ONE thing West Indians can be certain is that on the eve of an international cricket Test series there will be at least ONE controversy to serve to distract the team from the job of winning. And to expose the failings of our regional institutions.
The ICC Men’s Test Rankings support the view that #8 ranked West Indies out of 10 Test playing countries will have its work cut-out to beat a #2 ranked England team. The first Test is scheduled to start in Barbados on the 23 January 2019.
The question West Indians fans must ask therefore- why do our cricket administrators continue to debate issues that should be resolved in the board room and at the Secretariat? Perhaps there is a naive view held by the directors of Cricket West Indies (CWI) that shouting across island boundaries will not impact player performance AND the moral of a dwindling spectator base. The current state of West Indies cricket continues to spiral southward and it is worthy of note that although the current #8 Test Rankings positions West Indies above Bangladesh, we were beaten by them in the last series and they are just ONE point behind the West Indies.
What is the latest brouhaha?
The decision by CWI to appoint Richard Pybus has triggered a shouting match between two CWI Directors Enoch Lewis from Antigua and Conde Riley from Barbados. Lewis is critical of the process that led to Pybus’ selection. Riley has rebutted Lewis by sharing with the public on a radio show that the matter was discussed at Board and voted on.
At this stage of the argument it does not matter who is right or wrong. What matters is the inability of our cricket administrators to manage the cricket utilizing the best governance practices readily available.It has not gone unnoticed by the blogmaster that many of the Directors were educated in the region. We were unable to find a link to the CWI Board of Directors to determine level of formal training.
The blogmaster has held his nose to develop the view on the merit of appointing Pybus as Head coach of the West Indies team given his unflattering resume.
Here we are – as a West Indian cricket fan – having to witness the spectacle of cricket administrators and supporting cast, embarrassing the hell out of a people AGAIN. Although Test cricket does not hold the high place on the list for sports fans in the former colonies compared to the past. Let us accept that our inability to efficiently lead cricket reflects a large failing by people of the region to effectively lead most things.
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One day,T20,instant gratification and Peter Short all combined to destroy Test cricket and West Indies dominance in the game.
I have fond memories of my school closing half day to allow us to go to cricket and sit in a special area known as the school boys stand.There was a particular groundsman who,as he walked past the stand,would be pelted with any handy missile,just for the fun of it.He was never in a position to finger the culprit(s).Just boys being boys and enjoying Test cricket with batsmen down to no 7 and Shell Harris telling the world on ZNX32 to come to Kensington,that Garry Sobers’in full cry’ down here.
The text refers to “Ridley” shouldn’t that be “Riley”?
Mr Blogmaster, I forgot a test series was about to begin!
Lots of interesting cricket around and competitive in patches….what will this series be?
Will it be about the continued growth of Shai Hope as a super WI batsman with Hetmyer a close second and of the quick Oshane Thomas doing a great imitation of Patrick Patterson and roughing up the English…and what of the last great hooray from the present day ‘genius’ Chris Gayle (is he even playing the Tests?)…as a fan there is still so many awesome on field attractions!
But alas the BS board room noise takes the headline. On that… what do you mean about : …It has not gone unnoticed by the blogmaster that many of the Directors were educated in the region. We were unable to find a link to the CWI Board of Directors to determine level of formal training. ???
Formal training in what exactly would be particularly beneficial or needed here to be more successful?…and where else were they to be educated to be supposedly better at what they do?
You do know quite well I’m sure that Peter Short (why is HE the fall guy for WI cricket now tho?, but that’s another story time) was a big shot BS&T director…so what!
The jamaican Pat Rosseau was a highly regarded attorney and businessman , then there was the trinidadian successful publisher and businessman Ken Gordon and then of course our own again Wes Hall, and with all these presidents there have been successful bankers (like Riley), business leaders, legal eagles, marketing stars etc as directors or key players…so what…same dishevel and fall into the abyss!
Capt Jason Holder remarked last year in the press to the point that the continuous change of coaches has had a terrible impact on team dynamics …and that the behind the scenes issues can sap the team energy…but still the folly goes on. Something like five or six coaching changes (head coach, bowling and fielding combined) in last five years!
Kudos to the young man for elevating his talent and skills to a higher level despite the leaden leadership cap he has to wear (he took his 30 odd Test wickets in 2018 at an average under 15. AWESOME). He can become a super all-rounder…this series is as good as any to stamp his authority.
Kudos to Hope and Heytmyer and Evin Lewis and young Bravo and all our other budding stars also. Lets hope they can focus on their skills and compete mano a mano for run supremacy against folks like Kane Willamson of NZ or Root…master those type guys skill for skill and pile up some centuries and we will have a lot to crow about…and help forget this endless merry go round foolishness at Board level.
Where in your comment have you made contact with the substantive point of the blog?
I took as my focus your substantitive issue to be: At this stage of the argument it does not matter who is right or wrong. What matters is the inability of our cricket administrators to manage the cricket utilizing the best governance practices readily available.
Was it not the correct interpretation?
I therefore focused on the aim for excellence from the budding stars….but in acknowledgement of the brouhaha I cited captain Jason Holder’s displeasure with the chopping and changing and it’s impact on team dynamics.
I have no deep desire to get in WICB issues and personalities…I have had my time with some direct/indirect involvement and of course lots of talk on these pages in the past…frankly the fact that Cameron is there and once again going this folly is a bad reflection of people like me (fans) who have not maxed out their own opportunities to stop people like him from hijacking WI cricket…
So Mr Blogmaster highlighting the continued flaws in WICB is to highlight my flaws too…not so…what have I done to prevent (assuming of course i could HAVE done something) is the hard question!
How can there be excellence from the stars if there is perennial map administration?
