West Indies June 1, 2010

Heat, rage and yet more defeat

It’s pretty out in Dominica, but on the ground it’s all a shambles
27


Gayle: astute readers would know from the curve of his eyebrows that he's thinking about marshmallows, axe murderers and interior decor at this moment © AFP
 

There have to be more games in Dominica. In contrast to some of the windswept new constructions we have seen elsewhere in the Caribbean, which appear to have been thrown up on marshland in the most inhospitable parts of the island, this was a beautiful locale, surely challenging the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala as the most stunning cricket venue in the world. The camera spent as much time lingering over the tree-carpeted mountains and the port of Roseau as it did pointing at the cricket.

And there was a full house. It took time for the ground to fill up, but then this was Sunday and there was church business to attend to. But by the time Chanderpaul had dropped anchor, the ground was full of parasol-wielding Dominicans, fanning themselves with scorecards and, away from the well-behaved stands, dancing, singing and causing a racket with a range of musical instruments, from a wheezy trombone to what appeared to be a small plastic horn attached to a length of garden hose.

It looked furiously hot out there. The occasional shots of the interior of the island, particularly the ice-cool emerald pool and the teeming waterfalls, were a welcome relief from watching all that perspiration. The South African jerseys appeared to be a mottled affair in three shades: dark green, light green and sweaty green. For a while Jacques Kallis, standing motionless at slip, reminded me of nothing so much as an enormous overfed lizard basking in the sun.

Chris Gayle doesn’t sweat, of course, but he was fuming. How can you tell? It is all in the angle of the head. Experienced Gayle watchers have learned to spot by the inclination of the Gayle cranium whether he is ecstatic with joy or about to strangle someone with his bare hands. Sulieman Benn, unfortunately, has not picked up this useful skill, and so when he refused to bowl around the wicket as outside his competence, he was informed by his captain that his services were no longer required.

Was he within his rights? Is this an anti-Barbadian stance? Or is it just the kind of thing that happens when it is just too damn hot and you’re losing 0-4? The heat gets people riled up, makes them want to lash out. During the course of the afternoon’s play, even the Bish became irritated and, temporarily abandoning his lofty perch of judgement, came down into the valley, fists swinging as he railed against administrators, players, selectors and everyone who has played their part in achieving the squalid status quo.

As ever when these Titans of Caribbean Cricket thunder their condemnation, it was hard to disagree, but equally hard to see what is going to change. The talent is there, it forces its way through, and there are plenty more like Darren Bravo and Adrian Barath. But when these talented youngsters get to the top, just as with England in the nineties, they find they are on their own. When the best thing to have happened to West Indies cricket in the last decade is a Texan fraudster with delusions of grandeur, then the writing is on the wall.

On Sunday the gods of cricket even played a nasty little trick on the home side, luring them into believing that they might, despite their jaded fielding and slow-motion batting, be able to win after all. The crowd, desperate to see a home win, delayed their exit. Incredibly, South Africa still needed one to win off the final ball. Then the inevitable misfield, fumble and act of frustration, as Bravo gave the stumps a good smack. The people of Dominica sighed and mundane normality was returned. They deserve better. They may have to wait a while.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ricardo leacock on June 2, 2010, 21:54 GMT

    Suileman Benn was wrong . Any employee who fails to do as the "boss" orders has provided grounds for dismissal. to say you cannot do it due to incompetence is admitting that you are in the wrong job in the first place.That aside, how long has Chris Gayle been told of his chancy, carefree, irresponsible batting? i think it was maybe the 2nd or 3rd one day against SA where he was dropped twice and still didn't change his approach. He fell shortly after, offering a third catch and leaving the team in trouble. My point? Nonone seems able to tell him how to bat, he does as he chooses in that department, so how is it you send a guy off the field when he refuses to let you dictate how he should bowl? Double standards !I'll not be shocked when Samuels is rushed back in.Insularity and double standards will be the death of this team. Oh sorry, its already dead!

