The State of Caribbean Cricket

Commentary on West Indies Cricket

Former West Indies Coach, Phil Simmons

Former West Indies Coach, Phil Simmons

West Indies cricket has never been without drama and bacchanal. Just as carnival is to Caribbean culture, so too is West Indies cricket. It’s in our blood and our love for it runs deeper than supporting 11 players on the field. Territorial identities are thrown out the window when the boys in maroon are in action.

But within recent years and as the relationship between players and the WICB became acrimonious and hanging by a thread, we seemed to have shifted from that single identity as a West Indies supporter. Trinis (Trinibagonians) started pointing fingers at Jamaicans and Bajans (Barbadians) and vice-versa. Brian Lara has publicly stated his reason for early retirement was the West Indies cricket board and their micro-management of the team he captained.

Fast-forward almost a decade and history is once again repeating itself. Denesh Ramdin was unceremoniously removed as Test captain, replaced by the false-ripe Jason Holder. And let me tell you, his appointment is a separate contentious issue. Yes it can be argued that when one starts a new job they will learn and adapt to the position, but as the leader of a team, you have to have considerable experience to fill that role. Several cricket commentators from around the world have questioned Holder’s appointment as Captain. Some of them even went so far to say that he was appointed as a “Yes” man to the cabal that is the West Indies Cricket Board, because of his immaturity and young nature. But my take on this is, no one forced Jason to take the position offered to him, I am sure he was not poke and prodded with an iron staff in a corner and told “You must take up the offer”. I believe it was a thought of showing up more senior guys on the team who should have been considered ahead of Holder for the Captaincy. It reminded me of being a kid in school and came the first day of school with the latest pair of Nike shoes and would walk around unnecessarily to show it off to your contemporaries. But in the middle of the term everyone realised they weren’t genuine Nike, but a knockoff that your mom bought because it started “laughing” to the front and sides and you had to put “krazy-glue” to hold it together.

Well let me assure you that no “krazy-glue” can hold together the disaster that is the current West Indies ODI and Test teams led by said Jason Holder. Add the sacking of Phil Simmons and the dropping of Darren Sammy and the pot bubbleth over. Jason holder as a player has not been scoring runs nor taking wickets for the West Indies. In a 4 match Test series versus India, albeit the fourth test was abandoned, he scored 132 runs and took ONE wicket. One wicket and his function is primarily as a bowler. It is my view that because of his position as Captain, that he is preventing another player who can perhaps make a more significant contribution from getting picked on the team.

His fellow Bajan Andrew Mason recently called for his sacking as Captain of both the Test and ODI teams and reiterated the point of Jason’s leadership inexperience. There’s an old Caribbean saying “Time longer than rope”, meaning that, time will be given but eventually it will run out. This seems a fitting comparison to Holder’s captaincy, and we can see  the results from the series against Pakistan; where it already 6-NIL.

Some argue that WICB pick and choose who they want in order to carry out their mandate and they are replaced if opposition is received. Case in point Phil Simmons despite the little progress he was able to eke out of a very contentious team. Why hasn’t the WICB taken swift action to remove Holder as Captain seeing that he has not had positive results since his assumptions is beyond me? However what I can say is that it has been noted by the upper echelons of the WICB, but they’re still trying to figure out how to approach the dismissal and who to replace Holder with. But the WICB seem very good in making dismissals and appointments willy-nilly so I count the days until we get an announcement from them.

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