Last West Indian cricket Administrator left as he slowly goes down with the ship:
“Who moved the bell from the Inchcape rock”? Gurgle, gurgle, glop…….
I have never been in Barbados during the visit of a touring team; and I am looking forward to attending all the matches in Bridgetown.
Listen my team is England, however if the West Indies win I will be equally delighted.
We should not worry too much concerning the administrators who run the game in the Caribbean. West Indies cricket will find its natural level. At the moment W.I. cricket is punching above its weight. Bangladesh will leap above the Windies very shortly.
We all have access to You Tube where there are many archives of the all-conquering West Indies team from yesterday. Let’s be happy for this.
And yes you are right. We have a leadership problem throughout the Caribbean. In the scheme of things the game of cricket and its W.I. administrators are low down in the pecking order when it comes to solving the structural problems faced by our region.
Our regional institutions are failing us.
Cricket has played an important part to infuse confidence in a people working to shed the vestige of a colonial past. It seems we have no desire to continue to do so given our love affair with fitting in.
@ Talking Loud,
Is the state of West Indies cricket a reflection of the wider society?
Mr Blogmaster, not easily but it has been done in the past – recent and historical – and certainly can be done again!
Thus when you asked How can there be excellence from the stars if there is perennial [bad] administration I say didnt Worrell overcome the worst forms of bad administration under racist regimes which discounted the human value of their players despite singing of WI togetherness?
Didn’t the team’s under Sobers and Khahai excel in their way during bad administrations and then the holy grail was found when Lloyd and Richards moulded all conquering teams…even under Richardson there were successes and then we won in ’04 and the ‘other day’ both men and women T20 trophies.
As I said I have no desire to get into a treatise of WICB admin as we have done that here too many times already ..suffice that it is now almost a given that there will be poor WICBC or WICB operations and it is equally true that on the field the teams can excel when they find that unity of spirit blended with a professional honing of their superior talents …
Let me put in in English terms…a formidible array of talented players under the banner of Manchester United performed creditably under a turbulent adminstrator called Jose Mourinho in 2017-18 but they lost focus amidst all that turbulence this season and were way off their expected standards…he was terminated and seemingly they have regained some focus and are performing better.
That’s a simplistic note of course but the point is inescapable: the professional players didn’t lose talent or skill they lost focus amidst the NOISE.
Our players have the cricket skills so as their captain noted they really have to dig in and focus despite the NOISE.
“That’s why I don’t get too caught up with people saying what they say, because within, I know what really goes on within the dynamics of the team. It’s not an excuse or looking for things to ease pressure, but at the end of the day you deal with reality. Anybody would say that the only way to get results as a team is by coming close together. But if the dynamics of the team changes quite a bit, it’s hard to build something. Every time it seems as though you’re building something, there’s almost a barrier, some kind of obstacle.
“But that’s life…”*
“…I just focus primarily on what I have to do and what the team has to do… The only way we can silence the critics -.or try to silence them, because I don’t think they’ll never shut up – is by playing [good] cricket.”
Take out the word critics which was his reference to fans who just talk of the team’s poor performances and substitute POOR ADMINISTRATORS and the same sentiment should resonate.
Nothing in a truly successful life is ever easy!
Hal Austin said and I quote,
“Is the state of West Indies cricket a reflection of the wider society?”
Sadly, the answer is yes. Take a look at the cricketing link below. This is after all the Caribbean.
Throw your support behind the women
Those were the days when the Greats played for Country
Now the so called greats play for Money
I remember the era of Worrell. Griffith.. Lance Gibbs ..Weeks.. Sobers as if it was yesterday and find solace and comfort that i once lived in a barbados where country interest superseded the interest of greed and selfishness
In order for the W.I to return to its glory days of winning the ingredients of unselfishness and a patriotic spirit are necessary
Without those two ingredients the WI are doomed to total failure
I recall Garry with his customary big smile say he’s sorry he wasnt in the time of Kerry Packer.Those greats came along at a time when opportunities for earning a decent living were not available to them.A few relied on a part time out- of -test -season pick in the sports department of CF Harrison or a contract to play in the English County League.
The West Indies brought in white coaches to teach their team how NOT to win test matches,one days nor T20s.The irony of it all.We have the premier naturally talented batting and bowling stars of world cricket and some fools who are not mindful of that nor of the history of the people of the West Indies,fall prey to people who kept changing the rules of cricket when they couldn’t beat the West Indies and imported racist players as coaches.Assinity resides in WIC decision makers.When WIC refuse to even discuss the recommendations of Prof Barriteau and Dr Mitchell that is an indication we are dealing with people who are cavalier about the future of we cricket.
@ Gabriel at 2:57 PM
I am not too sure about the racist bit. But I share your view that most successful West Indian Players who switch to coaching would have a better understanding of how West Indian players think and understand cricket. There is always a cultural gap/ emotional intelligence that a foreign coach cannot relate to.
What is the official reason we opt for foreign coaches?
Continuous assessment is discussed in the context of not relying on a final exam to support placement/promotion of the student.
If you don’t understand the underlying mentality that reinforces the belief that a white must always lord It over and manage the affairs of the black,clothe him in hand- me- down- rags,feed him salted meat and fish and the entrails of swine such that it is now engrained in him and is celebrated as his culture,the sine qua non of the plantation hegemony,then you are fit to be ordered “stand on the bench”.Or worse be told “siddown,prize goat”.White South African you say?Not a racist you say?
I am of to the UWI to watch some cricket. I see that we have poached one of your Bajan cricketers who is now eligible to play for England. His name is Jofra Archer – https://www.skysports.com/cricket/news/12173/11142890/jofra-archer-barbados-born-sussex-seamer-wants-to-play-for-england
You cannot blame him for wanting to play for a professional outfit rather than the rag tag collection of islands masquerading as the West Indies.