  • Srikanth on June 2, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    The Gayle-Benn confrontation could surely have been avoided. Goes against the spirit of the Carribbean. I have always enjoyed the calypso brand of cricket - pure sportsmanship irrespective of winning or losing. Their captains always used to say -May the better team win, at a time when others were saying, May the better team win (may 'we' be the better team). From the invincibles under Lloyd to the occassionally brilliant under Lara the decline has been rapid. Their strength which lay in bowling and producing tall fast bowlers is now a thing of the past. With Ambrose and Walsh's retirement all was lost. Agreed that today's bunch has the talent, but the determination and the ability to gel as a team is missing. Occassionally a Bravo celebration and a Gayle jig still reminds us that not all is lost and the Calypso brand of cricket - fearsome, entertaining and inspiring- will re-emerge. Hoping for that day soon.

  • sultan ally on June 2, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    The captaincy should be wrested from Gail. He is not creative, he is not inspirational, he is not a leader. He is a very god batsman. Give the captaincy to Ganga. He will lead this side to some victories. He connot do any worse than many of those who have been tried in the middle. sultan

  • Carlisle Jno Baptiste on June 2, 2010, 1:56 GMT

    Great piece of writing as a Dominican Journalist, I totally agree with it....

    Thanks for the writing you have done justice to us in Dominica and do come back again.

    Cheers

  • allan simpson on June 2, 2010, 1:29 GMT

    It has to be a very tough call on a captain to ask his player to exit the field and it only reflects the altitude of intolerance and discontentment of what is going on.The west indies team has found themselves in alot good positions,they dismissed South Africa for two low totals in the T20 and lost,then scoring in excess of 300 and giving it away.One has to understand that despite what happens,the captain has to shoulder the responsibilities of the team's performance,he has to face the post match interview and justify what went on the field.It cannot be acceptable that at International Level,a specialist bowler cannot fulfil his captain's rerquest especially with a string of losses,your team in a good position to finally pull one off and the bowlers can't do it.That's grossly inconceivable.I think your actions are justified sir!

  • Frosty on June 2, 2010, 0:54 GMT

    Gayle did the correct thing, losing is bad enough, disobedience in the ranks is criminal - Benn has been playing in these temperatures all his life so he has to be put in the cooler and thought a lesson before he runs out of leash................

  • Observer on June 2, 2010, 0:41 GMT

    Dominica.. Beautiful island. Great cricket game. Great article.

  • Anonymous on June 2, 2010, 0:11 GMT

    Viv (Sir) Richards did that to Richard Gabriel in a test matchh in Australia, The latter having misfielded a ball which went to the boundry. But Chris gale is no Viv Richards!

  • Bajan Man on June 1, 2010, 22:38 GMT

    Sulieman Benn should never be allowed to play cricket for the West Indies again. He should not be allowed to represent Barbados again either. He is a disgrace to West Indies cricket.

  • Hollis Hosein on June 1, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    If we lose after a real fight , then there is hope. There may be other options to discipline Benn but sending him packing off the field is one that I am fully in agreement.Joey Carew sent Richard Gabriel off for misfielding. Its a pity Benn wasn't sent home and there are others in this team to go.

  • ricardo leacock on June 2, 2010, 21:54 GMT

    Suileman Benn was wrong . Any employee who fails to do as the "boss" orders has provided grounds for dismissal. to say you cannot do it due to incompetence is admitting that you are in the wrong job in the first place.That aside, how long has Chris Gayle been told of his chancy, carefree, irresponsible batting? i think it was maybe the 2nd or 3rd one day against SA where he was dropped twice and still didn't change his approach. He fell shortly after, offering a third catch and leaving the team in trouble. My point? Nonone seems able to tell him how to bat, he does as he chooses in that department, so how is it you send a guy off the field when he refuses to let you dictate how he should bowl? Double standards !I'll not be shocked when Samuels is rushed back in.Insularity and double standards will be the death of this team. Oh sorry, its already dead!

  • Srikanth on June 2, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    The Gayle-Benn confrontation could surely have been avoided. Goes against the spirit of the Carribbean. I have always enjoyed the calypso brand of cricket - pure sportsmanship irrespective of winning or losing. Their captains always used to say -May the better team win, at a time when others were saying, May the better team win (may 'we' be the better team). From the invincibles under Lloyd to the occassionally brilliant under Lara the decline has been rapid. Their strength which lay in bowling and producing tall fast bowlers is now a thing of the past. With Ambrose and Walsh's retirement all was lost. Agreed that today's bunch has the talent, but the determination and the ability to gel as a team is missing. Occassionally a Bravo celebration and a Gayle jig still reminds us that not all is lost and the Calypso brand of cricket - fearsome, entertaining and inspiring- will re-emerge. Hoping for that day soon.

