Friday, May 11, 2012

The West Indian Axis: Behind the scenes

The dubious antics of Tiger Woods and Shane Warne have long had me wondering if sportsmen have a different definition of the word 'commitment' from the rest of us. And now, just as my doubts were beginning to be put at bay, Chris Gayle comes out with this:
"I wish to advise that as of today, May 2nd, 2012, I have written to Somerset CC and advised them that I will not be honouring the commitment I made to them when I signed a contract with them for the 2012."

Lots of advising Chris, and thank you for that, but the 'not be honouring the commitment' part of the statement has me confounded. Doesn't a 'commitment', by its inherent nature, have to be honoured?  Andrew Strauss thinks so; as his rejection of a  6 million dollar IPL offer in favour of a county stint for Middlesex proves.

Nevertheless, Darren Sammy's reaction to the contract breach was nothing short of ambiguous, and we  like our precision. We caught up with him and demanded a justification of his lack of enthusiasm towards the forthcoming return of the prodigal IPL prodigy.
 "Of course I'll justify it" said the amiable Sammy. "I regularly justify matters far more fundamental than that".
(Note to the reader : He means his place in the side)
"Winning games (single-handed, on talent alone) is something Gayle has become used to since leaving the West Indies team a year ago. This is the antithesis of the Hilaire-Gibson-Sammy vision for the team.
 "This team works hard a a unit, loses as a unit and introspects as a unit. We always decide to do better next time, but most importantly, we reaffirm our commitment to staying within our limitations. This is often difficult  (here Sammy's eyes began to flash) - it involves sacrificing one's dreams of bending a ball like Waqar and embracing one's role as a stock bowler. It involves staying focused on doing what one does best : bowling 120kph straight deliveries."
We were somewhat confused by the last statement, so we've set it down as is, and invite debate upon it.

However, Sammy's view isn't shared by all West Indian cricket lovers. A reporter got hold of Tony Cozier and asked the grand old historian what he thought of the new 'disciplined' approach  of Team Sammy. Here's what transpired :

Tony :  Ottis Gibson and Ernest Hillaire are trying to change the way cricket is played in the Carribean. The uninhibited Carribean style which has, for years churned out great talents, the likes of Malcolm Marhsall, Michael Holding, Sir Vivian Richards, Brian Lara ..... "

Reporter : So you don't think any of the current West Indians have the potential to emulate the feats of these former greats ? How about Narine? " ..

T:  Dinanath Ramnarine's contribution to Carribean cricket has been questionable. But cricket, played in the good old days when West Indies dominated world cricket had names like Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes .. "

R: "What about Darren Bravo? General opinion in the Carribean is that he is a fitting replacement for the Prince himself .. "

T: Opinion in the Carribean is as fickle as  the standard of domestic cricket is low. Most of these fans  have not even seen the truly great West Indians play. Players  of the calibre of Desmond Haynes, Alvin Kalichharan, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir George Headley...

(The rest of Tony's interview consisted of a monologue of proper nouns. It lasted five minutes and most of it can be retrieved by querying statsguru for dead West Indian players of the 60s and 70s)

To round off our set of interviews, we chose Coach Controversial and asked him his goals for the England Test seires. His was of the opinion  that  slow is the right way to go as long as the West Indies are improving.  "We aim to lose the  test series  2-0, assuming one match gets rained off" said Gibson, . "However, we intend to take heart from the manner in which we lose. This will be the difference between us and teams from the last fifteen years."
"Our goal is to last four days in the matches we lose. Bowling wise, we intend to address our problem of keeping numbers 8,9,1,0 and 11 to less than 200. Batting wise, our goal is to pass 300 at least once. If we can achieve this, we will have progressed well since the Australia series. I'm confident the boys will step up and give the fans something to cheer about. "

That's a lot of goals, coach. A real taskmaster is our Ottis. At this rate, the West Indies will be storming into the top six by the end of this decade.

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