As for the West Indies new coach, I see no problem. Give the man a try.
You see no problem giving a PART TIME coach such a serious duty to perform.What do they say of those who lack vision?Or those who don’t understand what exuding PRIDE and INDUSTRY means to national development?Failure costs the Region and there is a reason for the repeated failure of our cricket team.It starts at the top.Cameron playing with a Region’s psyche and we are to stand for it and say ‘there is no problem n giving the man a try’.I recognize we have a long way to go to rid the brethren of this 400 year old plantation mentality.It can start with the one institution that binds the Region.
@ David at 3:53 AM
What ever the official reasons, the outcomes do not support the hypotheses. The foreign coaches have made no difference in the performance of West Indies cricket.
@ David at 5 :35 AM
The point I am making is that the continuous assessment and the one off exams should yield the same result. If they do not then the continuous assessment alone provides opportunities for some one to tamper with the system. Why should you want to create another moral hazard?
The so called interview system provided an opportunity to eliminate the lad who said he had for breakfast a cup of cocoa tea and two eclipse biscuits.
If he was foolish enough to reply he had breadfruit cou cou and saltfish , he could also be weeded out . He was describing lunch, which the Plantocracy described as breakfast which they ate between 11:00 and 12 noon.
Interesting exchange between Gabriel, Vincent and David.
It seems as if West Indies cricket is failing on several fronts
Poor nets for batting practice
Lack of local coaching talent
Youngsters would now prefer to play for England than for the West Indies. This demonstrates that youngster no longer believe in the superiority of WI cricket.
A complete lack of interest in the game. One would have thought that the citizens of BU would be talking cricket, but this is not the case.
@Gabriel,@Vincent and the Blogmaster the argument about ineffectiveness of foreign coaches would resonate if our teams had enjoyed resounding success under our local coaches or indeed if WI coaches had done very outstanding work with many other teams…as far as I know NONE of those two happened…. So why the talk of racist selection of white non WI coaches or of not understanding our WI psych !
1.A white Aussie coach (physical trainer) guided our players during our glory days.
2..The captain who led us during that great period did not have similarly great successes as manager/coach of the team
3. Very few of our players from those glory days have become super coaches (which is comparable to realities across all team sports where the best players seldomly ever become the best coaches)…Otis Gibson is the most notable test team coach who hails from the region and he was certainly not a regular top WI team member in his prime
4.In recent times apart from Phil Simmons the most successful WI team coach has been another Aussie Law.
In sum it’s off the mark to cast race as any prominent issue related to our coaching woes …
England 69 for 8. Roach gets a five fer.
You need to update your report!
What the hell happened there…Excellent. This England lineup bats deep with several shot players too.
We gotta post a hefty total to win this I imagine.
1st Test, England tour of West Indies at Bridgetown, Jan 23-27 2019
289 & 127/6 * (36 ov)
Day 2: West Indies lead by 339 runs with 4 wickets remaining
With all the serious issues of life surrounding us we must take a moment and give the windies bowlers a “hooray”.
Mr Blogmaster prior to the start it was noted that the players had the talent and despite all the off field issues they could handle this quite powerful English team… Of course England could still win this game…but regardless of outcome the words of captain Holder resonate well after that wonderful tandem bowling effort …
“I just focus primarily on what I have to do and what the team has to do…The only way [to succeed] is by playing [good] cricket.”
They have to play more good cricket to win this game and eventually make the series competitive but they surely have continued their on field improvement wonderfully well.
If this was Garner instead of Holder and Ambrose instead of Joseph then we would have already signed and sealed England’s defeat but that’s not the case based on the talent in this England team…
Yet hooray, hooray, hooray thus far for the Windies!
The English screwed the team selection. As we anticipated the WI team found a way to let the English back into the game. We wish them well to hold on.
The West Indies should be favourites to close this match; but do not be surprised if England battle back and eventually win. We have been down this path before with the Windies.
Tomorrow, i will be going to the Kensington Oval to bear witness to the third day instalment hoping that the Windies keep up the pressure.
First there was this….
…then the inevitable…
What is the point of moderating cricket links on a cricket blog?
Day 3: West Indies lead by 449 runs with 4 wickets remaining.
Let us hope AND pray the boys can close it out.
Holder 161, Dowrich 103 West Indies lead by 573 runs
Are you sure?
Mr Blogmaster … excellent question….
R we sure England who just beat India at home got bowled out for 77 by the lowly ranked Windies!
And r we sure that bowling allrounder Jason Holder just became the first lower order #8 batsman to score 160!
Are we sure this is not some virtual alternate universe day today…
Wha loss… bacchanal in Bridgetown.
JASON HOLDER 202. Awesome !!!!
@ GEORGIE PORGIE.
YOU CERTAINLY SPOTTED THE POTENTIAL..
FUH TRUTE ? FUH REAL ?
West Indies have declared with a lead of 627!
It was a great day yesterday at The Oval, I had the pleasure of watching an excellent partnership putting England to the sword. However it was difficult to understand the poor strategy employed by the Windies bowlers and the puzzling field placing of their captain. Why did Holder employ himself to bowl when the main bowlers were sat on their backsides all day waiting for some action? Joseph was the only bowler who was bowling consistently at the stumps and was impressive. I liked the look of Gabriel in patches. Whilst Holder and Roach deliveries were generally short pitched balls which meant that the batsmen had no obligation to play the ball which I found unbelievably disappointing and brainless.
Given that England throughout the day never looked like getting a wicket why did Holder not employ a silly mid-on, a silly point, a silly mid- and a short leg to crowd out and encourage the England batsmen to play the ball? Holder’s tactics was to employ four redundant slips thereby encouraging short-pitched foolishness from his bowlers. If Holder is to go down as a great captain he will need to study carefully his tactics when his team are in the field.
