Friday, April 19, 2024

Edwards given hard break


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I’M EXTREMELY?curious as to why Kirk Edwards wasn’t reappointed to lead Barbados in this season’s regional cricket.
I’m curious because nine out of ten times, it is unlikely you will retain a captain who was successful in the previous season.
Edwards led Barbados to the prestigious four-day championship after a very circumspect start. Therefore, it was surprising to hear he had been overlooked for the post this time around.
Of course, based on tradition, it’s rather unlikely that the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) will issue a statement on the matter except for the routine press release declaring the management team for the year.
Consequently, speculation will be rife about why Edwards has fallen from the lofty heights of captain to a subordinate in the ranks. I would like to believe Edwards had to be doing something right to motivate the players in the middle to triumph.
Teammates can make or break you if there’s the slightest hint of dissent. The players were up for the task once the team made the play-offs. They looked far from the uncertain unit at the beginning. There was fire and desire to capture what back in the day was another routine title and they duly delivered what the average local supporter measures the cricket scale by.
The authorities, by any yardstick, should’ve been happy too – and I’m sure they were – but obviously there must’ve been some reservations about Edwards’ leadership, whether based on substance or style.
He couldn’t have got top marks in his appraisal and lose his pick.
I assume that subsequent information put his candidacy for retention as skipper under pressure even though it is likely his name was part of the discussion.
Based on the recommendation of the selectors, it was decided to pass the baton to someone else but this may not justify why, in my opinion, it seems Edwards was given a hard break.
I believe in the old adage that says you don’t fix something that isn’t broken. You simply don’t change a successful captain in midstream unless there’s much more in the mortar than the pestle.
So, is there? Let’s not hold our breath for a forthright answer.
The man chosen to replace Edwards is West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite and this move is being projected as part of the way forward.
The young opener has captained both the Barbados and West Indies Under-19 squads but it will be his first major challenge in leading some players that are older and more senior than he is.
Internal tension
 This could prove to be difficult, especially if his own form falters and it could compound matters if the team’s overall performance is shaky. Internal tension can be disruptive.
Everybody in Barbados is a cricket expert so public expectations will also be high as usual. The new skipper has to be mentally prepared for the rollercoaster ride in this respect.
However, I prefer to think positive and hope that all goes well for Brathwaite, who is in this key position for the first time.
It will be in the team’s and Barbados’ interest that he be given all the necessary support to make a success of the job. Further, it is important we operate strategically by putting individuals in position to be contenders for prominent openings in West Indies cricket.
This might have been used as a reason to elevate Brathwaite but it can be argued that at 28, Edwards is perfectly placed to captain the West Indies if the chance arises.
I’m happy Kevin Stoute will lead the 50-overs team because despite the fact that he’s had some tough breaks, his commitment and dedication to the game have never wavered.
He remained humble and allowed his all-round talents do the talking. That’s character and every team needs someone of such stature.
Like Brathwaite, Stoute will be expected to deliver silverware even if it is his first time at the helm.
A new era will not change old rules. Not when it comes to Bajans and cricket.
• Andi Thornhill is an experienced award-winning sports journalist.


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