Why not dream big with our cricket
It is opportune to offer congratulations to Liam Sebastien and the rest of the Dominica team for having won the Windward Islands Cricket Tournament, doing so in fairly good style commensurate with the bare fact of the matches having been staged on a 2-day format. My intention is to seek interviews with Sebastien – prudence dictating this as the last time of my seeking discourse with administrative elements in the Dominica Cricket Association, after we had lost badly, I was repeatedly ducked by the team manager, and the president roundly told me he didn't have the time in view of the imminence of general elections (at the national level)! If our losing provoked a fear of discussion, our winning may possibly promote a sense of irritation at my daring to ventilate anything which ought to be deemed commonplace.
A safe concurrence with this arises, but encouragement is urged out of the breadth of mental outlook zoning in from Liam's academic posture. He is, from what I have heard, a fairly good thinker, and while a strength of erudition does not necessarily equate with success in a game like cricket, it certainly does not hurt to have the benefit of having substance above the shoulders. This, perhaps is where we may have gone wrong in the immediate past – even at Caribbean levels.
At one time Dominica had won the Windward's championship 19 out of twenty-five times – a regularity making the public rather blasé about achievement of the sort! Agreed! Winning over our close brethren St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada should indeed stand as automatic, as night follows day. What we need now is to go further stages in the success cycle. Winning must be underlined as clearly and conclusively to the point where we imperatively secure the lion's share of places on the Windward's team, thus, positioning our players to advance their ambitions further – much further at the international arenas.
Don't count it an aberration, but to make my point let me draw reference to two matches, not taking place within our immediate sphere of influence but in Barbados, and not within recent times. The year was 1944, as many as 71 years ago. Barbados batted first and scored 226. Trinidad replied with 211. With their 15 runs lead Barbados scored 230 and succeeded in bowling out their opponents for 146 to win by 101 runs. The match ended in three days.
How much a part was played by the weather, I am not certain. However, four days later Trinidad batted first in the return engagement and declared at 490 for 8. Undaunted, Barbados responded with 650 for 3 as Sir Frank Worrell, 308 not out and John Goddard, 218 not out, provided answer to Jeffrey Stolmeyer's 210, and Gerry Gomez 94 posted for Trinidad.
Young Sebastien will instantly sense what I am driving at, not failing to gather my postulation as to the extent of both physical and mental strength that is applicable in really top notch regional performance.
Our salutation "young Sebastien" is offered to differentiate between himself and his dad Mr. Lockhart Sebastien, and not really to mirror him in position of lesser maturity. Bear in mind Worrell's 308 not out in February of 1944 was notched up some months short of his 20th birthday!
If we adjust our frame of perspective, then, it allows us to accord sensible setting for young Jerlani Robinson's recent tournament score of 167. To this I would tell the youngster he has too long denied himself this kind of success – considered to be his of right, and certainly well within his capability, if only he would bring himself under the self control displayed in an earlier era by his grandfather Mr. Clem John.
The manner in which I have ventured to address the factor of potential surrounding the Dominica cricket team stems from my unshakable conviction that there is no absence of inherent talent in our players, and here my specific concern lies with our batting. It is not good enough to be satisfied with excellence just above that displayed by the St. Lucians, Vincentians and Grenadians. We must aim to transcend exceptionally well above whatever is comfortable in our immediate environment. Our yardstick should measure with not excelling to make the Windwards representative team, but to capture places in the West Indies side.
And don't think I am satisfied with mere filling of slots for West Indies. I can only be happy if our selectees to West Indies go on to make themselves big names world-wide. For this to happen, the Dominica Cricket Association must play its part by moving to endeavour to remedy the absurdity of the Windwards tournament grotesquely constricted into a 2-day format. Two days conforms with ordinary league cricket matches and nothing else!
If our club teams fail to measure up to 2-day match schedules we must work to remedy this, and not close our eyes to such inane foolishness. All this I have said is intended to fill the scope of Liam Sebastien's superior thinking in conformity with his educated standpoint. His position in relation to our national cricket academy certainly must be predicated on a new order of excellence. He is definitely in position to convince our current emerging talent of the ability of cricket to provide the pathway to exceptional financial opportunity – opportunity such as may have eluded all of our previous players. We must dream big! That said, we must apply the dimension of work ethic sensible to the cause of dynamic growth in Dominica's cricket.