I cannot fault Holder’s batting, it was a truly masterful display.
Over to the cricketing expert Dr GP.
Heard the rime minister claiming some of he cricket glory, talking erroneously about Barbadian cricketers doing well. Mistake. Thy were there as West Indies players. Congratulations to them, nevertheless.
A wonderful victory for the WI – and a picture opportunity for the prime minister.
Throughout the years, readers of Carribbean Cricket.com would observe that posters there frequently rant and rave about the number of Barbadians in the West Indies cricket team.
However, in this test the Bajan players have demonstrated their worth marvelously.
In the first innings, Brathwaithe, Chase, and Hope performed with the bat, and Roach with the ball. In the second innings, Holder and Dowrich with the bat, and Chase with the ball have done a great day.
The last time a Bajan batsman got a double century in a test at the Oval was Gordan Greenidge in 1991 against the Australians; and the last time two Bajans batted almost day was in 1960, when Sir Frank (197 n.o) & Sir Garry (226) traumatized England.
Mr Talking Loud Saying Nothing,Sir
Much about what you say about Jason’s captaincy is true. Give him a break, though.
He is improving slowly. He is young, has the right attitude, and seems to have the team playing with him and for him. He will excel eventually.
Let us be thankful for this lovely game, and pray for even greater things as the year progresses.
I HAVE ALWAYS APPRECIATED JASON FROM HIS DISPLAY IN HIS FIFTY ON DEBUT
HE HAS CONTINUED TO IMPRESS, DESPITE ALL THE CRITICISM HE HAS CONTINUALLY RECEIVED
Congratulations to the WI team. Well done.
The worst bandwagon to jump on is that of a sports team. They make you happy and proud and then they reach in, grab your heart and rip it out.
Too scared and it’s too early to jump aboard…..
Congrats many tines repeated! This is an entirely STUNNING victory by this Jason Holder team and equally an unbelievable capitulation by England.
Some aspects of current cricket are understandable like the Aussie beating Sri Lanka at home in that first test after being taken apart themselves on home ground by the superior Indian tesm under Kohli; or the South Africans at home thrashing Pakistan but this Kensignton mauling really has little of those “understandable” dynamics.
One simple aspect that defies understanding is Holder and Dowrich batting an entire day three on what appeared to be a slowly ‘flattening’ pitch (Holder pulling Stokes through midwicket with ease and smacking the spinners straight or through midon, seemed to suggest that) and then lo and behold this set of English pros can’t bat out day four!
The English press will savage the team attitude and application ! Unless they win this series this will be an impossible conniption to explain away.
@MTalkingLoud, you watched the game daily…and I did not …. so I can only quietly say….are you fah real….your Holder captaincy critique is hollow…merely matching an ongoing criticism of the man rather than being realistic.
You have a 600 run target on the tins on a day four pitch which is not really snorting except for the very occassional ball…AND wickets are falling regularly enough… AND your spinner is getting meaningful turn yet you lambaste a captain for not employing *”… a silly mid-on, a silly point, a silly mid- and a short leg to crowd out and encourage the England batsmen to play the ball”.
In WHAT context was that in any way necessary to get to victory??!
If the match was meandering and the Poms were 200 for 2 and playing with a drawn match state of mind then surely those tactics would be needed but as happened today the gambit to give the batsmen the opportunity to go for their shots proved practical…
The captain knows his cricket well and this continued trope of his poor tactics or inability to understand best field placements etc is mere media noise …
Jason Holder at this moment can be equated to a Greame Smith who was also hoisted to the team captaincy at a very young age after much team problems there…like Smith he is developing his personal game superbly and his captaincy has grown and will improve at this level also …it already is showing great signs as he has started to mould and infuse the unit around him with more self belief based on no small measure from his own on field skills.
Relax, its only one game don’t get so ahead of yourself otherwise the letdown could be brutal. Let’s see if there are repeat performances in the upcoming Tests but “To a thirsty man a drop of water is worth more than a sack of gold”.
Its not over ‘till the fat lady sings.
That was long in coming for Young Jason.A well deserved win on your home turf as well.
Hope this win will give them the motivation they need to keep wining
I had a great day at Kensington. i would not have missed it for anything.
Too early for me to be ecstatic. I’ve been hurt too many times. I’m still sorry I refused to go.
Have you noticed the prime minister got her photo opportunity with the West Indies cricketers. Wow! Show her a camera and anything goes.
This juvenile behaviour must stop. Whatever happened to the dignity of office?.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been banned for four matches after admitting making a racist remark to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.
The International Cricket Council said Sarfraz breached its anti-racism code in a one-day international in Durban.
Sarfraz, 31, later apologised and claimed his words were “not directed towards anyone in particular”.
The wicketkeeper will miss two one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches, all against South Africa.
“Sarfraz has promptly admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology, so these factors were taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction,” said the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executive David Richardson.
The world governing body opened an investigation after Sarfraz was caught on a stump microphone using the Urdu word “kaale”, meaning “black”.
Sarfraz will also have to go on an ICC education programme.
He was charged under a part of the section of the code relating to “conduct (whether through the use of language, gestures or otherwise) which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify any reasonable person… on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin”.
In response, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement that it had “a zero-tolerance approach to racist comments and behaviour”, but expressed its “utmost disappointment” with the decision to ban Sarfraz.(Quote)
Good old Muslims.
@Hal Austin January 27, 2019 10:45 AM “Have you noticed the prime minister got her photo opportunity with the West Indies cricketers. Wow! Show her a camera and anything goes.
This juvenile behaviour must stop. Whatever happened to the dignity of office?”
So when the British High Commissioner had a photo-op with the England team last week, was that juvenile too? Was it undignified?
