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Hope in times of despair


Whatever the final placing of Trinidad and Tobago in the inaugural Champions League 20/20 Cricket Competition taking place in India, the Caribbean region has had a temporary panacea for the excruciating pain experienced from the fall out between West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).{{more}}

Such was the discord that many of the region’s best players recused themselves from representing the regional team against Bangladesh here in the Caribbean and the subsequent ICC champions Trophy in South Africa.

The world spoke using unending negatives of the state of West Indies Cricket.

But for the past two weeks, thanks to the Trinidad and Tobago, for the first time in four months, the Cricket world and the international media were speaking in complimentary terms about West Indies cricket.

The fact that Trinidad and Tobago could have emerged from their group unbeaten, remaining so in the Super Eight, and reaching the semi finals, taught the region that we are as good as we stretch our aspirations.

Defeating teams with the likes of Simon Katich, Andrew Symonds, Brett Lee, VVS Laxman, Stuart Clark, Justin Langer, Marcus Threscothick, Scot Styris, RP Singh, Adam Gilchrist, and even our own Fidel Edwards, all of whom were walk ins in their national sides, and who have attained world acclaimed prominence, is no mean feat.

Again, the ingredients that were the hallmark of West Indies Cricket in the 1980’s and 1990’s were exhibited by Trinidad and Tobago. Self-belief, fighting spirit, that calypso brand played at times with gay abandonment and unadulterated expression, down-played the rumblings off the field and brought the West Indianness to the fore on the world stage.

It was also West Indian Cricket triumphing over teams from India, England, South Africa and the mighty Australia – countries whose Cricket is ranked much higher than that of the Caribbean’s.

Additionally, Trinidad and Tobago’s performance ups the ante for the region’s players in the lucrative Indian Premier League. Surely, the various franchises will be looking in this direction when the action gets going for the 2010 edition.

As if scripted, Trinidad and Tobago’s impressive performance coincided with the announcement by the warring sides, the WICB and WIPA, that they were prepared to end the impasse and become civil entities.

It also came closely on the heels of Trinidad and Tobago saying they are harbouring the idea of going it alone on the international scene, divorced from the West Indies unit.

It was the same Trinidad and Tobago that did not attend the last West Indies Cricket Board meeting as a form of protest of the state of West Indies Cricket.

Many saw these developments as the total destruction of the West Indies Cricket.

But a glimmer of hope was restored with Trinidad and Tobago giving the West Indian people a lot to shout about, and for a moment, brought back some oneness, as support was almost unanimous, as regional identity took precedence.

This is not to say that the tensions are not still in the air, as the bargaining between the WICB and WIPA still must take place, but it will be doing with less acrimony, at least from my vantage point.

Much is still to be achieved in West Indies Cricket, both from the WICB and WPA levels, including that of captaincy, which should reflect professionalism, coupled with poise and diplomacy. Sadly, Chris Gayle fails in all three respects.

I dismiss as utter rubbish that Gayle’s attitudes as captain of the West Indies team is a reflection of modern day trends of 21st century youth.

Conformity to lowering standards is tantamount to the acceptance of bad boyism.

Trinidad and Tobago has provided a dose of teamwork, a necessary tonic for West Indies Cricket. Maturity, openness, and vision should be the next sets of therapy applied, for the resuscitation of the regional game.

Let us give WIPA the benefit of the doubt that they do not have anything else up their sleeves.

No doubt though, that the call continues for the removal of the “Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.