Home / Volley / Cricket / The Agony of the Feat; BC Pires sees the beginning and the end of the WICB

The Agony of the Feat; BC Pires sees the beginning and the end of the WICB

Two years ago, end of the third school term, I found myself arbitrarily relating my father’s strongest memory of World War II to my own children: At his secondary school, anytime they heard the drone of a heavy aircraft, all pens, including the teacher’s, stopped in the air above exercise book pages and then went flying, as everyone rushed outside.

Photo: World War II Spitfires. (Copyright History.Net)
Photo: World War II Spitfires.
(Copyright History.Net)

Those on the ground floor spilled out through the windows—why waste time on corridors when there might be Spitfires and B-52s in the skies of British Guiana?

But why had that story jumped out of my mouth?

I noticed the date—28th June—and it hit me, like a big Carlos Brathwaite six over long on: It was 100 years ago, to the day, that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand triggered World War I.

The 1919 Treaty of Versailles, which ended that war, savaged Germany economically the way Germany had savaged Europe, militarily. In hindsight, Adolf Hitler is no surprise to any historian: World War II was caused by World War I.

And it hit me again, like another big Braithwaite six over long off, this time: On 28 June 2014, a living person was passing on, directly, to other living people, a story passed to him, directly, by another person then living that was directly connected to the spark of World War I on 28th June 1914.

Photo: West Indies bowler Carlos Brathwaite (second from left) celebrates with captain Darren Sammy (top) and Chris Gayle after the wicket of England's Jos Buttler (far right) during the World T20 cricket tournament final match at The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata on 3 April 2016.  Carlos Brathwaite sensationally hit four successive sixes off Ben Stokes in the last over as the West Indies stunned England by four wickets to win the World Twenty20 title. (Copyright AFP2016/Dibyangshu Sarkar)
Photo: West Indies bowler Carlos Brathwaite (second from left) celebrates with captain Darren Sammy (top) and Chris Gayle after the wicket of England’s Jos Buttler (far right) during the World T20 cricket tournament final match at The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata on 3 April 2016.
Carlos Brathwaite sensationally hit four successive sixes off Ben Stokes in the last over as the West Indies stunned England by four wickets to win the World Twenty20 title.
(Copyright AFP2016/Dibyangshu Sarkar)

100 years is nothing.

19 runs is a lot.

On Sunday last, the West Indies men joined the women’s and the U-19 teams to become the ICC World Twenty20 champions, after a tournament packed with games offering a super-fast-forward version of the ebb and flow for which Test cricket is so deeply loved. Especially the final.

With a T/20 record 19 needed off the last six balls—the “Win Predictor” might have given West Indies three per cent—Carlos Braithwaite hit four consecutive sixes to make West Indies the champions that batting, bowling and singing all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo had previously proclaimed them.

But the most important thing happened after the game.

In his winning captain’s interview, our Darren Sammy hit his own cricket board harder than Brathwaite lashed England all-rounder Ben Stokes. His most powerful stroke was a leg glance; the lip-trembling admission that he’d had an email of encouragement from the Grenadian prime minister but nothing from the West Indies Cricket Board.

Photo: West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy makes a point.
Photo: West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy makes a point.

Was there a West Indian, other than the board itself, who did not immediately feel Sammy’s pain? Deep in our Caribbean bellies?

The most peace-loving of us felt the urge to kick up the entire board… And we’d just won!

What is that hurt that we West Indians tap into so easily? Why are we always primed to go off?

Why would Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels and even Denesh Ramdin thumb their noses at authority at the moment of their greatest success?

The WICB will ask only one question of itself, though: Why do these pot-hounds bite the hand that feeds them?

“No noble thoughts brought us here,” calypsonian David Rudder sang in the opening line of the anthem version of “Rally Round the West Indies.” That could be the greatest understatement in, and of, our history.

Photo: West Indies cricket players (from left) Chris Gayle, Dwayne Brave, Darren Sammy and Andre Fletcher celebrate after their 2016 World Twenty20 Championship final win over England. (Copyright ESPN)
Photo: West Indies cricket players (from left) Chris Gayle, Dwayne Brave, Darren Sammy and Andre Russell celebrate after their 2016 World Twenty20 Championship final win over England.
(Copyright ESPN)

Look at the cover of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “Survival” album and try to connect it to today’s Carnival Cruise Line. In the quietest Bajan countryside, the silence is devastated by the echo of the crack of the whip.

