THE West Indies cricket team has traversed into the abyss so much they are now like Bill Cosby, once at the peak of their powers they were the pinnacle of their craft and now, very hard to take seriously, equally useless, untalented and not really appropriate for anyone underage.
For decades, where cricket in this country was the greatest game of all, where the Australian captain held the highest office in the land and not the PM, a touring Windies side would grip the nation.
From the 70s to the 90s, they were borderline unbeatable, wickedly entertaining to watch and at times downright scary to face.
Now, they limp around a cricket oval like a piece of steak you put in the microwave to defrost but give it two more minutes than it needed.
Totally bereft of orchestrating an innings with the bat, somewhere between Buckley’s chance and none of threatening to take down a side cheaply with the ball and their fielding is as coordinated as falling down stairs with crutches.
Their body language makes Matthew Richardson in the late 90s look like he should’ve been Richmond captain and to make matters worse their best players are in the country but appearing on Channel 10, not Channel 9.
It’s an old fashioned doozy but it be rude not to use it here too – if the West Indies were a small business there’d most certainly have been a small office fire there weeks ago.
If it wasn’t for James Pattinson twice doing, well, a Bill Cosby, and overstepping the line with ball in hand, the men from the Caribbean probably would have faced their second innings defeat in two tests, an absolute shocker and the worst series result in their rather storied history.
Such a bloody shame.
We now face the equally storied New Year’s Sydney test on Sunday with trepidation, we are well aware that anything past the third day is a bonus and that God forbid the Windies bat first it could be well over faster than an elected Prime Minister’s tenure.
So can it be rescued, can this once glorified sporting team rise again something somewhat more intimidating than a Richmond midfielder armed with a chopstick?
To quote the title of British rock band Oasis’ debut album, “definitely maybe”.
It starts and ends with the governance of West Indies cricket.
When Cricket Australia meets for a board meeting it’s done in expensive, tailored suits at 9:30 in the morning, a weekday morning, in a professionally furnished boardroom which has a mahogany table, ergonomic chairs and the option of two different waters presented as refreshments.
One gets the impression the West Indies Cricket Board, despite it being 2015, still has board meetings on the back of boat, in deckchairs, somewhere floating off Kingston, Jamaica, with plenty of rum to go around, some ‘herbs’ and local girls who are well equipped to provide the romantic and nourishing Caribbean hospitality that attracts thousands of unhappily married English chaps summer after summer.
It worked in the old days when Sir Vivian Richards was able to handle the pressure of seeing to as many local girls by night in between the days of a test match and still notch up hundreds but now that lifestyle doesn’t work, look at ex-Australian captain Michael Clarke, he had a go with Lara Bingle for five minutes and it was as successful as Chelsea trying to defend their league title.
What these esteemed West Indies board members need to do is spend some time on their work/life balance and put down the Malibu and actually grow some kahunas the size of the coconuts to which their beloved rum comes from because the solutions to their competitiveness is already on our shores.
Andre Russell is singlehandedly making the Sydney Thunder more popular than the West Sydney Wanderers, Chris Gayle is using a gold bat because guess what, his talent permits the showmanship, Dwayne Bravo is much better at cricket than being a rapper, the people of Adelaide love Kieron Pollard so much they think he is actually here (but he isn’t) and Darren Sammy has actually given the people of Tasmania a reason to smile.
All five of these players, along with the likes of Lendl Simmons, Samuel Badree and chuck in a suspended Sunil Narine would automatically make the West Indies competitive in the test arena.
Would they be winning tours, hell no, but add those properly talented individuals to the likes of Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor and suddenly there’s some snap, crackle and pop about the tourists.
A good administration can get this ship in order. There is no doubt that the Windies players running around the Big Bash have nothing against playing for their country, they would love to, Chris Gayle even jokingly said at the age of 36 he has brought his creams with him just in case something can turn around.
It’s a divide between the Barcadi-necking, dollar-bill flashing, party-time West Indies cricket board members who see every night as a Bucks night and their players who have really had their choices made for them by the circus that runs their national sport.
Time for the drunks at West Indies cricket to stop passing out on the sand and perhaps put a line in it instead, and get the best eleven players at their disposal on the same park at the same time, and not Darren Bravo on during the day whilst the other ten appear in prime time with Mark Howard and Andrew ‘bloody’ Maher.