THE EDITOR: The mimicking of pacer Cottrell’s victory march and salute on taking a wicket, by Mohammed Shammi of India, when Cottrell was adjudged LBW against Chahal, was the last straw for this West Indian fan.
For me, Shammi was not only mocking Cottrell and the rest of the team for their spineless capitulation. He was also mocking all Caribbean people whom these players represent, for cricket, historically, has been our only way, as former colonised peoples, to show our one-time masters that we can beat them at their own game. And this we did so often in the last decades of the 20th century.
Of course, change is inevitable in all things so that the present reversal is not unexpected, but if we go down with some dignity and pride, putting in everything even into a losing effort, Caribbean people will understand. Not that we are without talent. Beating Pakistan was talent and so was reducing Australia to 79 for 5.
Scoring 321 against Bangladesh was equally so as much as carrying the unbeaten New Zealand to the last over. But after Pakistan, we showed how, inept, ill-disciplined, indifferent and non-committal as a team we could be, snatching in each instance, defeat out of the jaws of victory.
Colin de Grandehomme of Australia who couldn’t even make a decent score in the recent IPL was allowed to carry on ad infinitum and even with a modest under 300 we couldn’t get the job against his team done. But a worst case scenario was Bangladesh.
At 133 for 3 , Shakeeb and Das, without a shred of anxiety or discomfort against our fast bowlers who, like kindergarten, knowing only what they learned by rote, failed to make the necessary adjustment away from the short ball which worked well before against the Pakistan and the Aussies, but was now ineffective on a placid pitch, persisting without success like a pack of jaded old men , just waiting for the end.
Not to mention the horrible indecisiveness of fast bowler Shannon Gabriel not taking the crucial catch off Shakeeb when he was 41 which would have made all the difference! Shakeeb went on to make over 150 and with Das, won the game for Bangladesh.
New Zealand was a tragic mistake, for he was scoring sixes and it seemed the logical way to go, but if only Brathwaite had applied some intelligence to once again, adjust, and sneak a single and wait for the last over when he would have been on strike, maybe I won’t be writing this letter.
In the final analysis, it all boils down to character as the sum total of discipline, dedication and the appreciation of the role of cricketers as ambassadors of peoples of the Caribbean who deserve their best efforts.
Included in this is a sense of pride in that sacred duty and a sense of shame when such duty is compromised, which makes me wonder if anyone in the dressing room felt ashamed when Cottrell was mocked by Shammi.
I had intended to end on a cynical note referring to the Peter principle which suggests that people can only operate at the level of their incompetence but I won’t, knowing that in the case of WI cricket such is a fallacy to which the accomplishments of Lloyd, Richards et al, and the now deceased Everton Weekes of the three Ws amply testify, maybe one day we shall return to those former days of glory!
Dr Errol N Benjamin