Saturday, April 20, 2024

ALL AH WE IS ONE: Falling on T20 sword


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SINCE JAMAICAN professional cricketer Chris Gayle made his now notoriously embarrassing and ill-timed pass at Australian cricket female television and media personality Mel McLaughlin, during the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL) T20 tournament in Australia, the reactions from the tournament organisers have hinted strongly that his continued professional engagement in Australia may be in jeopardy.

Not only has Gayle been fined US$7 000 for his poorly phrased, fake yanked and ego-laid “don’t blush baby” line during a public interview, but the language coming from Australian cricket officials, according to reports from Fox Sports Online (January 7), is that Gayle might no longer be needed in the BBL “for two reasons: one because they don’t like his behaviour. And two, because there’s also a feeling that the competition is outgrowing some of its international stars. That it can stand on its own two feet”.

Whilst there certainly will be future articles and commentary analysing the sociological implications of the Gayle issue from a gender, race, class and culture perspective, one of the revealing lessons of Gayle’s public embarrassment and continuing climbdown is the manner in which the West Indian “superstars” who have publicly turned their backs on West cricket in their enthusiasm for the glitz, glamour and gold of private T20 competitions, have been falling on their T20 swords.

Lost his composure

We saw it with Marlon Samuels who was taunted and taunted while batting in the BBL by no less a personage than Australian cricket senior figure Shane Warne, until Samuels lost his composure and nearly his eye and cricketing career. It was clear then that there was no “love” for him . . . and he has since found his way back to West Indies cricket.

We saw it too with mystery spinner Sunil Narine who has been among those never hesitant to play in the Indian Premiere League . . . but who, after playing several seasons of international cricket with no problems, saw his bowling action being ruled as illegal by the very IPL which sometimes conflicted with his service to his West Indian community. Narine’s cricketing career is virtually finished. No longer needed.

It is interesting too, that in all the instances where our stars have fallen on their T20 swords, it is to the West Indian people that they have turned for salvation. We are a forgiving people. Samuels, Narine and now Gayle. Maybe Dwayne Bravo, who has hinted that his priorities are Trinidad, Mumbai Indians and West Indies – in that order – may be next. Indeed, his career-ending walk-out of the Indian tour can be seen as the beginning of that process.

It is significant that it is ONLY West Indian cricketers who cannot balance T20 money with still lucrative West Indies cricket. Perhaps the Gayle put-down may be a turning point.

Are we going to learn?

Tennyson Joseph is a political scientist at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, specialising in regional affairs. Email


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