That I like all the young men representing us in New Zealand now and want them to do very well, and will watch every ball bowled, if possible, does not make me any less mad about the injustice and stupidity that persists in the management of our cricket, particularly as it relates to the treatment of our cricketers.
Take the case of Darren Bravo, who recently expressed a desire to play one hundred five-day international matches. Early in this young man`s career he was a below average, perhaps even a horrible, fieldsman. Within a year or two, by dint of hard work, he became, to the astonishment of keen observers of the game, a standout fieldsman. That is about character and determination. There have not been many such transformations in the game. After watching and being involved in some poor performances by his team in one-day and five-day games Bravo announced voluntarily his intention to forgo lucrative opportunities to play twenty over games so that he could concentrate on one-day and five-day games, for the reason that success in those games was considered to be more important to the region. With due respect to other cricketers, his was a unique decision for those of his calibre. Within a year or two of that announcement, which he translated into action, Darren was clearly at least the best young batsman, if not the best batsman in the region, and therefore one whose contractual category the President of the WICB would reasonably have been expected to know. So when the President, in announcing his decision to demote Bravo, revealed ignorance of the category and therefore the salary range in which Darren had been situate, the young man, in a fit of anger, tweeted a comment about the President that focused on the President`s ignorance of that with which he was presumed to have been familiar. Bravo has been paying the price for those comments and the tardiness of their retraction to this day.
I will forego my inclination to make some some remarks about the exclusion of Evin Lewis, a monumental talent, Chris Gayle, who has expressed a desire to play a few more games, and Sunil Narine, from the New Zealand tour, but I wish here to bring again to the attention of all concerned the successful lawsuits brought by two of our cricketers, that are immensely significant, but have in the Caribbean received coverage not consistent with their significance due, I believe, to the lack of regard for our players. In both cases the defendants were Australians. The plaintiffs were Marlon Samuels who was accused of having gang connections, and who sued in Jamaica, and Chris Gayle who was accused of exposing himself in the presence of a maseuse, and sued in Australia. These were really nasty allegations. Defamation suits, especially in the sporting community, are relatively uncommon, and truth is obviously a defence. That such allegations were made against two of our best batsmen should have generated outrage in the region. They did not. The success of the plaintiffs ought to have been celebrated and broadcast on the airways and print journals from end to end of the region. They barely received a mention.
There is something fundamentally wrong with our attitude to our cricketers, and it must change.