Full disclosure – I have never played serious cricket (my hand-eye co-ordination is terrible). However, I am as avid a WI supporter/fan as anyone else. So, I get very upset when I see our best players (male and female) playing and performing well in the major competitions (CPL, IPL, Big Bash, Hundred, etc) but not for the West Indies.
Sunil Narine has not played for the WI for some time, but every commentator in the above-mentioned competitions note that he is the man his captains turn to when his team is under pressure. He is a wicket taker par excellence and is so economical.
Andre Russell is one of the most destructive batsmen in the world and is a good bowler and fieldsman. The same applies to Deandra Dottin in women’s cricket. So why are such players not permanent fixtures in the WI teams today?
I think that Cricket West Indies has to ask someone with authority who is trusted and really cares about advancing WI interests to interview these players and find out why they are not representing the WI. What about someone like Mia Mottley or Ralph Gonzales?
If it is a question of money why the players choose other competitions over representing the WI, remind them gently that it was their respective territories and the WI eventually that groomed them to reach the level they are at. Surely gratitude and loyalty should count for something.
If they have a problem with the coaching staff, be honest and say what it is. For instance, we have a batting coach whose only claim to fame seems to be that he spends most of the match on the boundary line looking on at the play while our batsmen repeat the same mistakes again and again. What about all those fabulous batsmen we have had during our golden years?
If their problem is with the administration, say so. We have had poor administrators in the past who probably thought they could not be removed, only to find out otherwise.
What I find most intriguing is the reason given for her retirement by Dottin, who blamed “the current climate and team environment (which) has been non-conducive to my ability to thrive and reignite my passion.” Someone has to drill down into this statement with Dottin for the benefit of not only WI cricket, but also WI people as a whole.
How many other cricketers have given up on WI cricket for similar reasons? Our talent pool is too small compared to the other countries to afford to lose players like Kieron Pollard, Narine, Dottin and Evin Lewis, to name a few, while they are still at the height of their powers. Maybe they can be brought back into the fold before the World Cup, who knows?
STANLEY LEE POW