THE EDITOR: The WI cricket team, across all formats, now stands on the cusp of an unprecedented golden age in all of cricket's already glorious history. This is not my pie in the sky dream. It is solidly supported by the facts of the matter. The WI now has a pool of genius-level talent no other team could match for at least a decade.
Case in point, members of the WI world champion U19 team have in no meaningful way taken their places in the men's senior squads thus far, yet we convincingly humbled the mighty English Lions 2-0 in a Test series on home soil recently.
Apart from the recent U19 world champion team, the WI has a host of honest-to-goodness superior talent yet to transition to being regulars on the Caribbean's three senior men's teams, such as Shurfane Rutherford, Brandon King and Hayden Walsh Jr; with TT's veterans Darren Bravo and Jeremy Solozano waiting in the wings.
The tragic problem though, is that historically, the WI has arguably the cricketing world's worst track record at converting young genius players into legends, apart from T20 International play, in which WI have won two of the last three world cups.
We have miserably failed to cash in on blue chips like Lendl Simmons, Xavier Marshall, Dinesh Ramdin, and Jerome Taylor to name a precious few of many by nurturing them to greatness in Tests and ODIs.
One might very well argue where is the problem in this whole scenario? After all, T20 cricket is one of the fastest growing sporting spectacles with tremendous untapped global potential as an epic money spinner.
The reason the WI may struggle to once again take their place of honour in the longer format can be summed up in one word leadership. If coach Phil Simmons, is empowered by regional cricket selectors with the WI's best, to beat the world's best, then it is evident the WI is in for a golden age.
This is because Simmons is one of the best at his craft as evidenced by being short listed to coach the majestic Indian cricket teams recently. However, if Simmons is not armed with the WI's best cricketing talent, then the bust must continue!