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CT/20- The lessons learned and taught


During the past two weeks of the West Indies Cricket Board Caribbean T/ 20 Cricket Competition, much was gained as to how to gauge our Cricket in the region.{{more}}

Yes, the T/20 is Cricket’s newest format, and no country can really say it has the correct formula.

As is often proffered, T/20 Cricket is a lottery, and on a given day, someone can blow away his/her opponents with some good bowling or belligerent stroke play.

But following the large crowds at both the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua and the final week at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, there is that false sense of security that the game has arrived.

T/20 Cricket is tailor made for excitement; lots of boundaries, frenetic running, people throwing themselves about the field trying to be in the limelight, and the occasional close, nervy finishes.

Added, too, is that ready done party atmosphere, as Caribbean people have a built in mind set for bacchanal and frolicking, so it does not take much for them to get a kick start.

Therefore, based on the hype generated during the T/20 competition, it is fool hardy for this to be used as a barometer for the popularity of the sport in the Caribbean.

The regional authorities, who are grinning from ear to ear about the prospects of hosting the longer versions of Cricket during the night, need to think again, as one sunny day does not make a Summer.

The litmus test for the regional cricketers comes within a week’s time when the four day regional competition is convened.

There will be no live television coverage, no coloured clothing and the other intricacies to go with it.

Hence, the purity and sanity will return to the sport.

The same players who had crowds within a hand shake of them will be playing to almost empty stands.

There will be no large replay screens and ear splitting cheers when some good feat is achieved.

At times, they will have to go and retrieve the ball from the stands themselves, when that occasional six is hit.

But what the past two weeks have showed us is the true state of West Indies Cricket.

Our cricketers are indeed not students of the game. The all embracing notion that T/20 Cricket is swash buckling, power hitting stuff is what is hurting our advancement. Or is it we cannot do better?

One of the major deficiencies borne out was our batsmen’s skill set which leaves much to be desired.

The sport is all about angles, which many are aliens to.

Then, our fielders, whilst mastering the slide, seem to have little knowledge about angles. This should be a concern to all, as it means they are not thinking.

The work is cut out for the technical staff, when the West Indies head to the World T/20 competition later this year.

Also in need of some serious attention is our umpiring. They were guilty of over reliance on the technology, which showed up a lack of confidence in their own abilities.

Off the field, though, it was evident that there was detailed planning in the staging of the matches, especially in creating that festive setting.

Again, this points to the region’s reliability on its own people to plan and execute for themselves.

This was a far cry from what occurred at the 2007 Cricket World Cup, when the Caribbean presided over a debacle, because of a handed down template designed by persons who are aliens to our “Caribbeanness” or who were on a mission for us to fail.

Despite all the drawbacks, congratulations are in order for Trinidad and Tobago for retaining the title.

They exhibited a mental toughness to rebound from their loss to the Windwards in both teams’ first match.

The Windwards must also be commended for having defeated the two regional T/20 champions in one set; T & T and Guyana, and go on to take third place.

Is this a sign that the Windwards players are coming of age, having reached the T/20 semi finals two years in a row, and the four day semi final in 2010 and the 50 over semi finals in 2010? Only time will tell.