Follow The Trace | The Players’ Mentality Is The Problem

first_imgI have long opined that one of, if not the most fundamental cause, for the continued implosion of West Indies cricket has been the ‘mind set’ of the current crop of players. More so than any systemic or procedural shortcomings of the West Indies cricket board. Blaming the board is simplistic, cliched and indeed lacks real credibility on the basis that when West Indies were the undisputed kingpins of world cricket, the structure and operations of the WICB were hardly any different and certainly not superior to what they are now. That period of dominant success was not based on any novel ideas or strategic planning on the part of the then administrators, the difference between then and now is obviously the talent level but more importantly, the attitude, the commitment, the collective and personal professionalism of that era of winners and champions, and what are now being foisted onto the people of the region as modern stars. I concede that back then key players in that West Indies unit played county cricket in England, which no doubt helped to make them more complete and professional players, but instructively those greats were sought after by the county clubs because of the of the inherent qualities they possessed compared to the mediocre quality of the players of today. Compounding and perhaps expediting this wider decline especially in Test cricket is, of course, the rapid emergence of the Twenty20 game, which has brought about a paradigm shift in the focus of the players away from Test cricket and towards the easier and more lucrative shortest format. For one reason or another, the modern players have overtime left West Indies cricket ‘out to dry’ and there is precious little the board could have done and can do about it. The recent saga involving Darren Bravo is a clear index of this let-down. After six years of Test cricket, Bravo has played 49 test matches, scored a mere eight Test centuries with an averages of 40.00. Bravo plays in a team that is ranked eight out of 10 Test playing nations – only above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Yet in his mind, he is a big enough star to have earned the RIGHT to an ‘A’ contract and the Board president, who dared not to grant him that ‘A’ contract; Bravo feels he has earned the status to publicly refer to that Board president as a ‘BIG IDIOT”. Darren Bravo is the typical modern West Indies player, bereft of standards and shame, and with an exaggerated sense of their relevance and importance in the wider scheme of things. Instead of having the professionalism and the personal pride to drive himself to put in the necessary work to make himself a better and more complete player in pursuance of true greatness as batsman. With eight test centuries and averaging 40, Darren Bravo thinks he is the King of West Indies cricket and has behaved accordingly. This again typifies the thinking of the modern player, and that’s why when this lot get hammered, humiliated and humbled in a Test series, it matters very little to them. When they are part of the worst ever West Indies team that continues to scrape the bottom of the barrel in world cricket, they never lose a single night’s sleep. They are happy being the ‘big fish” in the small pond. This highlights the sharp and decisive contrast between this current crop of players and the likes of Clive Lloyd, Vivian Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and that entire era of great warriors, who were never ever satisfied with being that proverbial “big fish’ in that small pond. Those greats wanted to own the ENTIRE OCEAN, and they did. While the shameless brats and mercenaries of today typified by the actions of Darren Bravo, continue to wallow in their own mediocrity, and ultimately drowning themselves and West Indies cricket in the shallow waters of the “small pond”. RECENT SAGAlast_img read more

Simeon Freeman Returns, Resumes Tough Talk

first_imgMPC standard bearer, Simeon Freeman, believes the government of Liberia needs to be relieved of deadweight caused by certain ministries and agenciesThe political leader of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) Simeon Freeman says the Government of Liberia sees her critics as enemies and has therefore vowed to remain robust on ills in the society.According to him, Liberia has assumed a new dimension; and he is tough on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf government because Liberians are still living in abject poverty.“Those of us who caution the government are those in the interest of the people of Liberia. We are there to remind the government of its obligations. And so, we are classified as enemies,” he said, though he did not name others that have been declared enemies by the government because of their critical stances against President Sirleaf.He made the statement yesterday upon his arrival at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) following months away from the country.He stated that the current government is not working in the interest of the Liberian people; therefore our leaders allow corruption and poverty to eat up the citizens while a certain segment of the population enjoys the wealth of the nation. “When the government agency, the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) went down, the President took responsibility and this means that she is shielding criminals. And those of us who see these things and bring them to the attention of the state are seen as the greatest enemies that are undermining the development of the country,” he said.Mr. Freeman called on old politicians to give way to the new breed of politicians to take over and transform the country.“Come 2017, you people will be able to look at the politics in the country and let these old politicians get out of the process in order for Liberia to assume a new dimension,” Freeman said.He called on Liberians to make a decision in 2017 that will benefit the country, saying the time has come for Liberians to give power to those who have the country at heart, including himself.Freeman has been out of Liberia for more than nine months since he evaded arrest by the Liberia National Police (LNP) to answer questions for his allegations that the Liberian government had a ‘hit-list’ of vocal Liberians it wanted to eliminate. His failure to provide substantive proof for his allegations turned many people against him, considering him as someone who wanted attention and using the government to get recognition abroad.The LNP ordered 15 armed Police Support Unit (PSU) and Emergency Response Unit (ERU) officers to Mr. Freeman’s residence, after he was invited but failed to come to the LNP headquarters to provide clarity and help the police sort out the confusion.But Freeman claimed he made the statement based on widespread speculation in the media, following the mysterious death of Harry Greaves, who spent the last months of his life enlightening the public about the many ways people in power were exploiting and further corrupting the system to the chagrin of the masses. Mr. Greaves was found dead on the beach behind the Foreign Ministry in February 2016. International pathologists and forensics experts ruled his death as drowning, a conclusion many in the general public flatly rejected.Freeman, who himself could not provide any proof on Greaves’ death or his hit-list allegation, realized the unnecessary tension he had caused and went into hiding. He managed to evade capture and snuck out of the country. Weeks later, seeing that it was pointless chasing a man who no one knew how he left the country, the Liberian government abandoned its pursuit and eventually threw out any charges that would have been pressed against him. Freeman’s absence from the country has not helped his cause as a champion of those he claimed he has advocating for. Many called him a coward for not standing by his utterances like others who were invited by police for questioning around the same time. Whether his return to the scene singing the same song of “people living in abject poverty” will draw the masses to his side remains to be seen. For many of those living in “abject poverty,” the man who ran away from his own words is just history, but he now has a chance to prove them otherwise.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

