Colin Croft

Colin Croft

Commentary by Colin Croft

“Synchronicity” tells of related events happening all at once, participants seeing them as meaningful coincidences.  In business, travel, health, even with present Ebola crisis, that might be so.

In cricket, it seldom happens, and has not, for this West Indies v India 2014 series.

That India shellacked WI in ODI’s 2 & 4, after No. 3 was abandoned, was no coincidence, even after WI miraculously curbed India’s vaunted batting in ODI No. 1.

Whole WI put up a formidable public front after that first game, it was easily discernible, from team body language, that something was seriously wrong in WI’s camp.

All have now come to full fruition, or, as known in the Caribbean; “The bubble has now burst, so the s…. has hit the fan!”

WI’s entire team turning up at start of proceedings for ODI No. 4 gave clues of immediate things to come, its fielding in India’s innings of No. 4 as fetid as ever, an unbelievable lack of any concentration.

The dye was already cast; genie out of the bottle.  That smell was fully in the open!

How West Indies Cricket Board, West Indies Players Association and especially present, touring WI players emerge from this debacle could be distinctly messy and far reaching!

Few sports team, however they fool themselves, can divorce fiction from reality.

Publicly peeved at their representatives, these WI players have put their mouths, even careers, where their money was, may even still be, for their futures.

This one is far from finished!

Similar, not same, situations; re payments to participating players; have happened previously.

However, this is the very first time, period, anywhere, that an entire tour will have been cancelled over; note; just internal squabbles, on payments and finances for players of a presently touring team.

What a bad precedent to set at this time.  Ramifications would be loud, clear and numerous!
1948/49, (Sir) Frank Worrell refused to tour India, for he disagreed with stipends players had been allowed.  That tour proceeded, with WI scraping a 1-0 win.

Sir Frank returned spectacularly; England 1950; as WI beat the hosts for the first time ever, 3-1; then also playing well against India and Australia, before leading to Australia 1960/61, and England, in 1963, to be eventually revered universally as probably the best captain WI has ever had!

In 1978, WI, including yours truly, decimated Australia in two Tests in Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados.

Then, that smelly stuff permeated the air in Guyana, when Desmond Haynes and Richard Austin, two of three new recruits to World Series Cricket (Kerry Packer), were dropped for no apparent cricket reasons.

The third; me; would have been disposed of too, had Test No. 3 not been scheduled for Georgetown.

WI then captain Clive Lloyd would have none of it, he and selected team refusing to play, surmising that it was just open victimization that players were dropped for trying to make better livelihoods.

Again, WI played on, a second team hastily mustered, under Alvin Kallicharran’s captaincy.  WI held their own eventually, winning that series after crescendos of agro; 3-1! 1978/79 WI tour to India included no “Packer” players; those already in Australia for “unofficial” series.

1998, WI undertook its first ever official tour to South Africa.  Senior players, including Carl Hooper and captain Brian Lara bluntly refused to tour unless certain policies, finances and situations were properly put into place, negotiations happening at London’s Heathrow Airport hotels on the way to SA.

Even guarantees from SA’s then new President, Nelson Mandela, were ignored.

Already in SA, one of contracted commentators, I had direct communications with Dr. Ali Bacher, Cricket South Africa’s then President, as he feverishly bargained for that tour to commence and continue, so I knew all about that entire situation.

Continue that tour did, but WI were so poor on the field, decimated by totally abysmal psychological preparation, that they lost all five Test matches badly, winning only one of seven ODI’s!
2009, v touring Bangladesh, WI endured similar fates when senior players, including Shiv Chanderpaul, refused to play for exact reasons as were present in 1998, Bangladesh thus winning its first series overseas.
But this new situation in India is quite different, a cricketing brotherhood in-fighting, openly eating itself alive, but, surprise, surprise, not fighting against WICB.

So, only WIPA could bring conclusions to, and emergence from, this morass; repairing itself, if that is indeed possible!

This is not WICB’s fault, even if this scenario is being played out under its purview, in full public view.
WICB, though, could pay directly and dearly for this, as India will not take this lightly.  International Cricket Council will be keenly listening too to developments.

If India confirms litigation against WICB, and ICC does sanction WI, where does that leave WI for ICC’s premier, blue-ribbon competition; World Cup 2015?

What shambles! Dogs and cats are never friends, as it is impossible for mongooses and snakes, especially cobras, to co-exist.

Could a “good” relationship between WICB, WIPA and especially players be of similar ilk?

Only time will tell in this present atmosphere of confusions, innuendos and refusals!  Enjoy!

First Published in the Kaieteur News of Guyana

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of GrenadaSports.

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About Colin Croft

Colin Croft, a cricket commentator and analyst, was part of the potent West Indian quartet of fast bowlers from the late 70s and early 80s.

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