Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
by Tony McWatt
We are now well into 2023, but despite its CEO’s publicly provided assurances that a robust restrengthening of Caribbean cricket is about to occur this year, the evidence received to date has been that of a continuation of the same old Cricket West Indies (CWI) Comedy Show. Indeed, CWI’s comedic management of West Indies cricket now seems to be increasing exponentially with each passing day!
What other description could there now appropriately be for the reality that it was not until Tuesday, January 17 that the West Indies squad for its forthcoming tour to Zimbabwe was actually announced? The opening match of the Tour is scheduled to start on January 28 with the First Test to follow a few days later on February 4.
At the time of the squad’s belated announcement there was, however, still no word as yet from CWI as to who will be the appointed Interim Head Coach Andre Coley’s Batting and Bowling Assistants. Coley had indicated in a recent Sportsmax interview that those appointments were being finalized and would be announced very soon.
To put these matters into their proper perspective, India by contrast had already long since announced its 17-member squad for its upcoming Tour to Australia. The first Test for which starts on February 9.
Therein, therefore, lies the obvious difference between an efficient and competent Cricket Board, such as the BCCI, and the pappy comedy show that CWI has long since sadly become.
In keeping with the times and a now ever-growing trend of demonstrated indifference within Caribbean cricket circles, hardly an eyebrow was raised over the extensive squad selection delay. No one sought to question CWI’s CEO, Good News Johnny Grave, during any of his now seemingly weekly contract extension-oriented Dog & Pony Media Shows, as to why the squad selection announcement was delayed for as long as it was.
The indifference is no longer just creeping in. It has in fact now become well entrenched. As prominent a Caribbean cricket personality as Gordon Greenidge recently made it known publicly that he now no longer watches West Indies cricket.
The question that should of course immediately arise in response to Greenidge’s statement is why amidst the repeatedly demonstrated technical deficiencies of contemporary West Indies batsmen, his assistance has not been sought as a potential remedy. As a fully qualified coach and possessor during his heyday of one of the most solid techniques ever witnessed on a cricket field, Greenidge has not been utilized either by CWI, the Selections Head his former West Indies opening batting partner the now Rt.Hon. Desmond Haynes, or even more importantly and tellingly by any of the players themselves. Especially the ones who are so obviously in need of technical guidance!
The most welcome news now for everyone concerned is that there is a readily available one-stroke solution to these maladies that has been sitting there staring us all in the face this whole time. So much so that if Good News Johnny G hadn‘t been so immersed in his contract extension-seeking activities, he would have gleefully grasped it for public announcement as his own strategic initiative. That is of course, providing the realization had occurred to him before either of the supposed CWI forthcoming presidential election candidates, Simpleton Shallow or Befuddling Billy (Haven), had seized upon it themselves for use as an effective leadership indicator slogan for their respective campaigns.
The obvious solution is that the absolute best thing that CWI could now possibly do for itself and everyone else remotely connected to or involved with Caribbean cricket, would be to very simply, immediately and officially, change the C in its name from Cricket to Comedic. CWI would as a result henceforth, simply stand for Comedic West Indies.
Forget about the Wheby Report’s recommendations for fundamental governance change, or for that matter any of the others which preceded its predictable journey from publication to dust-collecting shelving. This one amazingly simple solution will immediately address all of West Indies cricket’s woes.
West Indies cricket fans wherever they may be will no longer have any reason to be at all surprised, frustrated or angered by any of CWI’s inadequacies and demonstrated incompetence. CWI’s litany of invariably occurring bloops and blunders, instead of being viewed as highly embarrassing will instead, henceforth, be fully anticipated as the characteristic activity of the clowns who are individually and collectively currently involved in the management of West Indies cricket.
No eyelids will, henceforth, be batted either when the announcement of annual tournament match schedules is delayed until mere weeks before the competition starts. Likewise, last-minute squad selections, such as that which has now happened with the Zimbabwe tour, will no longer become a source of justifiable frustrations.
Instead, fans can amuse themselves by running betting pools as to the exact date for anticipated squad announcements. Such activity might also prove to be far more satisfying than engaging in the hope and expectation that selected squads will include new untried faces as part of bold attempts by the Selectors to drastically improve the West Indies teams’ fortunes on the field of play! As has been demonstrated yet again by the Zimbabwe squad selections, the inclusion of new and untried players in West Indies touring squads is not about to happen anytime soon!
Looking forward, no one will be the least bit surprised either, when absolutely no meaningful attempts are made to actively promote spectator attendance at matches during India’s forthcoming tour to the Caribbean. This despite the very real and easily accessible existence of millions of the India team’s supporters who now reside in Canada and the USA, just a mere three-and-a-half to five-plus hours plane ride away.
Back in the day, Guyana’s Radio Stations used to host a Christmas Time end-of-year satirical review of some of the more prominent faux pas that had occurred during the past year. “No Big Thing” as the extremely popular, can’t-afford-to-miss, Show was called, and as its name indicates, was suggestive of even the biggest blunders being regarded as simply a source of bemusement.
As such it would therefore be “No Big Thing” when a CWI Vice President, who has been a major part of the acknowledged most disappointing administration ever, announces his own candidacy for the Presidency. Or when a Regional Board President, who from all indications has never played a First-Class match in his entire life, uses a former National player’s paltry average at that level to publicly castigate and dismiss the ex-cricketer’s “frenememy” issued criticisms of his administration.
It would also be No Big Thing when CWI”s CEO contemptuously indicates to regional newspapers that he intends to be around to personally implement an established Inquiry Committee’s forthcoming recommendations. Or when he boldly lists his 2023 Things To Do Action items even before his expiring contract has been renewed.
We should instead all just smile in acknowledgement that the colonially imposed white man superiority complex still very much exists among us. And that far from being done, Massa Day has now newly dawned.
In a nutshell, everyone can henceforth sit back, relax and enjoy their peanuts, while watching the latest episodes of the aptly renamed Comedic West Indies (CWI) soap opera.
As Caribbean peoples, we have always been particularly good at not taking ourselves seriously, and at being naturally inclined to readily laugh at ourselves whenever we fall prone to our inadequacies as human beings. All facetiousness aside though, perhaps the time has now indeed come for us to appreciate and accept how much of a comedic farce our cricket’s administration has become!
If the Old Boys network of Regional Directors continues to be a law onto itself, stubbornly and steadfastly refusing to embrace any of the changes that are required to take West Indies cricket forward by simply getting it back on the right track, then the only viable sanity preserving alternative for us fans might be to acknowledge and accept the clowns for exactly who they are. To simply observe and accept their farcical theatrical activities as we would any other comedy show.
On the brighter side, we can alternatively live in hope that sometime soon even the clowns themselves will get weary of their demonstrated insanity as evidenced by their repetitive use of non-productive routines. And that, hopefully, the circus will finally end.
Until that time, it will be “No Big Thing” Comedic/Cricket West Indies Style!
About The Writer: Guyana-born, Tony McWatt is the Publisher of both the WI Wickets and Wickets/monthly online cricket magazines that are respectively targeted toward Caribbean and Canadian readers. He is also the only son of the former Guyana and West Indies wicket-keeper batsman the late Clifford “Baby Boy” McWatt.