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CARIBBEAN - cricket ezine

Good luck West Indies! - Wednesday 24, December-2003

WEST INDIES CAPTAIN Brian Lara and members of the West Indies team deserve our best wishes for Christmas and 2004. More especially we wish them every success in the upcoming Test Match newstarting on Boxing Day.

The Caribbean diaspora were elated at the team’s historic victory in the final Test against Australia last year. We hoped then and still believe that that victory was the end of one road – defeat and the beginning of another – victory and ascendancy – in world cricket.

Our team left these shores carrying with them our prayers, well-wishes and high expectations for our young players. But we lost the first Test even though our performance showed that we had determination and the will to succeed. We lost because we did not play well.

Recently, our players have succumbed to injuries while the overseas record shows 25 defeats in 34 Tests. Nothing to be proud of. We were therefore in a fierce battle with nine players versus 11 fit South Africans. Is this a worthy prescription for reversal of the 5-0 humiliation meted out to us on our last tour?

Brian Lara, to his credit, turned in a captain’s performance with a score of 202 out of 410. Were we truly ready for battle against a team hungry and almost unforgiving in its relentless pursuit of victory and who had not forgotten the experience of their first tour to the Caribbean?

Dr Llewellyn Harper, a WICB medical panellist appointed to monitor the fitness of West Indian players, is reported as saying that the West Indies players were not excited about pre-tour camps.

Also that players, due to the absence of retainer contracts, were not maintaining the fitness schedules detailed for them, as well as they might. There has been talk in WICB circles for years now about the importance of year-round contracts for players but when first attempted, despite promises by regional leaders, it fell apart due to lack of funding.

But this is not all. Can you imagine, as reported by Mr Tony Cozier, that neither captain Brian Lara nor his team had seen any film of opposing captain Graeme Smith – a batsman on whom South Africa were placing great reliance during this series or for that matter recordings of the Tests in England earlier in the year?

To have taken on Zimbabwe without study of their recent Tests against Australia and then to seek to obtain assistance in this regard from their hosts is mind-boggling, and this when the management team consists of manager, coach, bowling coach, physiotherapist and a statistician.

Regional leaders continue to discuss CSME, FTAA with a Port-of-Spain headquarters, the CCJ and the need for international hotel chains to locate in Caricom countries but meanwhile seem to overlook the importance of retainer contracts for West Indies players, as well as a development process which allows young players to concentrate their energies on cricket rather than the worry of a job for survival.

We have to do better.

Compliments of the Nation News


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