by Arley Gill
I promised myself not to write on West Indies cricket anytime soon, because most of the issues are always so negative. As an Arsenal football fan, and a Rafa Nadal supporter, I go through enough emotional trauma, without having to deal with writing about my favorite cricket team. For those readers who do not follow sports, being a sports fan can be a really emotional affair. You have to be in it to experience it.
After the latest exchanges by our Caricom heads of state, it was heartening to hear that Cricket West Indies had ratified an amnesty rule to allow players, who may not necessarily participate in domestic cricket, to be selected for the West Indies cricket team. This is a good start in addressing the off-the-field problems in our cricket. It’s a pity, however, that the Windies selection for our England tour did not reflect that policy with inclusion of some more experience players.
I maintain that our young cricketers are talented, but experienced players can help the West Indies. We all know the English conditions can be trying, especially for the batsmen. Our young batters may not have experienced those conditions at the highest level.
There is this argument, that the players whom now we refer to as experienced, performed poorly and lost during the time they represented the West Indies. Furthermore, they were the ones who were playing when we spiraled down the one-day rankings. That may be so, but I proffer 3 points:
- They are more experienced now than they were 4 or 5 years ago, and they must have learned a lot during that time.
- When they played, they too, were denied playing with more experienced players.
- We must be strategic in team selection rather than being sentimental; and in doing so, we must select the best players available.
In terms of strategy we should seriously revisit leadership and tactics on the field, instead of loyalty to the board of directors of Cricket West Indies. I am of the view that the amnesty is a good start for there to be cleaning of the slate. In that regard, that amnesty should be extended to the relationship with Caricom Heads and the adoption of the Patterson Report. Gentlemen, can there be some peace?
Regardless of our T/20 success a few years ago with our senior men, women and under-19 teams, I am of the very strong opinion that unless we can have some stability and tranquillity off the field, we will continue to have challenges on the field. Thus, the leaders of West Indies cricket must create the right environment for the playing of cricket. I am sure the players will like to play in a stable environment. Enough on cricket!
A little philosophy
Just to share some thoughts I have been ‘toying’ with recently. Now, you see in sports, as it is in politics, for any organisation to be successful, persons involved at all levels have to put the cause before their own personal feelings or position. Sometimes, you have to swallow your pride, digest hard and do the difficult thing for the benefit of the common good.
The most successful teams throughout history, invariably is as a result of excellent team work. Many times, individual members may be of the view that they are hard done by the decision made by the captain or leader. However, I have learned that sometimes we need to trust the instinct and the decision of the leader. Especially, if that leader has a proven track record of success.
In many instances, confronting the leader may only result in there being only one winner.
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