Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Slow to learn


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Most educators would probably agree that people learn at various rates. Sadly, some members of the human species seem not to learn at all.

As the West Indies prepare to entertain Bangladesh in two Test matches, the drama surrounding Ottis Gibson’s departure from the position of coach continues.

There seems to be much uncertainty surrounding the details of the separation. This is an unfortunate distraction at a time when the WICB, players, team officials and even fans should be fully focused on the series against Bangladesh.

It is easy to describe Mushfiqur Rahim’s side as lightweight but cricket is played on the field not in the newsroom, media centre or barber shop.

The unfortunate scenario relating to the former coach is a timely reminder that we still do not know how to treat our own.

Those of us still perturbed about the manner in which the Test captaincy was yanked from Darren Sammy need only reflect or research the manner in which the great Sir Viv Richards was treated when he gave up the captaincy 23 years ago.

Ironically, Richardson, the man who took over from Richards, again finds himself in the forefront of leadership amidst the mayhem the WICB seem intent on creating.

Who will be the next victim of the WICB’s mismanagement of our human resources?

One would think that since some of those personalities currently in influential positions would have been victims in the past the cycle would have ended by now but the self-destructive culture seems even more embedded than in past years.

It cannot be very reassuring for new Test captain Denesh Ramdin. His elevation to the captaincy coincides with his richest career returns with the bat.

It is a fitting reality, given our out-dated philosophy that the top performer is best suited to be captain. We have placed very little value on leadership skills and Ramdin will be well aware that his personal contributions, especially in front of the wicket, will be closely monitored by the critics. Our less than scientific and myopic approach to leadership have arguably contributed to our prolonged period on the lower rungs of international cricket.

Now in a few days captain Ramdin goes into a no-win situation, having failed his first “test” since his elevation when we were beaten by New Zealand.

 That those who led the successful campaign for change were strangely or maybe not so strangely silent following that fiasco is possibly an indication that the new skipper is being granted a honeymoon period. How long he will be able to benefit from such generosity is dependent not so much on the result of a series that many people expect will  be a ridiculously one sided contest in favour of the home team but on the two tours ahead against India and South Africa.

Just to keep things interesting, the WICB has ensured that the home environment is not as stable as it could be. Not only was the timing of Gibson’s separation from the team poor but the seemingly justifiable belief that the WICB is again heading in the direction of a foreign coach is more cause for concern.

In the past West Indies have been trendsetters in cricket. Now we seem to believe that our past players have nothing to contribute though some of them have been pressed into service by other countries. At this stage of our development, we should not even be considering hiring a non-West Indian coach. That policy has failed miserably and our locals have not been given the credit they deserved when they did well.

I cannot imagine what greater achievements we have experienced in recent cricketing history than the 2004 Champions Trophy success and the 2012 T20 World Cup triumph. Trinidadian Gus Logie was the coach back in 2004 and Barbadian Ottis Gibson the coach in 2012 yet we seem poised again to show how slow we are to learn.


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