Excuses, Excuses, Excuses! All stupid and a waste of time!
By Colin E. Croft, former West Indies fast bowler
April 15, 2007
I do not normally comment on things that other people say. Everyone is allowed their opinions. These are neither right nor wrong. It is only a person’s view.
However, when one distorts the facts, and gives the very wrong impressions and ideas, then I have no problem in correcting them at all. ?… S…’ is now the West Indian cricket way of life!
Those to be corrected are Messrs Clive Lloyd and Ken Gordon, the present manager, and president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the chairman of the ICC CWC 2007.
These are two people who seem so very listless, ill-informed, and completely lost in West Indies cricket. Neither seems to know what is going on around them. West Indies cricket is probably in the worst state it has ever been, led as it is, but no-one recognises it!
Before people open their mouths, they must first do the proper and right thing; do the actual homework and research on the subject before their utterances. Simply put, they must have facts.
There are no excuses to having the facts incorrectly but these folks seem only to open their mouths to make noise, without making sense at all. It is no wonder that our on-field cricket is so poor. The blind, some speaking very, very loudly, are leading the blind! Fortunately, not all of us are so gullible, or, for that matter, so blind!
In a featured speech in Barbados recently, Lloyd said that in relation to the West Indies players being allowed to go ‘home’, for a break immediately after their dismal showing against Sri Lanka last week, in Guyana: “We have a lot of youngsters in the team with a lot of pressure on them. Most of them have never been in a World Cup before.”
These statements are both true and untrue, but both make no sense at all. What makes this West Indies cricket team any different from any cricket or any other sports team anywhere? There is no player of cricket or any other sport in the world that does not have any pressure on him or her.
What does Clive Lloyd think that the present West Indies cricket team is: a set of babies from some crèche? Even babies have pressure, both in and around them, and very simply, to at least learn to do things, if you get me here!
History shows that past cricket World Cups had many players with no relevant experience. They still managed to win and win well, even winning championships. Conversely, with as much, if not more experience, the 2007 West Indies cricket team has been nothing but a blur of nothingness, hiding behind the newest B-S of their leaders.
Here are some facts. When the West Indies won the 1975 CWC, absolutely no player anywhere had played in a World Cup at all, so I do not see the reasoning, except that all of the players for each game were on quite equal terms. The West Indies still won then.
In 1979, the West Indies World Cup squad of 14 had seven players with the experience of the 1975 World Cup behind them - Clive Lloyd, Deryck Murray, Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Collis King, Alvin Kallicharran and Andy Roberts.
The rest, including the playing additional four - Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Desmond Haynes - and the three reserves who did not play - Larry Gomes, Faoud Bacchus and Malcolm Marshall - had never played in a World Cup before 1979 either. We still managed, under pressure too, to win again, without even breaking a sweat!
The present 2007 West Indies cricket team has, note this, six players who have played in a World Cup in the past – Brian Lara (1996, 1999 & 2003), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (1996, 1999 & 2003) and from the 2003 CWC Corey Collymore, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Ramnaresh Sarwan. Given Lara’s and Chanderpaul’s experiences of three World Cups before 2007, I would suggest, and argue, that the present West Indies cricket team is much more experienced than the West Indies cricket team that won in 1979!
Without counting the games played of those named above, the remaining squad members of the present 2007 West Indies cricket team - Ian Bradshaw (62 ODI), Keiron Pollard (one ODI), Daren Powell (22 ODI), Denesh Ramdin (29 ODI), Lendl Simmons (7 ODI) Dwayne Smith (65 ODI), Devon Smith (11 ODI) and Jerome Taylor (33 ODI); have, collectively, many more games (total 230 ODI) and much more experience too, than the entire 1975 and 1979 West Indies World Cup winning teams, at the time when we actually won the 1975 and 1979 competitions.
So much for Lloyd’s cracked theory of “no experience”. It is simply crap! These people should only talk when they have facts!
Ken Gordon is off on another tangent. He is now, like the late Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, attacking the messenger; the Press. As far as Ken Gordon seems to suggest; to hell with the message! He must, I hope, go down with his now sunk ship.
I am sure that readers of my vintage would remember that Nixon suggested, after his party and his immediate advisers had broken into the Democratic Party Headquarters in Washington DC, in order to get stuff to help Nixon win the US presidency in 1972, that he said “I am not a crook!”, even as he was resigning the presidency in disgrace. He lambasted the press for “revealing” information that had brought his presidency down.
