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THE WEST INDIES Cricket Board, not content with having the worst cricket team in the world, last week sent a second string worst team in the world to play Bangladesh. That’s like deciding to send Salman Rushdie on a goodwill tour of Iran but, at the last minute, replacing him with George Dubya Bush.
Not counting the ICC Twenty/20, Gayle & the Rude Bwoys did not win a single game in three months in England, losing even to the English Lions. They lost one Test by ten wickets and the other by an innings. The English media mocked them and English fans justifiably jeered them on the field; they did not even firetrucking try. It was obvious from the start that they had no pride but it took until the end for us to realise they had no shame, either. They did not even care how the rest of us felt, watching their sorry, shivering asses at Chester-le-Street. This is a team so abject that, when they had a quarrel with the WICB, they covered the logo of their sponsor, Digicel, on their uniforms on the field! It’s like beating your children because your boss reprimands you.
It’s difficult for the newcomer to the debacle to understand how a performance-related contract with such a hopeless team could become expensive – when they achieve nothing, they should receive a proportionate sum – but excellent representation by the Dinanath Ramnarine-led West Indies Players Association has won them a level of payment way above their apparent capability. Thanks to Dinnas, their salaries have risen steadily to the third-highest in the Test world (I am told), even as they have cemented themselves (with steel rebars) at the bottom of the rankings.
As bad as the team is, though – and they are so bad, the World Health Organisation is thinking of naming the next virus that causes fatal sloth not the H2N2 but the WI XI– they look good compared with the West Indies Cricket Board.
This is a body of people – you can’t in conscience call them men, for they act like piss-in-tail boys – who foisted an extra, unnecessary England tour on the team, as if to make sure the Wisden trophy we’d finally won back was returned before it could be damaged by sea blast. How anyone can call himself an administrator while failing to provide basic job letters for his employees is beyond me. It’s past ridiculous and beyond mockery. Yet they soldier on, taking out full-page ads in the papers to make themselves feel better while the rest of us feel worse.
West Indies cricket is not a compass for but a barometer of the West Indian nation. The status and performance of the team does not point us in a new direction; it merely reflects where we are as a people. And we’re in a mess. With the WICB pursuing authority at all costs and the WIPA committed to money before all else, it is no surprise that cricket itself suffers. Tony Cozier and others have cast the ongoing tension between team and board as that of irresistible force meeting immovable object (even though, as Isaac Asimov pointed out, the existence of one precludes that of the other); but even the great TC is on the wrong tack. When you really look at the WICB and the WI XI, or if you say it with a Grenadian accent, you realise it is really a case of irresistible farce meeting immovable abject.
BC Pires says if your last name is Hunte, your first name should not be Isaac (Say it aloud.)