Many happy returns for West Indies 2016

Many happy returns for West Indies 2016

Pranta Deb Emon
Published Date: 27 Dec 2015 | Update : 27 Dec 2015
West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) president, Wycliffe “Dave” Cameron, closed 2015 with two positive, momentous announcements for which not only WICB, but everyone else in WI cricket, should be pleased, given the caustic atmosphere of our existence for this year.   Alas, there is no hiding it. It has been one hell of a tough year for WI cricket, especially off-field, but there were some pretty good parts too, regionally on-field, with Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana dominating regional 50-overs and four-day tournaments respectively.   Both teams have controlled regional cricket for 2014/15, even if, strangely, that does not seem to translate into incumbents on the present WI teams. Indeed, Guyana is currently dominating the Caribbean’s four-day tournament, looking to repeat its success of last season.   WI started the year by losing a three-Test series to South Africa 2-0 and the ODI series 4-1, but in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, WI did not fare that badly, eliminated at quarter-final stage.   Phil Simmons then guided the team to a 1-1 Test series draw with England at home, before losing the subsequent Test series, also at home to Australia 2-0, and later, losing to Sri Lanka away, by the same tally.   WI are currently battling in Australia, hoping to start the new year right. Potentially, it could be a good year for fans and well wisher, hopefully with upward mobility, on-field and off since 2015 has been such a difficult year!   Having been involved in Caribbean cricket since 1970 when I first represented Guyana at Under 19 Youth level, no year from then to now could have been more fractious, seriously tiring, debilitating, suspicious and just downright confusing.   It was as if the great entity that has been our international cricket since 1928 was trying to eat itself, piece by political piece, out of existence, even, eventually, allowing interference and judgements from several outside elements, including, unprecedentedly, Caribbean governments.   Fortunately, but with caveats, that did not happen, so 2016 must be a much better, brighter year. Highlighting the most positive contribution to WI in 2015 was that ever producing, absolutely tremendous lady cricketer, Stafanie Roxann Taylor, current captain of WI’s women’s team. She has again featured in ICC’s list of kudos for 2015. The lady is really an absolute star!   But her efforts confirm that either because of, or despite what is happening around, excellence can still be produced if you are prepared to do long yards and commit to positive production.   It should also always be remembered that WI teams in 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s played under somewhat similar environments and circumstances, with fracas after stupid fracas, upheavals and situations, with players and representatives at continuous slowpokes with WICB.   Yet, for over 25 of those years, WI cricket was at the very apex of its purpose, passion, cohesion and especially production on the field of play. All that any player still has to do as 2016 begins is to always try his or her very best. Great determination usually brings breakthroughs!   But for the Jamaican lady, in her 25th year of life, Taylor’s continuous production has been phenomenal, astounding even, a true Caribbean sporting ambassador absolutely worthy of that nomination. One hopes that she continues to produce for at least the next decade.   A batting average of 45.62 from 88 ODI’s, producing 3376 runs with five centuries, also taking 108 wickets costing 18.74 runs each in those games, with five five-wicket hauls, augmented by an average of 36.03 from 65 T-20-I’s with 1874 runs, and 56 wickets costing 16.37 runs each, all obviously high-lighting the lady as the ultimate all-rounder.   Taylor has been ICC’s Cricketer of the Year 2011, ICC’s ODI Cricketer of the Year 2012, now recently vaunted again by that erstwhile body as T-20 Cricketer of the Year 2015. Simply, she has been stunning, almost a one-woman crusade to keep all of WI’s cricket in the upper stratosphere on-field despite all that has been taking place off the field. Like another superlative WI cricketer from Jamaica; George Alphonso Headley; Taylor is already the “West Indies cricketer of the twenty-teens decade” and is the present “Atlas” of all WI cricket, male or female.   Secondly, the situation with WI hastily ending of that tour of India in late 2014, which caused so much consternation around the Caribbean, reverberating around international circles, has been somewhat resolved and apparently restored, so all have heaved a massive sigh of relief.   Confirmation that India will tour West Indies in 2016 comes with great anticipation for cricket lovers everywhere, and should be the biggest fillip for WICB’s financial situation for the next decade even, especially if reverse fixtures can also be organized without additional agro.   West Indies cricket in 2016 must take on different hues and values, with hopeful positive catalysts coming mostly from on-field players themselves. However, administration, leadership, management, participation and suitable knowledge must contribute fully for that hoped-for evolution into newness and eventual continuous successes. Happy New Year 2016! Enjoy!   source: T & T Guardian

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