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A job very well done, Windies!


Ezra Stuart

A job very well done, Windies!

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Today, I’m a complimentary and celebratory mood. It’s time to jump for joy and give praise where it is due.
I’m joining the Ottis Gibson and Darren Sammy bandwagon, so three cheers to the West Indies! Instead of criticism, it’s commendation.
Let’s hail the Windies for their performance in the Digicel home series against Australia and sing their praises for a job well done like we did when the much maligned Chris Gayle led the Caribbean cricketers to a 1-0 triumph over the current world No.1 in 2009.
To the skipper, I must say keep on doing what you are doing Sammy, taking a few wickets every now and then whenever you choose to bowl and hitting sixes whenever you bat regardless of the match situation. Also, hold on those excellent catches and don’t worry about dropping the easy and vital ones that let the opponents off the hook.
I am urging the CARICOM Heads of Government to organize an event, in St Lucia of course, the new “Mecca” of Caribbean cricket, to celebrate the West Indies’ 2-0 Test series loss to Australia after the preceding drawn One-Day and T20 series.
I want to sip champagne with president Julian Hunte and CEO Dr Ernest Hilaire and Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, toasting fact that the Sammy-inspired outfit is a competitive one, which is no longer losing in three or four days but is doing so in five, even when the rain intervenes.
Let’s do a song a dance and jump and wave to David Rudder’s Rally Around The West Indies as the Windies fans, who sneak away from work or arrange vacation and “sick” days, are getting their money’s worth. Never mind matches are now being played mostly during the week when nearly everyone is at work instead of weekends, and as Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has lamented, only in certain territories.
Things are definitely proceeding smoothly now that Dinanath Ramnarine has resigned as chief cook and bottle washer of the West Indies Players Association, as Wavell Hinds cannot match his confrontational and controversial approach
and is better served criticizing non-Jamaicans on Sports Max’s Zone.
We shouldn’t worry about the fact that Test cricket is about enduring until the end and running the full course. It is coping with pressure by seizing and sustaining the initiative but also turning stages of superiority into success.
But today is not about knocking any player whose statistics over the three Tests weren’t flattering.
Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Adrian Barath mustered 71 and 65 runs, respectively, in the three Tests at averages of 14.20 and 10.83, respectively, while Kieran Powell made 87 runs in his two Tests at 21.75. But don’t worry, as coach Gibson admits ‘those young, inexperienced guys . . . are learning on the job, and yes, they will make mistakes and some of the mistakes are very obvious”.
Why should anyone tell Gibson that the solution is to let them learn off the job, and give the job to others who have shown they have the know how and experience to do it like Ramnaresh Sarwan and Brendan Nash?
Afterwards, when they have shown they are ready to step up to Test level by dominating the regional first-class championship with a number of centuries, then put them on the job, as the Australians do.   
After averaging over 50 in a productive 2011, Darren Bravo had a modest series with 184 runs at an average of 36.80, managing a solitary 50. Narasingh Deonarine, on his return to the side, scored 117 runs at 23.40 in his primary role as a middle order batsman, but his off-spin bowling was an asset with nine wickets.
So don’t ask me whether the unexplained departure of Desmond Haynes as batting consultant with Tony Radford coming on board as assistant coach had something to do with such dismal batting? And I can’t provide the answer why the contract of Haynes, one of all-time great opening batsmen, wasn’t extended to help develop these young batsmen.
Wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, who scraped 55 runs from six innings in three Tests in India at an average of 9.33, was again a letdown with the bat, with 83 runs at 16.60, while he missed a couple of chances behind the stumps. Again, the musical chairs must play on with Denesh Ramdin returning as none of the others really looked the part with their glovework.
Sammy, who is in the team as one of the main bowlers, must be lauded for taking just five wickets at 40.80 in his 86 overs. Never mind, he still only has 64 in 24 Tests at 30.89 apiece and Australian Ben Hilfenhaus has 92 in a similar number of Tests at 28.03. He’s the captain and, come whatever, must play as one of the bowlers.
So with Roach, who now has 62 wickets in 17 Tests at an average of 28.67, a fully fit and in form Fidel Edwards and Ravi Rampaul and Sammy and Shillingford likely to play, can newboy Shannon Gabriel really break into the starting 11?
Finally, here is my advice to Gayle as he waits to see whether he will be selected to the ODI?side while Dr Hilaire continues to make an unnecessary issue out of a sincere request, which in no way, from my understanding of those mischievous leaked confidential emails, suggests a willingness to renege on any agreement.
Respond to Somerset and inform them that you are no longer available to play in the Friends Life T20.
And then to Clyde Butts and the West Indies selectors. Announce your ODI squad without selecting Gayle and also issue the following “side” statement: “While it is indeed refreshing that Mr Gayle has reaffirmed his commitment to West Indies cricket and is eligible for selection, the selectors believe we should keep faith with the players who performed outstandingly and helped the team to a 2-2 draw with former world champions Australia in our last One-Day series.
“We would also like to say with all sincerity that Mr Gayle’s omission has absolutely nothing to do with his previous remarks about the captain, coach and CEO. All that is now forgotten as we move forward in good faith for the betterment of West Indies cricket.”
With the selectors delaying naming the ODI squad, here’s mine: Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy (captain), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul, Tino Best, Ramnaresh Sarwan. Lendl Simmons (if fit).

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