I have just noticed that the West Indies has selected its squad for the 20 over (3 hour) match at Lords against the rest of the world. The squad was announced, it seems, with little fanfare, and it would not surprise me that the so-called guardians and trustees of West Indies cricket would like to keep the selection ‘in confidence’. As soon as I heard the announcement of the game I had written to WI Cricket urging it to give priority to the marketing aspect of the game in view of the fact that the sole object of the match was to raise money for the relief of Dominicans in the wake of the recent horrific hurricane. I specifically urged the board to select the most iconic names. I know that the small men who run cricket in the region would sneer at describing the cricketers they despise as icons, but that is precisely what they are. The exclusion of captain Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Narine and Pollard from the squad is clear and compelling evidence that these men would be prepared to sacrifice the endeavour in the pursuit of their petty squabbles with players who were not irrational enough to turn down financial offers to play 20 over cricket for short periods that could, and probably did, secure them in retirement.
It is especially annoying when one reflects that the people responsible worldwide for the game could have concentrated on scheduling international encounters in such a manner that conflicts between earning real money and representing one’s country could have been avoided. Interestingly Tim Wigmore in an article ‘The World’s Jamboree’ in the March edition of the Cricketer magazine has said that those administrators have finally seen the light.
The West Indies have suffered the most among cricket nations from narrow mindedness, and must make every effort not to repeat past errors that arise from such thinking. I am particularly perturbed that Prof Beckles, who clearly wants to be the architect of what he describes as “the fourth rising” can write a whole book without even mentioning the issue of scheduling, partly because he believes Test is the only worthy format of the game. What is more he remained silent on the importance of psychology in all the years he has been writing about rebuilding our cricket, while he knew that psychologist Rudy Webster was in Beckles’ own words “an architect” and “the mental manager” of Lloyd’s team of the 1970s and ‘80s.
The Professor may also be a careless student of recent cricket history that does not emanate from conventional sources. While I practically begged the media to take Mark Nicholas to task immediately after his remark before the 2016 World Cup that the West Indies team had no brains, the Professor says in his latest book that Nicholas’s “racial rant went largely unnoticed until Darren Sammy, in his T20 victory speech in 2016 called him out and drew an apology.” Finally life, especially the sporting life, is too uncertain to build a country’s hopes on one youngster, as Beckles appears to be doing with Holder.