Windies Cricket: The Place on Fire

by Caribupdate Weekly

There was no doubt the West Indies Cricket Board – or what they called themselves now Cricket West Indies? – arranged the just-ended series against Afghanistan almost as a consolation, as the region’s team failed for the 1st time to make an international cricket tournament in 90 years.

As we watched Bangladesh make strides – and as Pakistan – the side they say was as mercurial as Windies – stormed into the final of the Championship Trophy – West Indies was struggling to be competitive against a minnow – albeit, the best of the minnows.

There was something that was odd about that Afghan series. Something that was incredibly sad. The series appropriately ended in a tie with the final game being washed out by rain; the damp squib, a fitting finale to a series that nobody watched.

On that Wednesday night, under the darkened skies of Beausejour, Saint Lucia, there was confirmation of something that those who grew up on West Indies cricket was all frightened to think – that West Indies Cricket is finally – officially – regrettably – irrelevant.

Not only did West Indies not make the just-concluded Championship Trophy in England – but by the looks of it, they will have to compete with Ireland and Scotland and Namibia and Canada in a qualifying tournament next year to see if they can get into the World Cup.

And while West Indies should make the top 4 among the also-rans – in this generation of misfits and missed opportunities, it is not hard anymore to think about the unthinkable. But then, to even have to think that aloud, is alarming.

For the people who run the game in the region, they have long since stopped listening to the alarm bells. In fact, the sirens are on, and the place is on fire.

The West Indian cricket space is turning to proverbial ashes – not the glorious one that Australia and England play for; but the ashes of the dust of a bygone era of hope and pride.

The thing about the Caribbean and our cricket is that it has never been in this place before. And it is a far way down from the days of greats like Sobers and Lloyd and Richards.

There are many theories – though hardly a united front – about how we get out of this dark hole. It is maybe that the Caribbean civilisation – in a broad sense – has regressed.

It is not only cricketers we don’t make like we used to do before – but even leaders.

So no wonder CARICOM’s debate on how to help rescue West Indies Cricket ended like many things else in CARICOM: ended with each man and woman for himself and herself.

The West Indies Cricket Board has not only succeeded in dividing and ruining its players, but the region’s leaders as well. That’s why, in the end, the region deserves all that it gets.

This region has come from an era of Jamaica’s Michael Manley and Errol Barrow of Barbados; Trinidad’s Eric Williams and Grenada’s Maurice Bishop. And now, look what we’ve got!

If this was some advertised show that we paid for, we would have had every right to demand our money back.

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