A mere bunch of juveniles
There was little of the euphoria to be associated with an Australia visit, and generally speaking, the Dominica public did not exactly warm to the first Test match at Windsor Park, leaving the stands for the most part less than amply populated. Candidly, the exclusion of Shivnarine Chanderpaul from the West Indies side did much to leave the occasion bare of needed celebrity. It was an obvious time to have paid homage to a stalwart performer at a moment when there is much hunger for credible development of trustworthy talent. Emptiness is perhaps the only way to describe the "no contest" nature of default by the West Indies board in comparison with what the Indian cricket authorities did last year in providing a cavalcade of a retirement for Sachin Tendulkar. In essence we might continue easily to conclude we lack class in the Caribbean.
A proper send off for Chanderpaul might have assisted in lighting a much needed candle to attract the more conscientious members of our youth towards taking the sport of cricket seriously. Failure in this regard is lamentable and gave the committed public the feeling of a complete lack of sincerity towards what ought to matter. It is of little value to ask people to rally round the West Indies if you can find it in yourself to ignore the man who has for so many years laboured to provide backbone to our batting. The team which represented us for three days starting on Wednesday 3rd June, 2015, was described by some as a bunch of juveniles and leaves me pondering at endemic nature among us the tendency to abandon all responsibility for what is essentially desirable and discreet.
Australia won by nine wickets in three days and could arguably have done so in two days, had things taken a slightly different course. West Indies batted first and capitulated for 148 after being 50 for one wicket. Australia's response was similarly idiotic until they embarked on meaningful ninth and tenth wicket partnerships involving Voges, the oldest player in the match – and a debutante at that – making an undefeated century. It takes little to compute that an earlier dismissal of the Aussies when they were eight wickets down and still short of a real advantage early on the second day they could have expedited a record brevity to a completed match.
Richard "Pablo" Letang might easily sue for defamation of character. The pitch played very well, only the West Indies did not. Without any hesitation, I offer myself to be under grave difficulty to attach the label of "batsmen' in view of the sorry state of performance that was on display. The crowd in the eastern stand – representing the senior citizenry – after recovering from the pantomime enacted by Ramdin and his boys, everyone to a man and woman anguished for a hundred Chanderpauls any day! They saw the juveniles as fully geriatric.
My luck is to often suffer rebuke for my candid comments. This might continue unabated when I again single out Marlon Samuels, the top scorer for West Indies, for censure of a highly critical nature. Samuels was batting well, his brain seemingly fully engaged, as it ought to be, coming in at No. 4 and the clear need for a strong rearguard action to counter the sizeable lead on first innings by Australia. A century for him beckoned as night follows day. Only thing needed was for him to stay focussed and maintain a resolve to keep doing exactly what he was doing so well.
The Australians proceeded to use their pacers to dry up the runs and posted a fielder on the backward of square boundary, a very obvious indication an invitation was on the cards for the bouncer to be hooked. Too true is the saying "cricket is for the most part played above the shoulders," (meaning the head). At the very first offer of the very high bouncer Samuels took the bait and hooked. The fielder did not move a millimetre, took the catch and the fielding side in conscience were loathe to exult at the excessively naïve stupidity of a batsman electing to turn his back on the prospect of a century, and a possible double century posted on the menu!
Perhaps no one has told Samuels. The late Sir Clyde Walcott scored five centuries in a series against the visiting Australians in 1955, without ever accepting the inducements to hook that were generously provided by Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller, Ron Archer and others. Willingness to hook can only be suicide against quality pace – when your team is very much in trouble. The responsible batsman elects for himself a rigidly sensible code of conduct. We can't say there was any sign of any code embraced by the West Indies batsmen, and this cannot be encouraging to the new coach Phil Simmons.
It is a trend equally to be of some concern to sociologists in the Caribbean. Very much the modern trend among West Indian youth is a brash disrespect for lofty ideals, particularly that of regard for one's elders. It is a failing to have proper regard for self, for team, for authority, for community and for country. Values mean little. It is this erosion of values that has brought us to such low ebb in our performances.
We will be paid anyway, appears to be the debasing attitude of our players. And when it comes to counting upon our Dominican players to answer the call to rise up and bring measures of proper sensibility to addressing the West Indies cricket situation, we cannot be too encouraged. Just remember only a short time ago a team turned up for a national senior championship match with only seven players and returned to the stadium on the second day with nine players! Would that be a sign of hope? More still, we have not heard of anything from our Dominica Cricket authorities – no strictures or censure of any kind! Maybe we are all juveniles through and through.