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Letter to the Editor: Why it is hard to care about West Indies cricket

“How has it come to this? A woeful revolving merry-go-around of mediocrity, where an average coach gets to ‘rehabilitate’ a struggling team…

“No offence to Stuart Law—the third Aussie to try his hand at the role of head coach—but questionably short stints coaching Sri Lanka and Bangladesh don’t qualify you for one of the toughest jobs in world cricket.”

The following Letter to the Editor on the state of West Indies cricket was submitted by Delroy Alexander, Chairman of St Lucia’s Sacred Sports Foundation Inc:

Photo: West Indies batsman Andre Fletcher (centre) heads back to the pavilion after falling victim to Pakistan bowler Imad Wasim (third from left) during the first T20I match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on 23 September 2016.  (Copyright AFP 2017/Karim Sahib)
Photo: West Indies batsman Andre Fletcher (centre) heads back to the pavilion after falling victim to Pakistan bowler Imad Wasim (third from left) during the first T20I match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on 23 September 2016.
(Copyright AFP 2017/Karim Sahib)

There was a time, long ago when the West Indies cricket team really mattered to me. As a youngster growing up in Nottingham, there wasn’t much we had to shout about. In any discussion, arena or sporting forum—long before the internet took off—the Windies were a source of immense pride.

In recent years, since my father passed, I find myself watching less and less. So much so, that I don’t even reach for the scores anymore.

I don’t care for the constant silly belief that the Caribbean region can claw its way back to the top or the laughable suggestion that a bunch of old politicians and administrators know what’s best for the game!

But really, how has it come to this? A woeful revolving merry-go-around of mediocrity, where an average coach gets to ‘rehabilitate’ a struggling team.

Maybe I don’t follow so many games because I’m not a fan of the bash-it T20 format and it hurts so much to see how under prepared our youngsters are at the international Test level.

No offence to Stuart Law—the third Aussie to try his hand at the role of head coach—but questionably short stints coaching Sri Lanka and Bangladesh don’t qualify you for one of the toughest jobs in world cricket. Certainly not any more than Phil Simmons, the venerable Trinidadian all-rounder and last incumbent of the head coaching job.

Photo: New West Indies coach Stuart Law (second from left) during his stint with Sri Lanka. (Copyright India Business Times)
Photo: New West Indies coach Stuart Law (second from left) during his stint with Sri Lanka.
(Copyright India Business Times)

All of Simmons’ years coaching an over-achieving Ireland, his knowledge of the region and his ability as a motivating coach suggested he was the right man for the job. But then again, I thought Otis Gibson would have been given longer.

Our new coach joins the WICB as former captain Jamaican Jimmy Adams comes in as Director of Coaching and New CEO Johnny Grave come on board—no, I won’t make the Titanic reference.

But it’s hard to see how things improve for youngsters still fascinated by a great game.

Personally, it’s not actually the losing that hurts—although winning is much more fun. After all, I am a Liverpool fan. I’ve become used to crushing disappointment.

But where Liverpool still give me hope, the Windies fill me with nothing but trepidation. I don’t much like what they represent and shudder every time the WICB comes up in conversation: often about arrogant and self-serving officialdom, poor organisation and increasingly selfish and boring players.

Where the Windies were concerned, it was never just the winning that mattered. It was the way they represented us. And that’s why I don’t take much pride in our last T20 victory with the rampant self-indulgent joy and babyish hurt feelings, the petty vindictiveness and the lack of sheer sporting goodwill and limited class.

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)
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)

Winning isn’t always good enough. The way you win and what you represent—for me at least—means a lot more.

That’s why I continue to follow and support my Mighty Reds. They make me proud in victory and defeat. The Windies just make me cringe, especially when I see my son chuckling at the way us older guard still fret at what has happened.

Perhaps, he sums it up best.

“Cricket? The West Indies? Why?” he asks. “It’s just embarrassing to listen to them all. No one cares anymore!”

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20 comments

  1. Earl Best

    Talking about West Indies cricket is worse than whipping a long dead horse. Please spare us, Wired868.

  2. Players have never been first. They are treated with a reprehensible callousness that echoes the way cricket management approaches cricket in T&T at all levels.

  3. FIFA is to mafia as WICB is to TTFA.

  4. Expect that the WICB is registered in the Virgin Islands outside of the Caricom area. The only way is to withhold the Stadiums, but there must be a common view that is not happening.

    • Yep that’s what Charles Wilkins always says re stadiums

      But as we know that where the geopolitics is concerned and in Hoe WICB has been able to manipulate certain HOS leaders on their side to not block stadiums

  5. Yep these are the sentiments of many.

    The WICB crooks have already manipulated CARICOM leaders, Caribbean cricket press is dumb or is sellout themselves to confront board, international press don’t truly care & the best players have given up trying to fight board and are happy to play in T20 leagues

    thus WICB has already won the battle and war over control and future of windies cricket, unless CARICOM gets balls like what the India courts just did to BCCI leadership

  6. I watching ManU yes ..
    too much

  7. And Michael, I think West Indies cricket administration is worse off than the TTFA. And that says a lot.

  8. Icc an England Australia an the ignorant west indian public is the major players is not just a game of cricket it goes beyond the boundaries there main wepon strife an confusion they use the media an send it to the ignorant public first was get rid of all the old players they tired of seeing Haynes and Gordon .time west Indies get a spinner we went for it to somple mash up our strenght in fast bowling . Then the laws of the game .then administration Australia told the board do not use the service of your past greats us them .we coaches do not have certificates however they good to develop other nation cricket dum public do talk now you’ll are part of it.

  9. If there was ever any doubt that art and sport reflect society this post confirms it.
    We’ve been having this exact conversation for the last few months. The only difference is, it was centred on football.

  10. West Indies cricket, is but one of the Caribbean institutions that is failing, mainly as a direct result of poor leadership. The failures are at both the regional and island levels

  11. The colonial slave mentality is once we get a whiteman from foreign we good to go….and heres the bonus…they doh talk back to wicb presidents…here we have simmo and adams…both with good succes at international and county cricket levels and send for an aussie mediocre…anyone heard of bennett king since we hired him…to hire a foreign coach is to invalidate the founding work of constantine and headley and generations of others.

    • Well for mediocre foreign coaches, it is just a job. I have seen it often in football.
      Their attitude is: It’s allyuh team… So no problem, once my my cheque is in the bank come month end.

  12. Maybe now that Jimmy Adams is technical director, they will allow the coach to do his job. The other two Aussie coaches were not allowed the freedom to do their jobs. The same applies to CEO’s. Why do you think they come and go so regularly.