A GUY'S VIEW
Sun, 04/10/2016 - 12:00am Barbados1
We have witnessed a rare phenomenon
R.E. Guyson Mayers
The West Indies cricket teams have performed a feat that has never been seen on earth before. And if it is ever replicated, no other team or country would ever be the first to attain such a feat.
Our team holds every world title in Twenty/20 (T/20) cricket. Our Under-19 boys won the World T/20 title for their age group a few months ago. On Sunday, April 3, 2016, both our women and our men won their respective world titles. This is the first time anything like this has happened, and only God knows if it would ever happen again.
We should proudly point to the performances of our players, but what is probably more important is what our teams’ attainment should mean to us and says about us.
At the end of the tournament, an emotional Darren Sammy revealed to the world some of the struggles his team went through. His comments made it clear that the West Indies Cricket Board could take no credit for the success of the team. In fact, if Sammy’s statement was accurate, his team won in spite of the Board.
There is certainly a lot wrong with West Indies cricket. Darren Sammy did not allow his team’s success to mask this reality. It is phenomenal that, notwithstanding all that is wrong, we hold all three world T/20 titles. This speaks to the power of self-motivation and determination to succeed. It also speaks to superior individual skill and intellectual development.
If one pays attention to sport commentators, all successful black players, in every sport, succeed only because of superior athleticism or physical strength. This is the reason given for the success of Serena Williams in Tennis; it was the reason for Tiger Woods’ success, so they changed the golf clubs to enable players to hit the ball farther; Usain Bolt is stronger so he is faster – his training programme and strategy has nothing to do with it. So it was not surprising for the West Indies team to be described as brainless. After all, successful black athletes all suffer from this debilitating disease, which they somehow manage to overcome when their game starts.
Truth be told, those who work with their hands have to use their brains. It takes a brilliant thinker to be a creator of art, a builder of things, or a top class athlete. There are plenty of average sportsmen, and women, who had the best possible coaching, training, facilities, medical support, and anything else that money could buy, but they never reached the level of others who outperformed them with none of those things. Which English batsman ever reached the level of Brian Lara or Sir Vivian Richards? Which English fast bowler ever exhibited the intelligence of Malcom Marshall? It would be sacrilege to mention Sir Garfield Sobers.
The success of our teams teaches us that we must rely on ourselves at every level. We can never be better than ourselves. The expertise on which we draw can do no better than make us as good as we already are. Luck may swing here or there during a game, but we are as good as we are – win or lose.
We have produced players who have achieved everything that could be attained in the game. We have produced the best batsmen in the world. We have produced the best bowlers in the world. We have produced the best fielders in the world. We have produced the best all-rounder in the world. Who could we call on to improve what we have?
And who can reasonably argue that Darren Sammy is not a phenomenal leader of men? I wrote previously that in the removal of President Sir Julian Hunte and Captain Sammy, those responsible were dealing a death blow to West Indies cricket. The evidence is in. If Sir Julian had remained as President and Sammy had not been removed from the helm of our cricket, our 50 over and test teams would now be in much better shape.
Caribbean cricket administrators must respect themselves and our people. This would allow them to see that the answers to our problems lie within us. There is no cricket playing nation which has given the world of cricket more than the Caribbean.
Now we must stand by and see what rule changes will come to the game. Most of the modern rules of the game were introduced to stop West Indies success. When they could not play our spinners, they changed the Leg Before Wicket rule. When they could not deal with our speed, they changed the No Ball rule from back foot to front foot. When, after all of those changes they still could not draw a game with us, they introduced the 90-over a day rule to disrupt our pace attack, notwithstanding that we were winning games in three and four days.
Every aspect of the game in which we excel, they bring rules to change it. Maybe now they will introduce the “Must have brain” rule, since our teams are supposed to be brainless and can only win because of their natural ability and physical prowess. Oh, how terrible it must feel to be beaten by people with no brains.
Now that the world tournament is over, Sunil Narine is free to bowl again. He could not bowl against India during the international tournament, but he can now bowl for an Indian franchise team. Interesting. It is also interesting that our bowlers have to be tested and approved by the countries against whom they play. We need to seek the approval of our rivals. And nobody in the administration of our cricket sees anything wrong with this practice.
The Barbados Government should demonstrate that it is the hub of Caribbean unity and assemble the members of all three world championship teams here for a thank you celebration. A national concert would be appropriate. There is no doubt that members of the public would be willing to pay a small entry fee to offset the cost of such a celebration. And Kensington Oval, the Caribbean mecca of cricket, is ideally suited for this.