Wherever you happen to be in the world, you would not have failed to watch the First Test action between Kraigg Brathwaite’s side and Bangladesh in Chattogram; my instincts tell me that. And that, along with so many of us, you steupsed loudly after Day Three when West Indies went from 253 for five to 259 all out in the space of just 22 balls.
So we are left with a Day Five Everest to climb and not a Sherpa in sight.
“Blasted irresponsible!” I imagine you hissing through gritted teeth. “Dat not happening on my watch!”
And wherever you happen to be in the world, you would not have failed to read Noel Kalicharan’s Letter to the Editor in last Sunday’s Express. But you refuse to dignify it with a public response. Not now anyway. Your preference has always been to let the bat or the ball in your hand do the talking.
I feel Kalicharan’s charge is completely unfair and I am willing to take up your fire-rage. You can thank me later by making sure to accept the Test captaincy when it is offered to you. I hear rumblings about resistance to the promotion so…
With a population of ten million and 820 Covid-19 deaths, Kalicharan writes, deaths per 100,000 in the United Arab Emirates is 8.2, nearly twice as much as in Bangladesh.
So tell me, ODI captain Kieron Pollard, if you had no problem abandoning your team in Bangladesh for fear of Covid-19, how come you choose to captain the Deccan Gladiators in the UAE T10 League where the death rate from Covid-19 is almost twice as high?
Did you think 8.2 was ‘safer’ than 4.9? Or did the higher bid win?
Kalicharan, who has already published several books, may well have another one in the making. Let’s assume, therefore, that he has an attractive offer for it from Charran Publishing House, the locals from whom scores of schoolbooks have come over the years. The offer guarantees that the company will publish anything he has to offer them for the next ten years.
Along comes Crown, publishers of Barack Obama’s A Promised Land and Michelle Obama’s Becoming, with an offer to publish the new work. They offer no guarantees about any future publications but the financial terms for the text concerned are significantly more attractive than the ones in the Charran’s contract.
Would Kalicharan decide that the guarantees are safer and stay with Charran’s? Or would the higher bid win?
I know my answer. What’s yours?
And more to the point, what’s his?
Anyway, returning to the captaincy issue, I am 99.9% certain that the decision to make you the WI short-format skipper was 99.9% correct.
And I can’t wait to see you made the regional all-formats captain. I can think of no arguments against it—except your own reputed reluctance to accept the promotion.
I think it is worth noting that, ranked at #5 in both Tests and ODIs, South Africa have just announced a change. Asked to act as Test captain for the 2020-21 summer until a permanent candidate could be found, Quinton de Kock will not continue in the position after the end of the current series against Pakistan.
Coach Mark Boucher said it’s important to ‘release him from that burden’ of leading all three sides in the international arena.
“If you’re not scoring runs, it gets highlighted,” he explained, “especially if you’re a captain.”
Of the other 13 captains currently in top-ten international Test and ODI cricket, only Australia’s Tim Paine has the ‘extra burden’ of also being a wicketkeeper. As did Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan, who temporarily inherited the Test reins in New Zealand last year in the absence of the injured Babar Azam.
Azam, as you know, is one of five current all-formats captains of the nine Test-playing countries. Only four non-conformists have different captains in Tests and ODIs: England, (ranked #1 in ODIs and #4 in Tests), Australia (#4 & #3), Bangladesh (#7 & #9) and WI (#9 & #8).
Among your fraternity of 14, England’s Test captain Joe Root and Australia’s Aaron Finch, both top-order batsmen, occasionally also get bowling assignments. But you and the current WI Test captain are the only ones consistently tagged all-rounders.
So if, as some are suggesting, you’re hesitating to commit, I know it’s because, for an all-rounder, captaining three international teams is no piece of cake. And whereas all the other skippers are dealing with players from one country, that’s not the case with WI, where insularity remains alive and well.
You certainly have not forgotten your first-hand experience as Barbados Tridents captain.
So broad as your shoulders are, you’re not sure they’re that broad. That’s cool; we can live with that.
There’s an alternative, though.
Ask any West Indian fan if (s)he would prefer to beat Root’s Test side or Eoin Morgan’s white ball side consistently. I’ve conducted no poll but I trust my instincts; every fan, certainly the more mature ones, will give you the same answer.
We have two decades of treasured Test memories from the days of the same legends whom the soon-to-be-former WI Test captain waded into the other day.
You didn’t attack the legends; you aimed higher. You told the Board that you don’t plan to leave your wife at home the next time CWI sends you on tour.
So how hard can it be for you to tell lead selector Roger Harper that you’ll take the Test job on one condition: that, in consultation with your current squad of white ball players, you get to recommend the candidate who inherits the short-format captaincy job.
I don’t remember anything being explicitly said about genuine player power in the Wehby Report.
But you might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.
And I really don’t think that would be too much for president Skerritt and his deputy to swallow.