I have often thought that if I had a young WI friend who was a talented cricketer, I would do everything possible to dissuade him from playing for his country.
Here is what a marvellous WI novelist, Earl Lovelace, wrote in a short story named Like when somebody dead:
“Listening to the radio this week has made me aware that with one or two exceptions, West Indian commentators have a vocabulary less of appreciation than of censure. There is a sense of reproof and impatience that they inflict on West Indian players, making them more frequently the objects rather than the subjects of their constructions. But I listen, with some aggravation, hoping that the vibrations of such utterances do not reach the players, especially today.”
WI administrators and commentators have been so harsh on WI cricketers since they stopped winning regularly that a host of young talented cricketers like Adrian Barath, Xavier Marshall, Kieron Powell, Devon Smith and many others have either never reached their potential or just stopped playing.
Foreign journalists, especially English, whose country performs often worse than the WI, buoyed by the statements of WI administrators and commentators feel at liberty to threaten the WI with demotion, deny them access to the biggest parks, and generally say whatever they choose about them.
The greatest 21st century batsman Brian Lara got run out unfortunately in his last international match. As a regular viewer of international cricket I have witnessed that type of run out dozens of times, in fact more than once including the same two players. Yet an extraordinary number of Trinidadians routinely accuse Samuels, Lara`s batting partner on the day in question, of deliberately running out Lara, an accusation seriously ever made against only one cricketer, who was batting so slowly in a limited overs match that his captain is said to have sent in a player specifically to run him out. That Samuels had no motive to run out Lara never factored into the discussion.
Think how easy it was to deny Dwayne Bravo inclusion in a fifteen-man WI squad immediately after being included in an eleven-man international squad for what would likely be his last opportunity to play in a World Cup.
Every WI cricket journalist has been complaining about the substandard quality of West Indian wickets for the entire twenty-first century. A Test match was cancelled after two overs as a result of the condition of the wicket. Has anyone ever heard a cricket official even acknowledge the condition of wickets as an issue, much less a problem? No greater sin was committed by young cricketers in the Caribbean than that of accepting opportunities to earn big salaries in 20-20 cricket to help their grandmothers and mothers live in a nice house.
The more the journalists get exasperated about team performances, the more they feel at liberty to accuse players without evidence of not supporting the captain, and the less the administrators do to help the team. They wouldn’t even follow my suggestion to appoint one member of the coaching staff to be the head coach for the World Cup only.
The WI have a number of talented, exciting cricketers doing their best. The least they are entitled to is support and encouragement.