There is nothing at all juvenile nor undignified about the British High Commissioner or the Barbados Prime Minister wishing the young men well.
In fact I commend both ladies.
Mia on a high
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley says she feels validated by Government’s decision to support the Barbados Cricket Association’s (BCA) bid to host international cricket matches between West Indies and England at Kensington Oval.
A loving embrace for Jason. lol
It was reported that Andrew Flintoff was rather dismissive of Jason Holder’s double hundred … reportedly saying that if a #8 can do that then his English mates should be able to make lots of runs…
Two things came to mind when I read that…1) he sounds jealous and too peed off at the loss but too 2) he makes a valid point.
On 2 it’s reasonable to say that if two lower order batsmen can see out an entire day on a pitch while scoring centuries then higher order batsmen should reasonably be able to battle resoltutely on the same pitch against a pace attack not likely to repeat it’s day 2 excellence….fair enough…. So poor on them!
But on 1 he is a sore loser and absolutely out of line.
There are seeral batsmen with double hundreds but a few of them have batted at eight in the order….there are also several test batsmen with double hundreds who also took wickets but at this moment and for the last year Holder has been outstanding with bat and ball and currently is in the same stratosphere of Sir Garry and Imran Khan on stats.
Holder CAN BAT… this double is less an aberration than it is a credit to his skills, luck on the day and his focus.
There is no reason Holder can’t remain at the top among all rounders by the end of his career thus definitely leaving Flintoff far behind on the stats list… the Englishman had a good career so no need to begrudge Holder the rewards of his hard work and skills … As the Jamicans would say : he needs to haul he bumbaclot!
No! Bad old MUSLIM! Singular.
Now, Mia taking a picture with Jason is TRULY a non-issue.
I wish Flintoff and Boycott would talk even worse before the second test. But unfortunately I fear they will learn their lesson until they have a memory lapse next couple of series. Let us hope our guys have a longer memory!
Nice article on a proper hero.
Sir Everton Weekes interview: ‘I’m 93 – and my doctor has only just told me to stop swimming in the sea every day’
Not many people have been a top cricketer, a top commentator and a top human being. Sir Everton Weekes was the first of this kind. Some might argue that at the age of 93 – he turns 94 next month – he is also the last.
Sir Everton scored 15 centuries in his 48 Tests and averaged 58. He is, to this day, the only man to have scored centuries in five consecutive Test innings – and in his next he was going strong on 90 when adjudged to have been run out against India in Madras, as was. Those were the days before neutral umpires and television cameras.
Has there been a better pairing at the microphone than the late Tony Cozier doing ball-by-ball commentary and Sir Everton summarising at the end of an over; a better combination of informed observation and relaxed yet insightful criticism? During the first Test between West Indies and England at Kensington Oval last week, which Sir Everton watched from the Worrell, Weekes and Walcott Stand, the Prime Minister of St Vincent, Ralph Gonsalves, told him he was his favourite commentator.
His philosophy has always been “live and let live” – those four words to which the world’s wisest philosophies can be boiled down. Sir Everton inspired such friendships that during the Australian tour of the West Indies in 1954-55, a significant moment occurred in the history of race relations in cricket. When one of the white West Indian players threw a party, the Australians refused to accept the invitation if the black West Indian players were not invited as well. When England had toured the Caribbean the year before, I am afraid they had not drawn the same line in the sand.
And now Sir Everton is serenity. The last of the three Ws has his marbles intact and if he is a little frail – might not be able to square-cut and pull with quite the same withering power – he has the richest of smiles, the warmest of hearts. Not for him any self-aggrandisement: mention his triple century against Cambridge University at Fenner’s in 1950, which helped to spark the calypso summer, and he immediately recalls the runs scored by David Sheppard – “he was made a bishop” – and Peter May, the future England captain; and, free of bitterness, he speaks as warmly of current cricketers as he does of those in his playing career.
“For starters, I would say the word ‘hate’ has been removed from my vocabulary,” said Sir Everton on the final day of the first Test when asked how he keeps going. And that is an achievement itself for a person born in 1925 in Barbados, a white plantocracy where even the notion of social justice did not exist, especially for a boy rich in nomenclature – as Everton de Courcy Weekes – but otherwise poor.
His batting was conditioned by his upbringing, all right: he hit the ball along the ground and recorded only two sixes in his Test career – and one of them was all run – because he had to learn the game in the small yard of his home in central Bridgetown, some 300 yards from Kensington Oval.
“There was no fence. If you hit the ball through somebody’s window, that was the end of that ball,” – balls he and his friends made for themselves, knitted together from cork, paper and cloth. “The actual six was in Trinidad against Australia, over mid-on against Bill Johnston – we were both born on Feb 26.” Sir Everton had to join the army to play organised cricket, express himself and have his gifts recognised.
“I used to swim every day up to two years ago, at Miami Beach [near Oistins on the south-west coast of Barbados], but I’ve got high blood pressure and I’ve been advised not to go into the seawater because it can be very rough at times. I’ve missed it. But the doctor thinks drowning is not a very pleasant way to go.”
Sir Everton represented Barbados at bridge “for about 10 years” as well as cricket. Indeed, he put the bridge into Bridgetown. “I play once, maybe twice a week now. Most of the bridge is played at night and I no longer drive at night. The traffic is not very pretty in Barbados.” And again, the chuckle in the understatement.
“Ever since I retired from Test cricket, I’ve been playing bridge seriously. Actually, I’ve played bridge against England, against Australia and against India.”