All of the information that Ronald Reagan had from the international and USA national press, and imminent medical people too, about the Immune Deficiency Syndrome, then known as the ‘Gay Disease’, now known as AIDS, was lost on him, so arrogant was he.
He was sure that the press did not know what they were talking about, and that they were being ‘huge scare-mongers”. Reagan simply disregarded everyone and ploughed on!
If you ever get to see a film called ‘And The Band Played On’, please do so. You will see why AIDS is so widespread and prevalent in the USA, courtesy, in some great way, to Ronald Reagan and both his absolute ignorance, and stupidity, collated with his total misunderstanding and appreciation of the problems at hand! This seems familiar, I think!
Like the Watergate Tapes that got Richard Nixon into so much trouble, I still have the recordings of Ken Gordon telling the gathered press conference that, on the appointment of Brian Lara, as captain of the West Indies for that unprecedented third time, and Clive Lloyd as manager, again, both having failed in previous outings in the same positions, that we, the Caribbean, will now see “effective, incisive, positive and functional leaderships of the West Indies cricket team, such leadership that will do no less than to make the West Indies cricket team the winners of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.”
As we now wait for Brian Lara to play his last two one-day games, so he says, in a glittering career of personal achievements, but massive collective failure, the West Indies long being left behind in the CWC 2007 stakes, I wonder where that touted leadership has gone to? It has never been evident in the first place, except in a few minds.
In the meantime, another apology, like those in 2004, when the West Indies had been bowled out for 53 one Sunday morning in Jamaica, by England, or maybe, when the West Indies lost every game in Australia, on the last tour there, has come from the team’s present captain, Brian Lara. I do not know about you, but I am very tired of all this apologising for failures. Simply put, do something about it. It is all so much B… S…!
I wonder if Ken Gordon really believes that the media outlets, from Georgetown to Kingston, in the Caribbean, and further afield in Australia, India, South Africa, England, USA, even as far and as almost exclusive as Bahrain, along with the spectators and supporters, not only from the Caribbean, but even other teams’ players and supporters, are all wrong, and that they are only accusing the West Indies cricket team as being poor? Can it be that Ken Gordon is like the ‘Emperor who had no clothes on’? Is he the only one still singing the praises of this woeful production of the West Indies cricket team?
West Indies cricket, or the workings of this, despite the wonderful new stadiums, has been laid bare in the eyes of the world during the ICC CWC 2007. The West Indies cricket team has been made to look like real cricketing idiots in the presence of their less talented, but absolutely more ambitious, committed and focused contemporaries.
In the meantime, all the erstwhile President of the West Indies Cricket Board could suggest is that “the Caribbean press is at fault for the team’s continued less-than-impressive showing.” If that is not ‘killing the messenger’ and not, obviously, realising the message, then something is more wrong than, even now, is obvious. Maybe it is!
After all, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Mahatma Gandhi died doing exactly that; being messengers and giving messages that never were understood, to this very day! I do not even deserve to be mentioned in their wake, but I expect to be crucified after this too.
A few days ago, in Grenada, while doing commentary for the BBC Test Match Special team, I had a conversation with two also former West Indies fast bowlers, both of whom were working for the television productions. The conversation, obviously, was that of the West Indies efforts in the CWC 2007.
Unbelievably, one of them suggested that no-one in the West Indies team party seems to think that anything was wrong: ?rofty, I can tell you, since I have spoken to many of them, that no-one in that team seemed to think that they played badly in the game they played at the Guyana National Stadium against Sri Lanka.
“As the Guyanese would say; “When you cannot recognise yourself, you are ‘far gone!’”
You will have heard that the buck is being passed by everyone – ICC, CWC, WICB - as to why the CWC 2007 has been so sporadically, even sparsely, attended, even as we go to the end of the Super 8.
I wonder who will take the responsibility, or continue the trend, and pass the buck, of the utterly poor showing of the West Indies cricket team?
Would it be the president of the WICB, Ken Gordon, or maybe the team’s coach, Bennett King, or maybe the manager, Clive Lloyd, or maybe the captain, Brian Lara? Maybe even the team would, openly and genuinely, agree that they had been crap cricketers in the ICC CWC 2007. Who knows, maybe another miracle would happen.
I hope that all of those now in charge of what calls itself West Indies cricket would, collectively, admit that they screwed up, royally, proving themselves to be quite incompetent, even as they tender their respective resignations. Do not hold your breath!