Song lyrics – to the tune of “Rare Old Times”:
Raised on runs and wickets,
Heroes of renown,
The passing tales and glories,
That once was Kingston Town,
The hallowed balls and wickets,
The haunting children's' rhymes,
I remember West Indies cricket,
In the rare old times.
I was raised on the great West Indies team of the 80's. At that time it was almost impossible to imagine anybody beating them. Haynes and Greenwich to open; Richie Richardson; Sir Vivian Richards – not to mention the bowlers – Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner – the list is almost endless.
It was – and remains – almost impossible to imagine anyone beating them.
How sad to see how the mighty have fallen. England have completed a white wash, winning the test series 3-0. What is worse is the manner of the winning and, more importantly, the losing.
Facts are a good to average England team have trounced as poor a test side as can be imagined. Some of the West Indies greats must be sick at what they have witnessed. What has gone wrong?
First, the organisation and politics involved in selection have crippled the team even before a ball was bowled. It is hard not to feel sorry for Darren Ganga who came expecting to play second fiddle to the experienced and respected Sarwan, only to be thrust into the limelight with no support from the management or the rest of the team. Watching him struggle with the bat and the leadership was painful. What's worse, he seemed to get no help from his team-mates. There is an agenda there, but who knows what it was?
Except for Chanderpaul, the batsmen were just boys waiting to be slaughtered by the English pace attack. Some of them are not good enough to play in a county side, much less an international one.
The bowling was worse. Nothing appeared to be planned and no bowler attempted to do anything to trouble the English batsmen. Is there really no West Indian spinner? What, no-one? Is Ramdin really the best wicket-keeper in the Caribbean? Seems a nice lad – but cannot bat and is only adequate with the gloves. Are there no pacemen left in the West Indies? Except for Fidel Edwards the rest are all medium pace journeymen. Is this really all the West Indies can produce? Why?
There seems to be no talent coming through. What talent there is heads for American sports as fast as they can run, catch or throw. That's where the money is and who can blame them. All the Curtley Ambroses are playing basketball and the Courtney Walshes are on the baseball diamond. Any big, strong lads from the islands are at U.S. universities on football scholarships.
Can nothing be done? Probably not. The next generation of WI cricketers are already lost. We may see the day soon when they will struggle to beat anyone. In 25 years they may be playing in the ICC tournament for non-test playing nations.
What a tragedy.