THE AL GILKES COLUMN – Crying over WI cricket
So what are we going to do with this West Indies cricket team?
People are saying they should fire them all and pick an entirely new team of young players who have not tasted the big times, have no big dollars on the bank, no thick gold chains around their necks, no diamond earring in their ears and no attitude in their tails.
The international commentators, including our own, have had a field day during the just ended World Cup (I had my money on Sri Lanka to win), making sport at the too-often-unpardonably poor performance of the team during the tournament, in particular when they “snatched defeat out of the mouth of victory” against the top teams.
Without doubt, the player who got more than his fair share of criticism was captain [Darren] Sammy, who did not inherit the captaincy, did not ask for it, did not merit it, but, because of conditions beyond the control of the selectors, had it thrust upon him.
As a result, in a situation where a featherweight is thrown into a heavyweight ring, his inability to cope should be appreciated and pardoned.
Not so with one very British-sounding commentator. During one match he questioned, based on the captain’s poor batting and bowling results, what was Sammy’s role in the scheme of things. His conclusion was it was that of tossing the coi,n but he quickly added that he was not even performing in that role, having called it wrong that morning.
In a subsequent match, this commentator was at poor Sammy again when he gave away his wicket shortly after getting off the mark ata time when the team was in early trouble. This time he joked that for the next match, West Indies needed to pick somebody to toss the coin.
Next match he completed his hat-trick of anti-Sammy comments during discussion in the box about the difficulty being faced by West Indies as far as team selection was concerned for what turned out to be their final match.
There was a lot of speculation about who would, could or should be left on the bench now that Gayle was recovered from his stomach problem and in the wake of excellent performances by Rampaul and newcomers Bishoo and Russell.
Should Benn be left in the pavilion? Should it be the experienced warhorse Chanderpaul? Could it be Chanderpaul’s experienced compatriot Sarwan?
In the midst of all these coulds, woulds and shoulds, that commentator pushed in his mouth, and I don’t have to tell you who was his first recommendation: Sammy, of course.
At home, we should be accustomed by now to being disappointed by the entire team.
I hear people even saying they are sorry to be alive during this worst period since 1930 when West Indies played their first home Test match right here in Barbados at Kensington Oval.
Me, I tend to feel sorry that I was around to see and be thrilled to the bone by the likes of Sobers, the three Ws, Greenidge, Haynes, Hall, Griffith, Hunte, Lloyd, Marshall, Richards, Holding, Nurse, Rowe, Gibbs, Butcher, Kallicharran and a host of other regional greats. If I hadn’t been, I wouldn’t cry each time the team fails now because I would not know good West Indies cricket.
Al Gilkes is head of a public relations firm.