The conspiracy theorists are having a field day; according to them, India’s easy win on Tuesday was set up by the two-match ban on West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin. I have heard no suggestions about the use to which the sanctioned wicketkeeper’s match fee has been put but I feel certain that it’s only a matter of time…
The theorists are also quite clear that, now that India are home and dry—and sub-continent rivals Pakistan are simply on their way home—Part B of the master plan kicks in. The Caribbean Cavaliers are simply too strong on their day to let them qualify and run the risk of India having to meet a confident, full-strength WI unit in the final.
So, in tomorrow’s game, which Dwayne Bravo’s side must win to cop second place in the group and move on to the semi-finals, South Africa, those eternal chokers, must emerge the victors.
The Caribbean side has therefore been given two options by the organisers (some even claim the ICC has a “Special Advisor”): either pick Ramnaresh Sarwan (1 off 2 balls vs Pakistan and 1 off 6 balls vs India) and Darren Bravo (0 off 4 balls vs Pakistan and 35 off 83 balls vs India) again or pick any side they wish and instruct Kemar Roach to reproduce his Tuesday form. But not both. After all, say the spokespersons, match-fixing must not only be done, it certainly must not appear to be done. They have to make it look good.
The original plan was simpler, I’ve been told—let Darren Sammy return as captain for the South Africa game—but it did not work; that bungling idiot of an off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin put a spanner in the works by tripping Bravo the Elder as he sought to complete a risky quick single. But he did not push his bottom out far enough to cause a Humpty Dumpty kind of fall and so Bravo lives to captain another day.
I dismiss all of that rubbish out of hand. That might work for the PP or for the PNM Leader but dat doh fool me fuh one second; I read dat play. My concern is that, although he is used to handling Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree, Denesh might just get bamboozled by all the spin surrounding Friday’s dropped catch.
Hear, for instance, skipper Bravo, who begins by saying that Ramdin is “a very honest player” who “honestly thought he had full control of the ball.” Yeah, right! Just like Sammy honestly thought he was the best person to captain the West Indies team in all forms of the game.
“As West Indians, we do not play that way (…),” Bravo went on. “We play the game in a true spirit, the way it should be played and he (Ramdin) did not do anything deliberately.”
Really? Says who? Yuh pardner, oops, your vice-captain Denesh? I’m sure you will agree that, given the circumstances, he is hardly the best man to ask.
No, Skip, study the evidence. Don’t take example from Parliament. Do your homework. Load your brain carefully and honestly before shooting off at the mouth. Remember, you are the captain, not the Political Leader, and so you are speaking for all of us. Watch the tape. If, for fear of destroying your illusions, the coaching staff doesn’t want you to see the team’s tape, the video is there, undoctored, on YouTube. You take a good, hard look at it and then tell me to my face that “he did not do anything deliberately.”
Whether or not you do that, here’s something you must do; a whole career may be hanging on it, one man’s credibility certainly is. So take Shotter aside in a private little corner, just the two of you and convince him to fess up. Confession is good for the soul. He doesn’t have to tell us why he did it; we know: pressure does buss pipe. All he needs to say is that he did it, that he lied, that he knew he had not completed the catch. We know. We saw it on TV.
At 28, Denesh is old enough to have seen Bill Clinton’s performance on television, what he said, of course, not what he did. But he is definitely not of the generation that played the group games that began with the recitation of “Eenie, Meenie, Mynie, Moe, ketch a nigger by he toe…” By the time he was born in 1985, “nigger” was already a bad word, at least in public. I think, however, he may just be old enough to remember the ending of another one of these children’s rhymes: “Pig snout, walk out; eat your biscuit and hush your mouth.”
But it’s bad advice under the circumstances. We can have no respect for him if he perpetuates the fiction. No one can. He has to say publicly that he knew he had dropped the ball.
Or he could simply apologise to Misbah-ul-Haq. Publicly. That is as good as a confession.