  • sultan ally on June 2, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    The captaincy should be wrested from Gail. He is not creative, he is not inspirational, he is not a leader. He is a very god batsman. Give the captaincy to Ganga. He will lead this side to some victories. He connot do any worse than many of those who have been tried in the middle. sultan

  • Carlisle Jno Baptiste on June 2, 2010, 1:56 GMT

    Great piece of writing as a Dominican Journalist, I totally agree with it....

    Thanks for the writing you have done justice to us in Dominica and do come back again.

    Cheers

  • allan simpson on June 2, 2010, 1:29 GMT

    It has to be a very tough call on a captain to ask his player to exit the field and it only reflects the altitude of intolerance and discontentment of what is going on.The west indies team has found themselves in alot good positions,they dismissed South Africa for two low totals in the T20 and lost,then scoring in excess of 300 and giving it away.One has to understand that despite what happens,the captain has to shoulder the responsibilities of the team's performance,he has to face the post match interview and justify what went on the field.It cannot be acceptable that at International Level,a specialist bowler cannot fulfil his captain's rerquest especially with a string of losses,your team in a good position to finally pull one off and the bowlers can't do it.That's grossly inconceivable.I think your actions are justified sir!

  • Frosty on June 2, 2010, 0:54 GMT

    Gayle did the correct thing, losing is bad enough, disobedience in the ranks is criminal - Benn has been playing in these temperatures all his life so he has to be put in the cooler and thought a lesson before he runs out of leash................

  • Observer on June 2, 2010, 0:41 GMT

    Dominica.. Beautiful island. Great cricket game. Great article.

  • Anonymous on June 2, 2010, 0:11 GMT

    Viv (Sir) Richards did that to Richard Gabriel in a test matchh in Australia, The latter having misfielded a ball which went to the boundry. But Chris gale is no Viv Richards!

  • Bajan Man on June 1, 2010, 22:38 GMT

    Sulieman Benn should never be allowed to play cricket for the West Indies again. He should not be allowed to represent Barbados again either. He is a disgrace to West Indies cricket.

  • Hollis Hosein on June 1, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    If we lose after a real fight , then there is hope. There may be other options to discipline Benn but sending him packing off the field is one that I am fully in agreement.Joey Carew sent Richard Gabriel off for misfielding. Its a pity Benn wasn't sent home and there are others in this team to go.

  • MERV on June 1, 2010, 22:33 GMT

    i am a DOMINICAN living in the UK and was thrilled to see the homeland looking the sight that it is ....BEAUTIFUL.....additionally I was overjoyed to witnessed the locals coming out to show there support for the team...shame that we ould not have got that miralcle win

  • al Edwards on June 1, 2010, 20:21 GMT

    I certainly do not appreciate the comment made about the stadiums in the rest of the Caribbean.

    I think that you are out of order sir with the greatest respect.

    most of the stadiums were built for the ICC world Cup of 2007 and in most cases with the approval of the ICC.

    Why didn't you spend more time dealing with the substantive issue of you article the heat and rage of Benn vs Gayle and yet another defeat

  • Justin on June 1, 2010, 20:16 GMT

    I found Gayle's actions to be really funny.

  • Deryck Richardson on June 1, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    When a visitor can come and put his pulse on what is happening to W I Cricket and the Board seems not to have a clue then the tirades of the once proud greats will continue . The people must take back WI cricket , the local boards must send able representatives to contribute to the greater good , too many favours are being handed out to cronies , local businesses and governments must contribute to a better education system inclusive of a proper sports policy .

