FORMER West Indies opening batsman, Philo Wallace was full of praises for captain Jason Holder and the West Indies after reclaiming the Wisden Trophy with a 2-1 Test series win over England.
Speaking at the History Fest 2019 held at the Alma Jordan Library, University of West Indies, St Augustine on Thursday Wallace said, “It is not too early to believe that Windies cricket has been revived, however it is important that we celebrate and enjoy the victory for Jason Holder and his team.”
The former hard-hitting right hand batsman added, “The team should be proud of their accomplishment in the just concluded series and they should be looking to strive for even better because this in only a stepping stone. Holder is now etched on the great walls of cricket, sitting as the best all-rounder in Test after the great Sir Garry Sobers. It is a tremendous achievement for the young man.”
The Barbadian, who played for West Indies between 1991-2000, said he felt nostalgic looking at Windies demolishing their English rivals in the first two Tests.
He said, “It was good memories of Windies dominance, starting with Deryck Murray`s era and continuing to the 1980s. If people come into your backyard they shouldn’t beat you despite what they ranked.”
Wallace said he was pleased to see the regional side reap success with a four-pronged pace attack of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Holder and Alzarri Joseph.
He said, “The guys in the past have laid a pathway for the young fellas to follow. History is good for us, in the earlier days when we dominated cricket we had four fast bowlers and a spinner, so there was no letting up of pressure. That is what we saw against England, there was pressure all over; the English found nowhere to escape. We kept coming to them. We went back to what worked for us as West Indians. We had four good fast bowlers who saw the importance of bowling fast and we had that support. It was nice cruel aggression; we were hitting them and smiling, and that is what West Indies cricket is all about.”
Wallace then boasted of what the recent success means to West Indians, “I can be recognized now in England because the West Indies team is playing well, I don’t have to shy away. The product is not dying but it is alive with passion and that is what cricket means to us in the region,” he said.
Speaking on the topic of experiences of cricket, colonialism and nationalism, Wallace shared a story about Sir Everton Weeks. He said, “When he was a young man he used to live just outside the Kensington Oval in Barbados and he used to climb up on the wall in the evening to watch the white men practice, but he could not go and practice because he was black – and this is the great Sir Everton Weeks.”
He continued, “We talk about colonialism but we need to break the shackles to show them we can stand on our own two feet. We must thank them for helping because they have played a part in our development, so I have to respect them. But I have a voice and I have put myself in position for my voice to be heard and that mode is through education. I believe CLR James' book, Beyond a Boundary, should be mandatory in secondary schools.”
He jokingly concluded, “Winning cricket matches is important. Going to party and having a drink is all fine, but when you come second you don’t feel good. The drinks and foods taste better, everything is better with a victory.”