Needless to say, he does not point out that he also scored a lot of Test runs against these countries. In the 1950 series, it was his partnership of 283 with Frank Worrell in the third Test at Trent Bridge, when the series stood at 1-1, which basically alerted the cricket world that non-whites, too, could bat, sometimes in more entertaining style. If his one poor series was in Australia in 1951-52 when the West Indian board made the basic error of arranging only one first-class game – in a new country, with pitches of very different bounce – before the first Test, he made up for it in 1954-55. And in both of his series against India he averaged more than 100.
“I do a lot of reading – most of the stuff is biblical.” He also has a copy of the new book about John Arlott and Jim Swanton which he is going to read, because he was friends with Swanton, the late cricket correspondent of the Telegraph – “we got on pretty well” – and used to play for EW Swanton’s XI in several countries. “I spend a lot of time watching the television,” he added. “Your knowledge can be expanded quite a lot if you have time to watch BBC, for instance.
“What I like about cricket now is that the players are being paid properly.” In his day, to make a living from cricket, Sir Everton played in the Lancashire League, for 10 years, before a thigh operation went wrong and stopped him playing. He not only opened the batting for Bacup – with a future Lancashire captain, Bob Bennett – but the bowling, too: he gave up his leg-breaks and bowled outswingers. “In fact, I got 75 wickets in my first season at Bacup.”
Does he watch Twenty20? “Of course. I like quite a few of them [the T20 players]. The top one in my opinion, and the one I like most, is the opening batsman, left-handed, from Jamaica – Chris Gayle. He was, in my view, a very good cricketer and it suited his style. He also made two triple-hundreds in Test cricket – he must be a very great player, in my view.”
With Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach, the West Indian fast bowlers who rather alarmed England, he has sympathy. “The pitches don’t seem to give them much help, compared to fast bowlers in years gone by.” The secret of West Indian cricket when they were world champions, according to Sir Everton, was that “groundsmen would get up early to roll in the dew”. And not just professional groundsmen at the Test grounds, but those who did it for love at club grounds around the Caribbean: those pitches that shone in the sun, that brought the best and bravest out of batsmen, those pitches that do not exist any more, except possibly St Lucia, the third Test venue, which is now said to have the only pacy pitch in the West Indies.
“For me, to watch cricket here [Kensington Oval] in the late Thirties, I would go out and help roll the pitch in the mornings with the ground staff so that I would be in the ground when the game starts. If I went back out, I’d not have much money to get back in, so I’d remain out there to help and roll the pitch. In the meantime, I was able to watch all the games and some very good players.”
George Headley was his hero, above all. When Sir Everton played for Barbados in Jamaica in 1947, Headley made 200. What did he learn from the one who used to be known as “the Black Bradman”? “That occupation of the crease is extremely important. It didn’t matter how you looked, style did not come into play, the main thing was to spend plenty of time in the middle. He was a very fine example of that. He was not the type of person that would not help you – he was a very fine gentleman and we became very good friends.”
Then he speaks glowingly of today’s players. What about the captain, Jason Holder? “He is a good cricketer and a nice young man, too. Most of them are very nice people, the young West Indian players.”
Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott are buried at Cave Hill, above the cricket ground belonging to the University of the West Indies, overlooking the north of Bridgetown and the Caribbean, sparkling in all its shades of blue – and space has been set aside. “I’m the only person on earth who knows, to an inch, where he is going to be buried,” jests Sir Everton. Not yet, please, not yet.
Discover more from The Telegraph
I read where the powers that be will be erecting a statue of Wes Hall at Kensington and immediately I thought of Sir Everton, so where is his statue?
England step into West Indies’ cauldron of history and memory seeking their own restitution
A vastly improved performance will be required if Joe Root’s side are not to begin their year with a crushing series defeat
Antigua is a place that exists twice: once in reality, and once in the imaginations of those who visit. Four centuries ago, an administrator called Christopher Codrington set up the first sugar plantation at Betty’s Hope and began importing slaves from Africa to harvest his fortune. Now, the cruise ships and luxury yachts sitting in English Harbour spit out hordes of white people in designer sunglasses, packing out the beaches, frequenting the swish restaurants, marvelling aloud about how relaxed everything is out here.
The image of the sun-kissed island paradise is, of course, one Antigua is often quite happy to project onto itself. After all, tourism accounts for 60 per cent of GDP and more than half of all jobs. Only last week, prime minister Gaston Browne was hobnobbing with the global elite in Davos, trying to drum up investment. From the plantation owners to Allen Stanford, Antigua has spent virtually its entire history as a sort of playground idyll, a vehicle for outside actors to indulge their neo-colonialist fantasies. It’s almost too small to be anything else.
Only on the cricket field, then, has it been able to shatter the idyll and compete on even terms. Antigua and Barbuda only got its independence from Britain in 1981, the same year it hosted its first Test match, with the hometown hero Viv Richards scoring an imperious 114 in front of a capacity crowd. Back then, by all accounts, the Antigua Recreation Ground was a raucous, riotous place, with the constant clatter noise coming from the old Rude Boy Stand, shaking opposition teams from their comfort zone, reminding them they were playing not just 11 players, but a whole nation.
England in West Indies
Five years later, Richards hit the fastest century in Test history in Antigua. Eight years after that, Brian Lara broke the world record. Ten years after that, remarkably, he did it again. Four years ago, at the newly built Vivian Richards Stadium across town, a much-maligned West Indies side batted out 130 overs for a draw, with Jason Holder scoring a century. England have still never won here.
And so into this cauldron of history and memory step Joe Root’s side, dreaming of their own restitution. This is, for all its many virtues, a team that seems to need the occasional boot up the backside, and their fans and management will be hoping their miserable week in Barbados can act as a sort of shock therapy. It’s hard to conceive of England playing as badly here as they did there. Nevertheless, a vastly improved performance will be required if they are not to begin their year with a crushing series defeat.
