The following Advocate Editorial is reproduced for the benefit of the few loyal cricket fans to be found lurking on Barbados Underground.
Maybe to those of a certain age, popularly referred to as the millennial generation, sometimes as millennials, or frequently as the quizzically titled Generation Y, it may merely be classed as the stuff of legend, but there was indeed a time when our regional team stood at the apex of the cricketing world; when most fans in the region stayed awake all night to follow the commentary when we played in Australia; when people walked with transistor radios glued to their ears, inevitably requested time and again to provide some inquiring stranger with the latest score; when schools were granted an entire day off during local Test matches and when it seemed that all was right with the region and, indeed, the world.
Alas, these times have changed significantly and what was once our passion has now become enveloped in a pall of disinterest consistent with much else in the region besides; a disinterest that even our two successive triumphs in the lottery of World T20 cricket competitions have been unable to diffuse.
And this lack of accomplishment appears moreover to pervade the entire cricket administration – from the CARICOM sub-committee on cricket whose chairman, Gr Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, resigned this position earlier this week because he felt that his colleagues had undermined his chairmanship by reneging on earlier agreed positions to the players themselves.
Given the degree of Dr. Mitchell’s avidity to replace the current management of West Indian cricket with an alternative administration, it is scarcely surprising that this enthusiasm is not wholly shared by some of his regional colleagues who might see their own electoral fates reflected in that of the West Indies Cricket Board [WICB] through an identical loss of popular support.
The current morass does not stop there. The WICB itself, no model administrator, has managed to alienate many of the fans of the regional game over the years with its apparently dictatorial approach and its crass adoption of an attitude of master and servant to its relationship with its employees and the players.
Nor, as earlier suggested, are these last any less culpable, even though there are more than a few fans who, as Pontius Pilate did, can find no fault in any of them. Nevertheless an alarming and unarguable lack of performance, together with a regrettable sense of entitlement, has managed to estrange a significant number of former cricket aficionados over the last two decades.
Of course, there is the view that all this disenchantment may be put down to our relatively disappointing record and there may be some validity in such a thesis. After all, we are a people that revel in victory and are highly intolerant of defeat, especially those of the humiliating kind.
We have clearly reached a critical point in our cricketing culture, one that requires us to consider whether the game is so embedded in our psyches and that we have invested so much in it financially and emotionally that any contemplation of its abandonment as a regional outfit is out of the question, or whether we may yet continue as individual units or whether, despite the historical significance of the game, the time has come for us to bid it farewell and to concentrate our energies elsewhere.
This, we accept, may be viewed as an extreme circumstance. It may be pure coincidence however, that as we are preparing this, the West Indies has just succumbed to Pakistan in Dubai by another large margin of defeat in a T20 match, the version of the game in which it has reaped most global success.