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Oh no, not my beloved West Indies
Tony Becca, Contributor
Kemar Roach is a promising bowler he looks like one for the future, he should develop into a good fast bowler and, hopefully, he will take many, many wickets for the West Indies.
Regardless of how many wickets he takes, however, even if he takes a few hundreds, he should not claim one of them, at least half of one, and probably even three-quarters of one.
That is the one he was credited for taking on Tuesday in Dominica against Bangladesh in the second one-day international (ODI).
Replying to the West Indies 274 for six, Bangladesh were easing along at 64 for one when Roach bowled a nice, juicy, half-volley, on the leg-stump, to Tamim Iqbal.
With his eyes opening up, the left-hander flicked the ball and, with everyone looking towards the boundary, there was a loud, ear-shattering noise.
In the twinkling of an eye, like a flash of lightning, David Bernard Jr, fielding at mid-wicket near to the circle, took off, like Superman, and with the ball sailing high and away to his left, plucked it out of the sky with his left hand before falling to the ground, and then getting up, his arms outstretched like a conquering general, to be serenaded by his ecstatic colleagues who dashed to him from everywhere on the field.
The West Indies lost the match, but it was a catch which, if not the best, will rank with the best that I have ever seen - including the one by Jonty Rhodes at square-leg to dismiss Brian Lara off David Terbrugge in Durban in 1998.
Bernard's feat will live with me for a long time, and especially so as, being a West Indian, there was nothing, as far as I am concerned, to remember about the series, neither Test nor ODIs.
The team which represented my beloved West Indies was an excuse for a team - for a team that was once the best in the world, for a long, long time, unbeaten at that, and arguably the most successful team, the most feared unit, in the history of team sports.
Everyone knows that it was not the best set of West Indies players, everyone knows, based on the players who were unavailable, that it was the fourth or fifth West Indies team, and in their selections, in their choices, the selectors probably had no alternative.
That, probably, was the reason to call up a 16-year-old, an 18-year-old, and two 19-year-olds, not one of whom, like many before them in recent times, like Marlon Samuels and then Xavier Marshall for example, had anything, but for promise, or talent, to recommend their selection - not even in the present circumstances against a weak and young Bangladesh team, a squad that included one player, at age 27, over age 25, three 25-year-olds, and the rest, including one 19-year-old and two 20-year-olds, all below 20.
Of the West Indians selected - eight between ages 25 and 30, four between 32 and 37, six between 21 and 24, and, including three who were in the squad for both the Test matches and the ODIs, four between 16 and 19 - only a few looked good enough, even against a team like Bangladesh, to represent the West Indies.
The batsmen, especially, were weak.
But for Bernard and Devon Smith, who looked at sea to England's Graeme Swann up to a few weeks ago, not one of their batsmen looked good against the spinners of Bangladesh, some of the strokes they attempted to play, including some by Austin Richards, Omar Philips and Travis Dowling who made some runs at one time or another, were embarrassing if not hilarious and, on many occasions, only God saved them.
On top of that, like Richards, who was run out after an appeal for leg before wicket, like Fletcher, who, after driving through the covers for four, after seeing the wicketkeeper sending for his helmet and then going up to the stumps before the next delivery, played back to a good length delivery and was bowled by the following delivery, like Fletcher, again, who drove carelessly and recklessly at the first delivery in the innings from a spin bowler, from left-arm spin bowler Abdur Razzak, and skied a catch to cover, like Smith, who swiped at a good-length delivery and was bowled comprehensively in Friday's last match, and like Gavin Tonge, who ran himself out like he was a blind man, they looked totally out of their depth and were more like schoolboys.
Although the University of the West Indies appears to be honoured that five players who represent the institution were involved, even though Julian Hunte, the president of the board, and John Dyson, the coach of the team, have been showering praises on the players, the standard of play, the lack of good technique, especially so with the bat and in the field, and their appreciation of the finer points of the game, of protecting their wickets and running between the wickets, for example, underlined, once again, the poor level of cricket in the West Indies.
Keep the clubs alive
With the clubs in the middle of West Indies cricket, the series also magnifies the need for support of the clubs - the need to keep the clubs alive so that they can develop and produce good, rounded players.
The clubs, it should be remembered, are like finishing schools. They come into a young cricketer's life after his exposure to the game in the schools and before territorial representation - before first-class cricket, before Test cricket.
In an interview last week on CricInfo, Dwayne Bravo talked about the weakness of the West Indies board, the weakness of West Indies cricket, and what it was like when he got into the team.
It was so bad, he said, that all he could say was this: "This is it? This is all? It can't be like this."
It was like that, it is like that, and it will continue to be like that until the board changes its ways and take control of West Indies cricket and guide the players, including those selected to represent the West Indies.
West Indies players, for example, many of them, believe that they are not properly dressed for the game without earrings, gold chains, bangles, and dark glasses, and unless the glasses are necessary, the board should put a stop to it.
Now is the time to tell the players, all of them, young and old, junior and senior, star or no star, what is expected of them and what is not.
On Tuesday, 19-year-old Devon Thomas made his debut for the West Indies as the wicketkeeper, he came out with dark glasses, and one of the managers, the coach, or the captain, who himself sported two earrings, should have told him to take it off.
Maybe it did not matter, but the West Indies lost the match with one over to go - and that after four deliveries had slipped between Thomas' legs and running all the way to the boundary with the youngster shaking his head each time.
Later on, Thomas was asked to take off his pads, give away the gloves and to bowl. Just like the batsmen who field at slips with dark glasses but who do not bat with them, Thomas did not bowl with his dark glasses on.
He took them off probably because he needed to see the batsman and the wicket at which he was bowling.