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I watch and I wonder…

I looked on at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) match between the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) and the Barbados Tridents and I wondered…

This took place on the attractive, lush outfield with its centre comprising a hard, shiny pitch which bowlers struggled to conquer at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain.

It was a Friday night and the partisan supporters of the TKR were in their glory. It was September 7, the day the Trade Union movement called on the workers of Trinidad & Tobago to stay away from their jobs to ‘rest and reflect’ in order to send a message to the government that they were not happy with their governance.

What I saw was a packed venue, a crowd full of merrymaking and joy, rooting for their team, urging them on. Observing the happiness and pure bliss on the faces of the majority of spectators one would have thought that we didn’t have a trouble in the world!

And I thought why not, what a great way to release tension by immersing oneself in a cricket match designed for thrills and sharing that delight with all present! I imagined all the loyalists at home, in bars etc, backing their team, enjoying themselves!

I had a good look at some of the players and couldn’t help but wonder at how an administration can allow these gifted players to escape them through pettiness, selfishness and plain stupidity! 

And I wondered at all the young cricketers with talent to burn who are all going to be lost because of the poor policies and dictatorial attitudes of cricket administration in the West Indies. I watched them and I wondered.

I observed Nicholas Pooran, a left-handed batsman of Trinidad and Tobago, striking the ball with flawless timing over the offside field, pulling off the back foot over long-on and mid-wicket for sixes and fours; lovely well-timed strokes and a delight to any spectator as they were so perfectly executed.

Pooran scored a double hundred in an under-19 World Cup game for the West Indies at Sharjah, United Arab Emirates some four years ago which had critics from all over the world applauding at this fantastic talented youth with all the flair of an experienced batsman.

I watched him now and I wondered why there was no one there to advise him of his silly decision to play in a t20 league in Pakistan and break a contract he signed with the Leeward Islands to participate in the regional series of the West Indies Cricket Board (now known as Cricket West Indies, CWI).  His recovery over a year now after suffering terrible injuries in a car accident revealed the courage and strength of character needed to be a professional sportsman.

Trinidadian Khary Pierre was another of whom I had a close look. His countenance was serious plus he seemed to be aware of his objective, never flinching but all the time concentrating.

He was unperturbed by the crowd as could be discerned from his mannerisms, at all times a serious demeanour and full concentration.  Pierre should be a regular on the national team and in the near future I could see him pushing for selection on a West Indies team.

The most promising, capable and talented batsman of all, another left-handed batsman, Shimron Hetmyer of Guyana is going to be snapped up soon enough by a foreign franchise, then again CWI’s idiotic rule is going to block him from playing for the WI.

I don’t have the space to mention all the fine unrecognised cricketers I’ve seen in the CPL so all I could do is observe and wonder. I wondered what would become of the young and talented cricketers like those I mentioned and others like Oshane Thomas, the young Jamaican fast bowler, and Obed McCoy from St Vincent who bowls left arm fast.

These are cricketers with loads of promise but when foreign franchises grab them, making them unavailable for domestic tournaments, the ridiculous rule of CWI that disqualifies West Indians from playing international cricket because the cricketer did not participate in the regional series, will continue to haunt us no matter just how top class our players are.

They will all end up like Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, the Bravo brothers Dwayne and Darren, Andre Russell, Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and all those other class West Indians that the present administration, which changed our name from West Indies to Windies, brought to bear on all West Indian people.

Adil Rashid is an English cricketer who, at the beginning of this year, retired from the longer version of the game and decided to play only limited overs cricket. Regardless, the English selectors needed him and selected him for the Test matches. There was no silly rule for him to play in the first-class, four-day county cricket to qualify!

It’s only in the West Indies this happens because cricket does not come first and the administration believes that the cricketers are less important than those that administer the game. More’s the pity!

By Bryan Davis

former West Indies Test cricketer