No firetrucking noble thoughts brought us here; and, though I admire the lyrics, it would take a mighty sunbeam indeed to cut through a past as clouded as ours.

100 years is nothing. In the memory of people living today is carried the unacknowledged, indeed, the deliberately obscured pain endured for centuries—and you can obscure a clouded past with pretty sunbeams, as our Indian Arrival and African Emancipation holidays reveal.

Behave like the people who made monkeys of you and all you prove is you ape them well; and that, the higher monkey climb, the more he show his bottom.

Astonishingly, but unsurprisingly, the WICB president was driven to respond, not to the legitimate hurt of human beings for whom he is responsible, but to the illegitimate—or imaginary—dignity of the office he occupies.

Photo: Having a laugh. West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron is unmoved by recent criticisms. (Copyright CaribbeanNewsService)
Photo: Having a laugh. West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron is unmoved by recent criticisms.
(Copyright CaribbeanNewsService)

In a release headlined, “WICB President Has High Praises for World Twenty20 Organisers”, the president quickly cut to his real chase and apologised, on behalf of the WICB: “for what could be deemed inappropriate comments made by… Darren Sammy… The President has pledged to enquire the reason and will have the matter addressed.”

Grammatical errors and all, it could be the most bizarre official West Indian statement since WWII Bajan Chief Minister Grantley Adams cabled King George encouraging him in war against Germany: “Go ahead, England, Little England is behind you!”

West Indies are champions of the shallowest, but most spectacular, version of the game of cricket.

And they are at the bottom of its deepest and most beautiful form, which is the Test match that measures life itself—the struggle for reward, the wearying length, the long periods without excitement and even the ultimate worthlessness but for what we put into it in each moment.

Undoubtedly, our greatest challenge is to love ourselves as West Indians and anything that aids that, like a world title, is a net good.

Photo: West Indies cricket players (from left) Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Andre Russell celebrate their World T20 cricket tournament final win over England at The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata on 3 April 2016.  Carlos Brathwaite sensationally hit four successive sixes off Ben Stokes in the last over as the West Indies stunned England by four wickets to win the World Twenty20 title. (Copyright AFP2016/Dibyangshu Sarkar)
Photo: West Indies cricket players (from left) Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Andre Russell celebrate their World T20 cricket tournament final win over England at The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata on 3 April 2016.
Carlos Brathwaite sensationally hit four successive sixes off Ben Stokes in the last over as the West Indies stunned England by four wickets to win the World Twenty20 title.
(Copyright AFP2016/Dibyangshu Sarkar)

If we are to cut through our clouded past, though, we must run our own sunbeams through our own magnifying glances; or maybe it’s time now for the raging fire.

It is not the last one, and many of those still standing can be remodelled within their walls, but the West Indies Cricket Board is a collapsed Great House that we must now burn to the ground.

 

BC Pires is dancing in the ashes, even if he bats at number 11—and doesn’t bowl! Click HERE to read more of his work.

About BC Pires

BC Pires
BC Pires is a veteran columnist and satirist of extensive experience in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad. You can read more of his columns at: http://bcpires.com

Check Also

Best to Big Bird: Stick to tweeting; only weather will stop WI whitewash

A little birdie told me that nothing could be more certain than that Jason Holder’s …

8 comments

  1. Was just waiting for BC….

  2. Took him a while along a winding European road of nexuses and ironies, but BC Pires inevitably got to his point. Bun dem!!! LOL.

  3. Earl Best

    “The West Indies Cricket Board is a collapsed Great House that we must now burn to the ground.”

    Oh, yeah, BC. And we shouldn’t wait until the next WI match. Let’s makes some flambeaux and start as soon – arson?- as possible. And the Wired report on our protest will be headlined “Owed to Cameron.”

    • Scotty Ranking

      The WICB is the epitome of a brokedown palace. Cameron remains firmly mired in the depths of his own self-importance, refusing to see the decline that he has specifically contributed to or to even acknowledge his undeniable role in it.

      That arrogance will truly be to the overall detriment of the sport he administrate with him intently fiddling on while our cricketing Rome burns down flat!

      Can you imagine a Prime Minister with a city full of persons openly disgruntled about the conditions therein, exclaiming the the relationship between him/her and the Mayor is great? What rubbish!

      Also, just to address his critic tweet: is it not the monies coming largely from the team’s participation in tours and tournaments that pay Cameron’s bills? That tweet, perhaps more than his public utterances, shows his Marie Antoinette-like contempt for the WI players.

  4. I just realised you have all the elite columnists?