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West Indies Cricket! What a mess!

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What more can one say about West Indies cricket that has not been said before?

The pundits are stunned and of course, everyone is a pundit.

Really, West Indies cricket or rather the sad state of West Indies cricket remains one hell of a mystery. But that is not all. It is totally embarrassing, even more so for those who followed West Indies cricket in its glory days. {{more}}Who could have imagined this pitiful state? 10 runs, 12 deliveries left, three wickets in hand; 2 runs 3 balls, 3 wickets. And we lost! Would you believe that! Then to crown it all, South Africa winning through a hat trick in the last three balls of the day!

West Indies cricket reminds me of the Terri Schiavo case. Should we or should we not take it off its life support system ? Unlike Terri Schiavo the issue is clear and the answer is no, for every now and then we see some visible evidence of life. So there is no moral issue at stake. Yes keep it longer on the life support system but change that support system. I am talking here, of course, about the management of West Indies cricket or what poses as management. And here I share the sentiments of Austin ‘Jack’ Warner, the Vice- President of FIFA, Trinidad and Tobago born. Walker says and this strikes a strong chord with me, “No fish begins to rot from the tail, it begins to rot from the head. Therefore the buck stops with the West Indies Cricket Board”. He states further, “The Board is visionless. They need to become more creative, more innovative, they have to go back to the drawing board.” Which definitely means getting a different team.

Forget this nonsense about inability to play professional cricket in England. It is a reality. Are we going to moan over this? We have to move on and those persons we give the task of managing West Indies cricket need to find some answers and soon too.

One can point to a number of things that have been screwed up by the Board, directly or indirectly. That early incident where the Board named its Australian coach even before finalizing arrangements with him is one such. In more recent times they have made a mess with the Digicel-Cable & Wireless sponsorship issue. I am not necessarily laying blame here but simply saying that the matter was badly handled.

Everyone now blames Lara for the apparent lack of unity and team spirit and consequently poor performance of the team, but the Board had allowed Lara to get away with too much for too long. Then the next move was to rest and keep Lara away from the Pakistan One-Day Internationals, saving him, they say, for the Tests. This is utter nonsense and is definitely not the full story. Are they trying to make up for lost grounds? But the absence of Lara has demonstrated that Lara per se is not the problem.

There is a lot more awry with West Indies cricket. As one commentator put it, beautifully, they can neither live with or without Lara.

Let us reflect on some of the madness in West Indies cricket. Let us start with Joey Carew. Carew is convenor of selectors but he has been a selector for as long as one can think, probably for a period longer than the age of some of the younger cricketers. Definitely over 20 years, I am sure. Does Carew own the West Indies team or does he have a god-father in the management of West Indies cricket? Come on, there is time for new blood and for fresh thinking. Please thank the gentleman for the service he has given and lets get on. The times have caught up with him.

Next is the sad story of Courtenay Browne with his hapless performances, the constant dropping of catches and mis-stumping. We are said to be rebuilding with our eyes fixed on the 2007 World Cup, but what do we do? Make this man who is the oldest after Lara, Vice Captain. Even after we had lost the One-Day series against South Africa, we made no effort to expose a younger player. Is it the intention to play Browne in 2007 and even to make him captain? It definitely sounds that way for nothing else would seem to make sense. That appears to be the only possible logic to what they are doing.

Then poor Xavier Marshall! What are they doing with this youngster? It is sheer madness. How can you use One-Day Internationals to ‘Blood’ youngsters? Have you concluded as you did initially with Ricado Powell that he is nothing but a One-Day player?

Bennett King is another story. It might very well be that he cannot turn water into wine, but he has to be careful what he says because we will continue to lose confidence in him. We got a lot of this idle talk before from Brian Lara and recently from Chanderpaul. King will let us believe that the team is just as disappointed as the fans when they lose. According to him, every time they set foot on the field they give the best they can. What is King really talking about? Is he talking about the same persons we have been looking at? It is either that King is a total joker or he is suggesting that they have little to give.

On another matter, not directly connected with management but one they must be aware of and be thinking about. Imagine one of our top bowlers, Ian Bradshaw being hit in the last three balls of their One-Day match for three consecutive sixes by a No. 7 batsman. And he is still playing for the West Indies! Does any thinking go into their batting and bowling? It certainly does not appear so. Should he ever be allowed to play for the West Indies again?

We have certainly reached the bottom. Eight consecutive One-Day losses! They are even making a mockery of the law of averages. Despite all of this, let us wish our boys the best we can for the Pakistan Test series but reminding ourselves that if wishes were horses, beggars will ride.

Let us hope they can get on despite the deficiencies in theiir life support system