The strip at the Vivian Richards Stadium is one of the more mercurial in world cricket: by turns batting nirvana, spinner’s dream and pace paradise. It was certainly the latter last summer, when Bangladesh were rolled over for just 43 on the first morning, as the ball darted around like a sprite. Just a few months earlier, by contrast, an England Lions containing Keaton Jennings and Jack Leach were obliterated by West Indies ‘A’ in a game dominated by spin, with Jomel Warrican taking 11 wickets. Once more, England will need to read the pitch with the precision of a codebreaker.
The pitch was being generously watered two days out, which suggests the groundstaff are concerned about it breaking up. There is also a substantial covering of grass, which may well be trimmed before the start of play but which would otherwise give plenty of encouragement to the fast bowlers. It could well be that, encouraged by Barbados, the West Indies are throwing their lot in behind their pace attack. The sight of Root undergoing extra bouncer practice in the nets, with rubber balls slung down into a slab of wet concrete, suggests England may well be thinking the same way.
In which case, Stuart Broad will probably return in place of Adil Rashid, pending a last-minute assessment of conditions. Chris Woakes is struggling with injury and has neither batted nor bowled in net practice; Sam Curran has enough credit in the bank to be forgiven a poor Test in Barbados; Rashid, meanwhile, was poor in Barbados, and with Root working on his canny leg-spinners, England may not necessarily miss his overs. With England not scheduled to play again in Asia until their tour of Sri Lanka in March 2020, it could conceivably be Rashid’s last Test cricket for a while.
The batting is likely to remain unchanged. Joe Denly got an extended net on Tuesday, as England pondered the possibility of bringing him in as an opener in place of Keaton Jennings, or in place of Ben Foakes, with Jonny Bairstow dropping down the order and taking the gloves. But the most probable scenario is that Jennings will get one more chance, with the knowledge that one big score now would probably secure his Ashes place, with only the third Test and a four-day affair against Ireland to come between now and then.
As for the West Indies, encouragingly few headaches. They are likely to be unchanged, with John Campbell earning another go at the top of the order and Roston Chase again shouldering the spin burden after his eight-wicket burst in Barbados. Coach Richard Pybus has warned his side against complacency, and perhaps their biggest task from here will be to maintain the surging intensity of Barbados, with the knowledge that for all the jubilation of Barbados, their job here is not yet half done.
Oh lordie… One swallow, said @Sargeant recently – as memory serves – does not a summer make… but boy oh boy this is now three excellent bowling performance swallows flying well… is this a new Windies cricket summer a coming!
Oh how one could become a devout and avid bird watcher once again!
Congrats to the team thus far.
WEST INDIES WIN!!! AWSOMMMMMMME!!!!
Congratulations to the West Indies!
How sweet it is Hants!
Yes sir AWESOME..
Absolutely, incredibly and awe-inspiringly Awesome.
So sad that Alzarri Joseph will remember this awesome game victory with his personal tragedy … condolences to the young man.
I guess I had better look for my hat now because it is time to eat it.
We won’t be too hard on you. You are allowed to put some ketchup on the hat.
I have never been happier to eat my hat, ketchup or not. Now if Mia would make me eat my last hat then I could die even happier!
Windies complete annihilation of compliant, gutless England
From now on, the TV graphic of the Windies’ home record in Test cricket will have to be shown “excluding Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and England”.
What an insane seven days of cricket this has been. While the hubris-drenched Yorkshire gobshites taking a 3-0 England victory as read in this nice, easy starter to a meaty year for English cricket were at the extreme end of the scale, few observers on either side predicted a Windies victory here. None predicted anything like this.
England have been destroyed. Their batting has been the biggest and most conspicuous problem yet their bowlers also huffed and puffed through a 100-over period without a single wicket between Shimron Hetmyer slicing to cover on the second day in Barbados and John Campbell edging to slip on day two in Antigua.
A hundred overs, without a wicket. England have lost 40 of the things in barely twice that. Their second innings today lasted 253 balls, a whole 37 more than Darren Bravo managed on his own.
England’s best total of the series, the 246 in the second innings at Barbados (and as scores of 246 go it was a memorably terrible one) is 43 runs short of West Indies’ lowest effort of the series.
The Windies are 1027/26 in the series so far. England are 642/40.
MORE FROM DAVE TICKNER
Broad a simmering, fuming menace but England look doomed
Could it be this simple: are West Indies just better than England?
This has been an utter pasting. England didn’t get beaten like this here in the 1980s. The only recent series that bear any comparison are the 2006/7 and 2013/14 Ashes whitewashes.
England’s innings today was truly abject. It was so very terrible precisely because it was terrible in precisely the way that people always think terrible batting is terrible, yet so rarely is.
England’s batsmen really did have fundamentally the wrong approach to almost every ball. They really did keep making boneheaded and ineffably wrong shot selections. They really did show no stomach for the fight. Three of the top seven were dismissed driving on the up on a pitch where nobody had stopped talking about the variable bounce for more than five seconds. The openers were dismissed cutting a ball that was far too close and leaving a ball that was far too close.
A day after the West Indies cussedly and consistently spent 90 overs point-blank refusing to give England anything for free, Joe Root, whose batting looks disastrously out of rhythm but got two absolute bastards in this Test, was the only batsman not markedly at fault for his dismissal.
Jos Buttler can perhaps be considered a touch unfortunate to have got his bat caught in his pad and had actually played nicely for his 24. With what happened everywhere else, we can perhaps excuse him his error and feed greedily on the small crumbs of comfort from the way he played before. There was simply nothing else.
England’s plan today was not the calculated aggression of Jonny Bairstow’s first innings. On day one he gave everything that was there to hit the fullest treatment, but – and this was the part England seemed to completely forget today – paid due respect to all those deliveries that were not. This was reckless, Bairstow himself among the more conspicuously culpable and all the more maddening having come after 131 overs spent watching Windies batsmen show how it could be done.
