Thursday, April 25, 2024

EDITORIAL – A team gone quite beyond our dreams


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IT WAS HUMILIATING watching West Indies captain Darren Sammy reel onto the field, his sagging team in tow, to shake the hands of his conquerors. Yes, the handshaking and patting on the back in defeat are all sportsman-like conduct – but so is batting.
And the only player of the West Indies who seemed to remember yesterday how it is done was the old trouper Shivnarine Chanderpaul, topscoring with 44 not out from a team score of 112. And the critics and analysts were saying the “old man” should just give it up; go home . . . he is too slow. 
Let’s face it; Chanderpaul is as stabilized a bat as the West Indies side will have in the foreseeable future. West Indies on the whole neither have the patience nor endurance for matches beyond 20 overs.
Our boys, we are constantly reminded, we must rally around; but what do they bring to the table? Pardon us, to the wicket? West Indies have found themselves a new comfort zone (when they must stretch themselves): beating the minnows, and even then they do have a fight on their hands at times.
In the last 18 months to two years, West Indies have hardly beaten any team ranked above them. They get their kicks out of punishing the lower-ranked Netherlands, Ireland and Bangladesh, the last two of whom on their better days could upset the calypso boys. This is shameful.
Consistently, West Indies have been found wanting against South Africa, India, England and even the mercurial Pakistan, who humiliated them in the ICC Cricket World Cup quarter-finals yesterday.
At the beginning of every notable engagement, supporters and the general public are regaled with reports and statements of how ready West Indies are. The problem is they are hardly ever prepared for any eventuality. Here it is we were going into the Cricket World Cup in February (known for four years), and while other sides were honing their skills in the version of the tournament game, West Indies players were waxing in a Twenty20 tournament – hardly the kind of practice for a precursor to the 50-over battle.
Why could the West Indies Cricket Board not have switched the 50-over tournament of October with the January Twenty20? This is the type of question for which, we may be assured, no logical answer will be forthcoming.
So whether West Indies had to face Pakistan or Australia yesterday morning, it would seemingly have made little difference but for West Indies defeat.  
The few bright sparks? The fast-bowling Andre Russell (who didn’t play yesterday) and young leg-spinner Davendra Bishoo. Maybe there is hope. But we have said this so often before. 
It begs the question: Shall we have to continue rallying around mediocrity and shattered dreams?


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