Three cheers for the team!
What the Trinbago Knight Riders demonstrated over the weekend was the importance of teamwork. No victory in cricket is possible without this. And all would do well to look upon the team as an example to emulate.
But additionally, Sunday’s thrilling victory over the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots showed us just how important it is for all individuals to persevere. Individual excellence is key to any team effort.
Who cannot be inspired by Man of the Match Kevon Cooper and his tearful admission of the struggles that led up to his pivotal performance? “Super Cooper” inspires with something that is unusual in the roughly-hewn domain of sport: vulnerability.
“Well for me, I was being emotional because I’ve been here with this team from day one – five years,” said Super Cooper. “I’ve been through ups and downs in my career with my bowling action…and a day like this, in a big final, to contribute to my team is always something special. It just shows I’m really a strong person. No matter what comes my way I always try to overcome that hurdle.” He took the Knight Riders across the finish line.
Congratulations to the team, including captain Dwayne Bravo, wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin – whose patient 26 not out from 31 balls also contributed to the victory – and new coach Simon Katich. The victory is the second for the team in five years, saying something about the consistency of its players as well as talent.
Perhaps the regional West Indies team can learn some lessons from the Trinbago Knight Riders. The West Indies has constantly been embroiled in conflict and notwithstanding occasional good results has never quite managed to shake off the perception of being in the doldrums. For long-suffering West Indies fans here, it is a particularly good feeling to be able to back a team that wins.
The venue of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) finals was also notable, representing a test of the newly-opened Brian Lara Academy. As with every major sporting event in the land, there were reports of traffic problems going into and after the match – a matter that calls for attention by the authorities. It is little use putting on a fun, word-class sporting event if all pleasure to be derived from it dissipates during the two-hour crawl away from the game in traffic.
What the Trinbago Knight Riders victory also highlights is the abundance of talent in the region, talent which does not always get a chance to shine on a regional level. Which begs the question: are the regional systems working properly to nurture, enhance and showcase talent; to put individuals to the test? Sport is a complex field, but in theory, if the Trinbago Knight Riders can be so good, why can’t the West Indies replicate this?
The local team places even more pressure on the region to place the West Indies Cricket Board under scrutiny.
Still, this year’s energetic tournament speaks to the changing face of the game where there is now a lot of attraction in relation to the T20 and One-Day International formats. The face of cricket has profoundly changed and it is good to see renewed interest in the sport. It is for the State, communities and civil society to capitalise on this and perhaps continue encouraging youth to turn to the sport.
Certainly, as “Super Cooper” demonstrated, we as a society can do with more positivity and can all benefit from the lessons the game teaches us about strength of character and personal achievement. Well done all!