The West Indies team should mix the experienced with the inexperienced
I wish to begin this letter with holiday greetings to the West Indies team and champion boxer Clive Atwell, the ‘Wonder Kid.’ This has been the best year for West Indies in nearly two decades; they are now world T-20 champions and have been very successful in their last two Test series. I am a diehard fan of West Indies cricket whether they win or lose, and I never cease to have hope for their permanent resurgence and that some day they will recapture the glory days.
That will not come easily, and even though they have had a good year it must be said that they are some way from where they should be satisfied. A close examination of the team would disclose that there have been consistent individual performances from some players, but there have been consistent failures by most of the others. In my humble opinion the selectors headed by our own beloved Clyde Butts have experimented with too many young players at the same time; the team was overloaded with inexperienced youth that found the transition very hard to cope with, and even playing against low-rated cricket teams, they flattered to deceive.
There have been bright lights that shone, and Kieron Powell heads that list; he did not only play well but on the way to big partnerships he created records. Also Darren Bravo did enough to strengthen the hope that he would be more than just the next West Indian batting prodigy. Mr Permaul, the surprise pick of the pack, did reasonably well; if he is going to keep his place he will have to improve by leaps and bounds. Sunil Narine was a major disappointment, and gave rise to the thought that he might just be a T-20 specialist, but our spin department is full of options with Bishoo, Benn, Shillingford and Badre.
I believe the way forward for West Indies cricket is to mix the inexperienced with the experienced, so that the young can learn from the seniors. Sarwan if he does well must never be out of the team, and with Gayle, Samuels and Chanderpaul we should have enough experience. With Darren Sammy as captain it makes the selection of a genuine all-rounder extremely difficult, and it creates an unfair imposition on the selectors. Sammy, a very likeable cricketer, must be available as an automatic choice on the basis of performance, and not be in the team by default. His presence there has stymied the full-scale success of the team and contributes to its imbalance, so Dwayne Bravo who must be the number one all-rounder is always going to be doubtful for the final eleven.
My wish for our cricket is that the best team be selected and that every player must merit his place. If this is adhered to, then and only then will victory become a habit.
Clive ‘Wonder Kid‘ Atwell comes from our community, Agricola, and he has made us proud by becoming another champion from these parts. Yes, we had the now deceased Caesar Barrow who set the stage for future generations of boxers to follow. Clive is a very humble individual, who has learned to believe in his God, and never misses church service and even after intense training or a hard-fought victory, he finds himself in the sanctuary in different denominations on a Sunday morning. I know Clive is a great role model and will continue to be a great example for other youths to follow.