But as bad as England have been – and they have been thoroughly, miserably wretched, worse here even than Barbados – West Indies have been magnificent.
It is rare indeed for one team to so thoroughly dominate the other in every aspect of the game. Their plans and execution have been better than England’s. They have bowled better, batted better, defended better, attacked better, caught better. Holder has out-manoeuvred Root – this series a big backwards step for England’s captain after such an assured display in Sri Lanka – and out-reviewed him.
The review that led to Root’s dismissal today – a pivotal and symbolic moment that really marked the end of the game as any kind of contest – was a moment of genius; a successful lbw referral against Ben Foakes later in the day the icing on the cake.
England have been found sorely lacking in every department by an opponent they and everyone else had underestimated. A small but in its own way telling example of England’s mindless cricket came late in today’s capitulation. Broad was trapped lbw, the ninth wicket to fall. He had a brief chat with batting partner Sam Curran, then decided not to review it. Yet England had two reviews and one wicket remaining; a scenario in which a review should be used by default.Who was Broad saving that second review for? Broad – a veteran of 125 Tests and at least as many reviews – hadn’t considered this.
A small thing. But a small thing that these players – not least a number-10 batsman – should absolutely be aware of. Broad being Broad, of course, he did manage to squeeze a truly farcical lbw review into his solitary over in West Indies’ “run-chase”, a last bleakly comic moment in a disastrous defeat.
For West Indies, the challenge is to build on this. They will – and should – enjoy a famous series victory. Then refocus on making it 3-0 – nothing of the last seven days’ action suggests this should be beyond them – and then on making absolutely certain this is not some one-off.
West Indies have overachieved against England before, especially at home. Their aim now must be to once again make this kind of performance and this kind of result the norm. It won’t be easy but the ingredients are all there. Other teams will push the Windies harder, but performances like Barbados and here will trouble anyone. Do that, and there might be a few more countries who need to be excluded from those TV graphics.
The ICC wants to fine WICB for preparing a faulty pitch in Antigua. Can you believe it?
Seems as if the cricket fans are waiting for the outcome of the next match, before they get on board again.
Do we have fanatics in WI cricket fans
No getting on board…
A decade in fast-changing China has taught me to expect the unexpected but, even so, I was taken aback by the scene at a school in the southwestern city of Chongqing.A dozen 11-year-olds swung plastic bats at balls thrown overhead by their classmates, playing a game that was, unmistakably, cricket.“If it flies without hitting the ground, it’s a six,” said Wu Yiyue, girl’s cricket team captain at Qinglong road primary school. “It’s better than football because you don’t have to run everywhere,” added a classmate.China’s first recorded cricket match was played in 1858 between a team of officers from the British navy and a Shanghai side. But while Britain’s empire spread the game to South Asia, Australasia and the Caribbean, China resisted colonisation and the game never took root, least of all in schools, which favour football and basketball.Global cricket authorities and the Chinese government have tried to build a national team, expanding training at universities and hiring the Pakistani cricketer Rashid Khan, who led them to an international debut in 2009. But results have been poor. China was bowled out for a humiliating 28 runs by Saudi Arabia in 2017, a record low for a first-team international match and they did not qualify for this year’s World Cup. As with China’s underperforming football team, pundits say a lack of grassroots engagement is the problem.But in Chongqing, parents are working to change that. Chief among them is Deng Dong, who in 2014 put out a plea on social media looking for a sport for his 11-year-old son. “I was afraid he didn’t know how to play any more,” he said.He was contacted by Bill Lee, a local businessman who had developed a passion for cricket from multiple trips to India. They hatched a plan with the headmaster of Qinglong school to hire a former Chinese international player as a coach.Zhang Peng, a former top national batsman, believes he is the only full-time children’s cricket coach in China. He has simplified the game’s rules and emphasises fun, though he does offer criticism: “Why are you missing the ball? Your bat is horizontal!”
In Chongqing, a city of more than 8m people, thousands of children have now tried to play the game and hundreds join in an annual schools’ tournament. Qinglong, overshadowed by a forest of high-rise buildings in the city centre, has set up what is likely the country’s first netted batting range for children. A poster sells cricket’s advantages including health, team awareness, communication skills, English language ability and exchanges with international schools.Chongqing’s cricket revolution is part of a national trend. A new generation of middle-class Chinese parents with greater financial security hope their children can do more than just study. An American Football league for children has also attracted thousands. Cricket promotes “aristocratic consciousness”, says Mr Deng. His efforts are mainly funded by the schools and parents. “The government is more interested in promoting soccer,” he says. China is the world’s largest exporter of sporting goods but when it comes to cricket he has struggled to find local suppliers, relying on Indian imports for bats, balls and wickets. “What distinguishes Chongqing is that this is coming from the Chinese side. It is kind of a guerrilla effort,” says Matt Smith, a Briton who taught cricket in China for more than a decade.At the Jinke Primary in Chongqing’s suburbs, some 30 students play the game for four hours a week on a basketball court. “Cricket and football are of equal status,” says one of the school’s teachers, adding: “I feel [cricket] is a very handsome sport, more refined and more about individual technique than football”.More coaches are being trained in Chongqing and Mr Deng hopes that national players will one day emerge from the city. But middle-schools and high schools are less keen to promote sport, with academic work the main focus. It was also nearly impossible for fans to watch the World Cup in China; matches are rarely broadcast on television or streaming services.China’s cricketing future will rest on sustaining the passions of players like 12-year-old Wu Yuhui. “England should have the best cricket team,” he says, displaying a take on cricketing history as unorthodox as the pitch. “It was invented by India, I think.”