No monkeying around now

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Wednesday in Chicago, an umpire’s right fist in the air signaled a gross lapse of competence by MLB’s Finest and set up the ninth-inning White Sox victory over the Angels that tied the American League pennant series at a game apiece. Tonight at Angel Stadium, at a Game 3 likely to be played amid an atmosphere of most un-O.C.-like edginess, fans’ right fists can signal determination in a way that no amount of angry screaming can. In the four decades before their 2002 World Series victory, the Angels and their public had many occasions to feel like losers, like chokers, like tragic figures. They never felt like the victims of a sporting injustice, though, the way they do now. First nature turned against them, raining out an opening-round game at Yankee Stadium and forcing the Angels to play in New York, Anaheim and Chicago in the span of three nights. Then a home-plate umpire named Doug Eddings ruled against them. They were good enough to overcome nature. They weren’t good enough to trump the ump. ANAHEIM – Raise your right fist tonight. Assuming you’re an angry Angels fan, if that phrase isn’t redundant right now. Tuck your fingers into your palm, cock your elbow, pump your fist. Make it the gesture of the 2005 Angels fan, an emblem to replace the monkey and the ThunderStix. center_img The White Sox’s A.J. Pierzynski swung and missed at a low pitch from Kelvim Escobar to end the bottom of the ninth with the score tied, and Eddings raised his fist in an “out” sort of way, and Angels catcher Josh Paul rolled the ball to the mound and jogged to the dugout. Then Pierzynski bolted toward first base and Eddings froze and wondered what the batter knew that the umpire didn’t know. Eddings reversed himself, figuring the pitch from Escobar might have been in the dirt, giving Pierzynski the base and Chicago the runner who came home on Joe Crede’s double. Eddings would say later that the fist in the air didn’t mean “out,” it was just “my strike-three mechanic.” Tonight, show him the Angels fans’ new You Screwed Up mechanic. The Angels themselves can’t play angry, and with manager Mike Scioscia establishing the usual even tone, they probably won’t. That doesn’t mean the home crowd can’t root angry, knowing their club was robbed of a chance to atone in extra innings for their weak hitting and erratic fielding. The question is what to say, what to do. No need to yell crude things about the umpires, to drag their families into this or to impugn the dignity of innocent farm animals. Absolutely no call to throw things. This isn’t a political revolution (the revolution will not have instant replay), so there’s no bloody shirt to be waved. Not even a Curt Schilling bloody sock. Just a little baseball championship at stake here. A simple quiet wave of the fist will do. The Angels flew home right after Wednesday’s game. They canceled an off-day workout, preferring to get some overdue rest and maybe to hide from whatever dark forces are next in line. The White Sox took batting practice at Angel Stadium. They know they stole one, and they only jokingly feigned uncertainty about whether the third strike to Pierzynski had hopped into Paul’s mitt. “We were flying last night, so I didn’t see any replays,” Crede said to laughter from the writers around his locker. “And I slept all day today. I guess I think he made the right call. We’ll take it any way we can get it.” Nice try by the umpires afterward to say the ball must have hit the dirt because “there was a change of direction there.” Thanks to the Warren Commission for that analysis. Nice diplomacy by the TV guys laying part of the blame on Paul for not tagging Pierzynski even though the catcher thought he caught the ball, knew he caught the ball, did catch the ball, saw Pierzynski take a first step toward the dugout and would have seen – if his back hadn’t been turned by then – Eddings put up his fist for an out. Why should Paul have thought there was any doubt about the pitch? You can blame the Angels for not hitting Mark Buehrle, for throwing the ball all over the South Side, for not getting Crede out. You can’t blame anybody else for the third-strike screw-up until you blame the umpire. Make this a rallying point tonight. With a five-knuckled salute, five times better than one finger. Raise that right fist, as if it’s holding a hammer of baseball justice, at the pregame introductions, after Angels hits, after White Sox strikeouts. Especially White Sox strikeouts. Kevin Modesti’s column appears in the Daily News three days a week. He can be reached at heymodesti@aol.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more