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A new era for caribbean cricket?

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Tue, Oct 9, 2012

It will take much longer than a few days or weeks, for the tremendous elation surging through Caribbean society following Sunday’s momentous triumph in the Final of the T20 World Cup, to dissipate. It has been, to borrow the words of the late soul singer Otis Redding, “a long time coming”, but the elusive change has come.{{more}}

For us to understand how far back that longing goes, just reflect on the victorious cricket squad. The oldest of the players, Chris Gayle, was not even born when the West Indies last won a World Cup. He made his appearance in September 1979, fully three months after Clive Lloyd lifted the Prudential World Cup, (as the one-day version was called then), on June 23 of that same year. And, if you need to reinforce that gap, the current manager of the team, Richie Richardson, did not start playing at first-class level until three years later.

A whole generation of Caribbean cricketers and fans have grown up experiencing only heartbreak and frustration since then, not knowing what it is to be official champions of the world. We have promised and been promised much, enduring endless turmoil, producing outstanding talent, but disappointing returns, having our hopes and dreams shattered time and again. Dare we hope now that we have finally turned the corner and the worst is behind us?

The challenges have not been limited to the field of play. Our administrators must bear a large share of the responsibility for the pain of the last three decades. It took herculean efforts and the direct intervention of some regional leaders, including our own Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, to resolve the impasse which was rapidly destroying the very soul of Caribbean cricket. We thank them for their role, and how they must feel justly proud at the success in Sri Lanka!

Even so, administrative bungling has so far resulted in the West Indies Cricket Board having to pay out sums totalling some $15 million to aggrieved cricketers. There is still much bitterness and resentment in the air. That is why there is hope that the victory, the new spirit of unity, cooperation and “all for the common cause”, will usher in a new era. Yet we must be conscious that we need to consolidate, to overhaul and to continue the rebuilding process. This calls not only for the unstinted commitment of players and officials alike. It is also important that those who, in their media commentaries, promote bias and undermine regional unity, will now respond to the new situation.

Let us take our cue from our victorious cricketers. They have prevailed, despite the most trying circumstances. They have demonstrated that, collectively, we possess the potential to be on top of the world. It is a message that can help us in many ways. That same unity of purpose, determination, innovation and discipline can see us through in our economic, social and political battles.

We congratulate the team, the much-maligned, but now vindicated, captain Darren Sammy and the entire management team. The Caribbean is proud of you all!

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