Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Cricket as a sport is the winner- West Indies's amazing trebble triumph against all odds & tribulations..

The West Cricket team did the unthinkable recently- their women's team won the ICC World Twenty20 for the first time in their history, the U-19 team won the U-19 world cup & finally on April 3rd, the West Indies beat England to become the only team to have won this tournament twice.

More than applauding and appreciating this cricket team for what they have achieved, what's more astounding & inspiring for me personally was to look back at  what kind of turmoil the WI players went through because of their cricketing board WICB.

They didn't  pay the players properly and even worse refused to provide them with full term contracts, and not to forget the cold-shouldering the players constantly received over the last few years. A classic example of this is the team which went on to win the World Cup recently were not given their official team jerseys by the WICB and their team manager Rawn Lewis had to specially go & arrange for that.

An article on the same issue: which  I read in ESPNCricinfo  describes  the angst, frustration, pain & grief the West Indies players  felt before playing this World Cup.

 I decided  through  this blog post  let the readers decide whether these players deserved to be treated this way or for that matter does the cricketing board of any country have the right to treat their own players like this..

In a scathing attack on the WICB, West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo  has called the board "most unprofessional" and its president Dave Cameron an "immature", "small-minded", "arrogant" person, who he believes is at "personal war" with his own players.
Bravo has had several run-ins with the WICB in the past. As ODI captain, he led West Indies' pull-
out from the India tour over player-payment issues in October 2014, and since then has not featured in the ODI squad, lost his retainer contract, and had even been removed as captain of his regional T&T team in the domestic one-day tournament.

 Being victimized by his own board, Bravo said, was nothing new and so he would not be surprised if West Indies' Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy  is disciplined by the WICB for being critical of the board after the team won the World T20 for the second time on Sunday evening in Kolkata.

"I'm yet to hear from our own cricket board. That is very disappointing," Sammy had said at the post-match presentation. "For today, I'm going to celebrate with these 15 men and coaching staff. I don't know when I'm going to be playing with these guys again because we don't get selected for one-day cricket." Hours after that, the WICB sent out two media releases. The first one congratulated the players on their achievements, but in the second release Cameron said he would inquire into Sammy's remarks.

 Too much times people come down on the players. They questioned our commitment, they questioned whether we were really committed to West Indies cricket or is it just the money. A lot of people don't understand the things we go through as players dealing with our board. It is the most unprofessional board in the world to me.

 Sammy spoke from his heart. There is nothing wrong with Sammy's speech and I support Darren Sammy 100%.  Not only Bravo but the rest of his teammates and the coaching would echo with Sammy's emotional outburst after achieving something this big. Just to put into perspective an International cricketer in modern times on average is on the move for around 200-270 days a year playing cricket around the world.

According to Bravo, the WICB has always failed to respect and communicate with the players. The board refused to listen to what their players had  to say. It reached a point where they couldn't  take it no more and that itself encouraged them  to go out there and win despite all the challenges & turmoil  they have had to go through.

Darren Sammy before the start of the ICC World T20 said this," Even our own board did not think we were going to win the tournament. We are yet to hear from the president, yet to hear from the CEO, yet to hear from the director of cricket. I mean how can you represent the region, and the people who are supposed to be your bosses and in charge of you don't even wish you well, don't even support you."

 Two years ago when they  had the problems on the India tour, Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle & Dwayne Bravo  had been blatantly victimized for whatever reason. That is the way the WICB deals with situations. 

These players were criticized mainly because of the interest they showed by preferring to participate in the IPL and other  T20 leagues around the world over their own country. My simple question is when they don't get paid for playing for their country and not getting respected for their services, what's wrong with them  playing in such leagues and showcase their flair and spread joy.

Bravo pointed out that even during last year's ODI World Cup,  the president of the WICB had posted an untimely tweet when he questioned Chris Gayle's form in the opening matches. "That tweet from the president was during the 50-over World Cup when Chris Gayle was struggling in the first couple of games. The president sent out a tweet: 'It is time for Chris Gayle to buy some runs.' It is like a personal war against his own people, his own players. The president was in India [during the World T20] and he is yet to come to the team to say congratulations or well done guys or anything like that."

In an interview with ESPNcricinfo last week, Cameron said that the reason he did not want to enter the West Indies dressing room was because he did not want the players to get affected or distracted by his presence. He called the decision "very, very deliberate", but said that he shared a good relationship with his players.

Clearly, Bravo did not agree. "Our cricket has gone to the lowest. Yes, we won the World Cup, the women won the World Cup. Also the Under-19s won the World Cup. But that doesn't mean to say our cricket is in good hands. It is not. We definitely need help and the board needs to answer for some of the things that have been going on."

Bravo was pessimistic about a resolution being reached in the near future, keeping in mind the WICB was willing only to negotiate with the West Indies Player Association, which  90% of the players are not part of.

"It is tough times and I could only see getting worse because the board is going to retaliate with hate and anger, and they don't think as adults and mature people with common sense. They always try to react with some kind of victimization or trying to do something to victimize the players or take action against players."

As an ardent cricket follower and fan  this issue pains and angers me a lot. If the West Indies team they play at full strength are definitely capable of putting up a brilliant show and give tough competition to other teams. The WICB owes it to the cricket world to be frank to sort out the issues surrounding the payment and contracts and make sure that the best team possible is sent out to play in an international series.

The last thing we want is before a ball is bowled in a series, you know who will win a series. This is just not on. West Indies have known to be competitive and more importantly the kind of players they have at their disposal are capable of entertaining the viewers and their flamboyance is second to none-be it a Chris Gayle, Andre Russell or Sunil Narine.

To end this, it is indeed an inspirational sight to see the West Indies team do well recently, but as Dwayne Bravo said there's no optimism with regards to the direction their cricket is headed to. Unless a middle point is found between the players and the WICB officials in the near future, this set of highly entertaining players will be seen only playing in domestic T20 leagues across the globe.\ which  as a cricketing fan hurts me.

Just picture this, the West Indies have not played an ODI series since September 2015, which disqualifies them from playing in the Champions trophy to be held next year. Well, that sums up what I feel about what's happening with West Indies cricket off late!

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