All that is so ‘cool’ about West Indies cricket is really uncool
Sammy took a tumble while batting as the West Indies chased 393. (Source: Reuters)
It’s us, the almost-forty and above generation that is to be blamed for this miserable mediocrity of West Indies cricket. It’s us — and the ‘us’ refers to people outside the Caribbean — who raved them being our second-favourite team that’s to be blamed, surely? (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)
We’re the nostalgia-worshippers, the ones who fell in love with the game because of the mindblowing way the West Indians played their game. And what did we do out of that misplaced gratitude? Turned a bunch of mediocre players into poster boys of cool. We sat there saying the wheel will turn again and allowed this mindless, mind-numbing mediocrity to pass off as something ‘hip’ and ‘Caribbean’.
All this shouldn’t be surprising for the younger lot or the ones among us with some sense, but there you go. I have been to the Caribbean in 2011. No one was playing cricket in the beaches and it felt as I was denied a bit of my own past. Delusion and romantic nostalgia can hamper rationality.
Leaking 393 runs wasn’t the crime. A team having a bad day coupled with some once-in-a-lifetime innings from someone can do that, but it was their sleepwalking in the field that got the goat. Who was the captain? Who was in charge? Darren Sammy buried his head in his palms at least twice; often he would shout to Jason Holder to change a field placing, something obvious, but it wasn’t so obvious after all. From behind the stumps, Denesh Ramdin tried to place the field a couple of times before he gave up. Chris Gayle too tried once or twice before he decided to focus his mind elsewhere. By the end, they were a ragged and rudderless unit.
And the fielding? How atrocious was that. They used to be so great once even in this department. Back-slapping, clapping, laughing, side-arm flicking, gum-chewing, swaggering, harassing the hell out of the batsmen and then we got this messy jumble of mediocrity. There I go again, back into nostalgia.
Luckily, at least Gayle showed some spine in batting, biffing and bashing for a few minutes that would hopefully not be used to say, if only we had 300 to chase, we could have done it. Not a chance in hell.
And what can you say about Gayle. Nothing against him for the stand-off against the inept West Indies board for his rights, as he did a couple of years ago, but he has played a part in triggering this culture of ‘coolness’ which lesser players than him have latched on to.
Thank god for You Tube and the sunny memories that it streams out. However, to resort to that video site every time one wants some pleasant images from the second-favourite team does say something surely.
Fidel Castro once asked the veteran Caribbean broadcaster Reds Pereira why they were so obsessed with cricket? And Rex quietly said, ‘what baseball is to Cuba, cricket is to West Indies’. “He got it,” Reds said.
We are the ones who have turned this brand of cricket into a capitalist freak show. Well Kerry Packer did it first, but back then cricket had the calypso magic; in our desperation to hold on to our own past, we, the forty-somethings have tried to blow life into embers. How idiotic of us. It’s not them; it’s us. It’s a good break-up line and perhaps most apt as well in this context.
Source:: Indian Express