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A hopeless devotion


There has once again been snippets of discussion in the past week about the state of West Indies cricket.

This type of discourse has been with the region’s cricket fans and some commentators for the better part of the last two decades, as many lament on the poor showing of the West Indies men’s teams in the Test and One Day International formats.

But all there has been are discussions and possible solutions on the way up, with no appreciable change for the better forthcoming.

Unfortunately, it is mainly those purists, those who lived through the best times of West Indies cricket, when the regional side ruled the sport globally.

The halcyon period would have spanned from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s.

So they who harp and harp, but things remain the same, and is even getting worse.

Several governance issues, restructuring of the regional cricket tournaments, hiring and firing of coaches, change in sponsorship, you name it, has been tried, yet the fortunes of West Indies’ cricket is plummeting.

So we are at it again, with the announced resignation of Australian Stuart Law as head coach of the senior West Indies men’s team.

His announcement, whist to some people may have come as a surprise, to others his planned departure was inevitable.

Law therefore made it the fourth coach to serve West Indies in the last nine years.

Before Law, West Indies was in that position; he came, he saw, but he could not have changed much, more so conquer anything of note.

Therefore, those who are in charge of West Indies cricket, should manfully admit that the region does not have the talent to compete among the other cricketing nations in Tests and ODIs.

You can have the best personnel and back room staff, with the most modern day approach to coaching, if there is no good raw material to work with, then it is back to square one.

The lack of good talent has plagued the regional side for some time, thus prolonging the agony of those who care.

It is even more daunting, that most of the young cricketers’ desire, is to play the 20/20 format.

As it stands, young budding cricketers are eager to get a look in at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which acts as an advertising board for their entry to the others franchise cricket tournaments around the world.

Most recent evidence supports this, as many young players who were on show during the 2018 CPL, which ended last month, have already been roped in for a 10/10 tournament in Sharjah, later this year.

Exposure to such quick earnings by these young players, only exacerbates the state of West Indies cricket.

Their eyes would have opened to the potential of what is on offer, hence they gravitate to the shorter versions.

But what is unfolding in West Indies cricket, is a direct parallel to the social metamorphosis that is taking place in the region.

We are all aware that the fast-paced culture has taken over, hence instant gratification is the order of the day, and our cricket too, has not escaped that change.

Too, those emerging cricketers have observed how the global franchises have set the lives of their fellow regional players like Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and others.

These players have raked in significant earnings, and have been able to play their sport with much economic comfort, rather than toil in Tests and ODIs for sums which can be considered “peanut change”.

They have become the role models of the youth cricketers in the region, who are endeavouring to emulate them.

Equally, despite the aired concerns of the authorities of the game in the region, now called Cricket West Indies; they too are beneficiaries of the players’ globe-trotting escapades, as they get a percentage of their earnings.

So on all fronts, the battle is as good as lost, as the regional cricket administration is poor, our cricket is poor, hence the West Indies has been relegated to the lower tier of the sport, save and expect the 20/20 version.

Therefore, those who are hopeful for any rise in the quality of West Indies cricket anytime soon, can readjust their thinking and concede this would not happen in their life time.