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

Irfaan all the way for President

first_imgDear Editor,I first met Mohamed Irfaan Ali in 2009. He was a member of a cricket team I managed for a match in Wakenaam Island and despite being the Housing Minister at the time, Irfaan willingly subjected himself to my “tough” style of management without complaint. I was impressed by how this young man (he was 28 at the time) handled the pressure of expectation from the large crowd, his ease of interaction with everyone and his willingness to be a minor team player.Irfaan made 4 runs, not the fastest runner, but he nevertheless put serious effort in when called on in the field and even bowled a few overs. The crowd loved it and he received a standing ovation on his return to the pavilion. It made for a wonderful day and many people still remind me of that match from time to time.During the tussle with the Government of Guyana and the Guyana Cricket Board, Irfaan and I were on opposite sides of the fence. Irfaan did not change his attitude towards me, instead of becoming hostile as was expected of a powerful Government Minister; he expressed admiration for my willingness to stand for what I believed to be right. It was at that point I stopped believing the stories being peddled about the PPP/C and started my quest for the truth.Robin Singh won v the Attorney General and remains a landmark CCJ decision. I became vocal in matters of Government, I spent more time learning how government works, asking endless questions of my friends in the legal fraternity. I began writing my opinions on issues and suggesting solutions via the letter columns in local newspapers. People began taking notice and I was asked to join or meet with various political parties over the years. I always found ways to politely decline.I watched the PPP/C suffer from a well-orchestrated public vilification rife with what we now call “fake news”, allegations of massive corruption totalling five times the annual budget, allegations so ludicrous that I soon realised that Hitler’s theory that “People will believe a big lie sooner than a little one, and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”Irfaan Ali was delivering on promises; he was innovating, taking the “One Stop Shop” for housing to the people; house lots were being distributed at a record rate; wells were being built, construction was booming; special projects were being implemented with the Young Professional and Re-migrant Schemes.During this period we would run into each other at various events and he would take my inquiries about his “mansion” in good grace and return the ribbing with good nature. I still marvel that all of this was done by such a young man; few could handle the pressures of the demand for housing and house lots, the Auditor General’s reports show housing stock increased by 28,456 during his tenure, they do not show that the projects he started are still the only ones being developed.My sense of fair play led me to defend the record of the PPP/C and ask others to examine the facts rather than believe the big lies. I was never asked to do so by anyone in that party, I simply wanted the truth to be known. After the Government changed in 2015, I again ran into Irfaan and he expressed a simple “thank you” for my support and belief in his integrity. That action spoke volumes on his character, and my respect grew as a result.Over the coming weeks and months, we will all be subject to information and fake news about Irfaan Ali, I already know all that I need to about this man from the people, for the people and will be making every effort to make him our next President for the betterment of all Guyanese.Respectfully,Robin Singhlast_img read more