Captain Out- All Out

Sir Richards.photo-walterlawrencetrophyWhen I was growing up, just about all the boys in the Clare Hall neighborhood played cricket. We played an assortment of games, including a pick-a-side (two teams) match called "captain out all out".

It meant that each side (team) would choose a captain, and whenever that captain batted, whenever he got out, the side had to retire. Usually, the best player (batsman) would be captain.

Sir Vivian Richards and Richie Richardson, for example, would be chosen as captain for whatever team they represented. They were really good. In most cases, the captain was difficult to get out, which meant that that team would have a good run batting.

Captain out, all out, was a very interesting match for "pick up cricket".

Today, it would seem that the West Indies cricket team has reverted to our childhood pickup games. That after the West Indies ruled the world in cricket during the seventies and eighties.

The difference with the West Indies team today and our pick up teams back then is that our captain today can hardly last a good 10 overs between the wicket.

In addition, pick up cricket is nothing compared to organised Test cricket, in which the West Indies was so dominant. Test Cricket is a professional sports league, with all members who participate expected to play like professionals. Unfortunately, the West Indies cricket team has operated like a "rag tag" bunch of players playing pick up cricket.

Since the days of Captain Brian Lara, and today, with Chris Gayle, it seems like once an opponent gets rid of the captain, then all is lost. True, there have been times when the rest of the team has not faltered after losing the captain but those times have been few and far in between successes.

The West Indies is presently engaged in a number of One Day Internationals with South Africa, and the team has been awful. As a matter of fact, the team has been awful for a very long time, after ruling the cricketing world in the past. So why is the West Indies cricket team so dismal?

First and foremost, we must tackle what seems to be a West Indian problem of not learning and building on success. Also, we have lost touch with the "history of the sport," which to West Indians is much more than just a game. Success at cricket during the early years was a demonstration of "coming of age; from the shackles of slavery".

To win at cricket back then was to show that as West Indians, we have the strength of character to dominate those who once held us captive. Today, that psychological recognition is lost on our players and administrators. Now, I am not at all suggesting that we "live in the past". I am however suggesting that we do not forget what has made us successful.

Obviously, that psychological understanding was not all that made the West Indies team great. The players back then were committed to training and were exceptionally talented players.
I must add that we are not wanting for talent today. These days though, there is a lack of commitment and dedication by the West Indies cricket organisation. It all starts with the West Indies Cricket Board, perhaps the most incompetent sporting organisation on the planet.

This may be a harsh criticism of the WICB, but the reality is that the organisation has failed in its duties to promote and improve cricket in the region for too long. If we are to turn things around, a number of harsh decisions will have to be taken.

The WICB is a spineless organisation with no capability to make the necessary changes. The problem is that the WICB answers to no one in particular. And here is where there has to be some serious intervention. The governments of the Caribbean must intervene. If we continue to do the same things, we can only receive the same results.

What the WICB has been doing over the years has not been successful. A change is crucial. There must be more attention paid to development at the youth level. The WICB has to take charge of cricket from youth level to Test cricket. The WICB has left the development of its players to national associations. The WICB should have a developmental plan that all associations follow.

That plan must be one geared to the total development of the player at all levels, geared at becoming a professional player. Judging from the athleticisms of many of the players, the area of development that is lacking is the mental and social understanding.

Players today need to understand the significance of the success of West Indies cricket to the region. It’s time for an entire revamping of the West Indies system, or we will continue to spiral to the depths of world cricket. It hurts to watch the West Indies cricket team on show after so much success in the seventies and eighties. The services of those persons who played back in the day has to be sought.

There seems to be a level of disrespect to the accomplishments of past players. When the West Indies cricket team loses, the region hurts. It’s important therefore that the region’s leaders help to alleviate those days of hurt. The region cannot take this much longer.

Just my thoughts.

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2 Comments In This Article   



#2 Strat » 2010-06-04 01:59

In all fairness to W.I Team and WICB, we as Caribbean people have been asked too long now to support and "rally round the West Indies", but how much more of this shame and embar**ment can we take as people. Its time we show both entities that we are fed up and unless something is done to show drastic improvement we no longer would attend games. W. I Team for the last few years have been having shortened international tours because they are no longer a financially viable team for anyone to watch but here at home we are asked asked to come out in our thousands to support each game. Loyalty can go so far, enough is enough and if this is what we are paying to watch we might as well find better use of our spare time and hard earn money. No where in any professional sport in the world would such behavior by individual players and poor performance as a team would be tolerated for so long more so without any WHOLESOME changes. It's time we show them(W.I Team and WICB) who is boss and what cricket would be without us. BOYCOTT!!!!!! until acceptable changes are made for the betterment of our favorite past time CRICKET.


A Who Own Dem

#1 Bongo » 2010-06-04 01:29

Magic, Agreed. One thing though and you may be in a better position to tell me. Who are the shareholders for WICB. WICB is not a government agency or owned by one person so I need to know who they answer to. The WICB commissioned PJ patterson who provided numerous recommendations but unfortunately were not implemented. What's next? The governments just can't break up the comapny. I believe the first steps is that the caribbean sports ministers should get involved and charter a commission to see a way forward and force the hands of the WICB we need some sort of intervention.


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Ian 'Magic' Hughes

Ian 'Magic' Hughes is an Antiguan Journalist.

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