other’s throats with the board again selecting a second string side for the champions trophy! The man who was mainly responsible for the disarray, Hunte is still the president of the board. It can be better said as Hunte hunted Westindies cricket!
So, who is to be blamed for the mess???
The Caribbean team haven’t utilised whatever talent has been there as most of the players, who looked like had some talent either were dropped too soon, or have stagnated. It isn't just the board or selectors who are to be blamed, but players like Samuels, Marshall, Nurse, Taylor and co. too have to take some blame as they all are talented but perhaps haven't been focused enough. Taylor has had disciplinary issues and Samuels has been involved in matchfixing.
So what is the future for players like Darren Bravo, Barath, Roach, Holder etc? Can they make a living out of a sport which is in such a mess?
Finally, one can think of players disunity, strikes, bad selection, board being incompetent etc. The situation for a team which produced some of the greatest cricketers like Ambrose, Walsh, Lara, Marshall, Hall, Richards, Lloyd, 3 W’S, Headley, Holding etc can’t get worse and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel!