Sir Carl

By Pryor Jonas
Stabroek News
March 17, 2001

Like a jig
shakes the loom
like a web
is spun the pattern
all are involved
all are consumed!

This, as you must know, is the second stanza of our poet laureate's immortal ALL ARE INVOLVED. We used to debate it at length - punctuation and all - in our youth. Martin Carter was just a couple of years older than I was, but even then I loved to listen. Of course, he was much more versed than I was in things which he said mattered - like history and literature and, of course, politics. There was a group of us, including Harry Drayton (now a professor), who would argue about any and everything. But they couldn't shift me from my "religiosity". I remain convinced, however, that my existentialism does not end in their meaninglessness, but in faith, fulfillment and love.

This should have been my third and final piece on the conquering Don. Today I was to show how Don Bradman himself, Australians' legend and icon though he undoubtedly was, still had his enemies - yes even at home, in his native New South Wales -- men who were celebrities in their own right, like Fingleton and Miller. But the Don triumphed over every adversary. They did seem to be an incompatibility of temperament between himself and his antagonists, which must have been damaging not only to the three gentlemen concerned, but to Australian cricket as a whole. Then there was Michael Holding, the great West Indies fast bowler of the '70s and 80s'. I quoted midweek from his WHISPERING DEATH, and will show you, after my final farewell to the Don, how Mr Holding was trying to use our new West Indies skipper as a scapegoat. TV commentator and well-known sportswriter that he is, Holding had to come to terms with his conscience and his book. He was finding it impossibly difficult. "Money is not everything," he truly remarked. Surely Mr Holding could spurn US$24,000 when, after a long chat with Lawrence Rowe, as he showed in his book, he did the same with US$250,000! What saddened me about this was the pressure he was putting Sir Carl under so gratuitously.

Now, Carl Llewellyn Hooper. The Bajans knighted him years ago, but they also booed him on his favourite pitch, Kensington Oval, and he couldn't take it. "Et tu, Burte?" True to the mercurial behaviour of the cricket fan in the West Indies, however, the Bajans have taken Hooper back in their bosom. Five thousand fans visited the Oval recently because of Sir Carl. My concern is not for Hooper now, because he's a seasoned veteran. My concern is for the team he and his selectors are picking. Chanderpaul should never have been dropped. Wavell Hinds is a natural #3. The Jamaicans Garrick and Gayle, potential world-beaters that they are, should open the innings. They should be told, in addition, that they would be playing throughout this series. Of this one thing I'm certain: Marlon Samuels is no one-down batsman.

Finally, Sir Carl should press his fellow selectors to have Singulara as his deputy.