    The great history of our cricket must be included in the syllabus at schools, our proud history is vanishing before our eyes and fools sit idly by!!! , as they say 'Nero fiddles while Rome burns "

  • peter goring on June 1, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    West indies! I cannot find it on the map. Years ago there was West indies, But the politicians put paid to that. Now it is a collection of island states. WI cannot enter in any other sports as WI , only cricket.Years ago, we were all one WI, under the British flag. All the great cricketers og the70s and 80s were born under the unified flag and they knew how to band together to "fight" for the team. Now, what do we have? a collection of individuals from 9 differant countries 9 anthems 9 flags.We will never

  • vivek on June 1, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    "For a while Jacques Kallis, standing motionless at slip, reminded me of nothing so much as an enormous overfed lizard basking in the sun. "

    Reading too many reptilian conspiracy theories, eh?

  • Michael shortte on June 1, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    Agreed1 Enough said.

  • i man on June 1, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    every country in the world who plays sports knows a chimpionship team take years to put together and then they last about 12 years together some times lest and they fade away. the WI have been building since 95 and we are lower that where we started. what is wrong. i do not want to think about what is wrong there are too many things to talk about. but what is right, well let us support gale and invest in the younger players and let us stand with them. i am sorry we just do not have men who are strong and confident about their cricket.

  • S.Basdeo on June 1, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    Gayle don't play as if he wants to win.He is no longer a team player.HE BECAME CAPTAIN WHEN SARWAN WAS INJURED AND THE SELECTORS WHO BELIEVE THEY ARE GODS OF WI CRICKET,KEPT HIM ON DESPITE HIS DISMAL SHOWING IN THAT ROLE. Darren Ganga in everyone's view ,except the tin gods,and by his ability to lead and his reading of the game should have been made captain a long time ago. SillymanBenn ought to be severely reprimanded and given a permanent rest for his insubordination.No silly excuses must be made for his stupidity and indiscipline.WI will rise again when the tin gods are fired and the right selections are made.

  • earl maragh on June 1, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    Fingers can be pointed at everyone within the cricketing fraternityof the West Indies team. However, until a captain, who is astute, imaginative, inspiring, motivating and being able to interact in an interpersonal way with the players on the field, then W.I cricket will be mired in embarassing performances for years to come. Gayle's attitude on the field appears to be very selfish. His appointment as captain, can be deemed,by default. With his record as captain, anywhere else in the cricket playing countries, he would be removed and a long term team building process starts. No one else as captain can do worse than Gayle! How low can you go?It is said that Gayle is cool, but on the other hand, it can be said that he is so cool that it translates into laziness. That's the reason why he vouches for the T20 over the other forms of the games, not too many skills are put into play . Gayle lacks attention span. Just look at his most recent approach to playing in the 50 over matches .

  • Sean Kelly on June 1, 2010, 14:53 GMT

    Gayle should throw himself off the field. It's not like he's setting their batting ablaze. He has been one of the real disappointments of the series.

    In South Africa we have an expression which best sums up their attitude, "Slapgat!" It's a little rude, but it means lazy, disinterested and disappointing.

  • Akheel on June 1, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    Yes Andrew, We'll pray en mass for a better WINDIES show in the coming Tests. BTW, you would'nt be meeting Kallis any time soon hah :-) ?

  • dominica lover on June 1, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    Having visited Dominica 10 years ago, and know where this ground is situated, I'd echo Andrew Hughes remarks about Dominica as a venue. Go for the cricket, stay for the sightseeing and scuba diving.

  • Lucky malabie on June 1, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    its a shame looking at what is happening with the WI cricket, they are playing like they don't want to win, The misfield and poor bowling is nor helping the campaign against a relatively fair SA attack. SA should not have won the 4th ODI, i guess there is more drubbing in store for WI if they keep on playing like they are now

  • Danyal Rasool on June 1, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    "So much as an overfed lizard basking in the Sun." Classic.

  • Alex Farooque on June 1, 2010, 10:02 GMT

    You are not seriously putting this article under satire, are u?

  • Paul on June 1, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    It started going downhill when the likes of Phil Simmons, Sherwin Campbell and a host of others failed to replace Greenidge and Haynes. Richie Richardson faded away and inevitably Carl Hooper, Brian Lara, Walsh and Ambrose came to the end of their careers. It's difficult to keep replacing players of this quality, but I think a lot of it has been down to poor management and bad luck with injuries.

    They're missing a partner for Gayle but they have tha talent if managed properly. Bravo, Chanderpaul, Sarwan....what happened to Nash? That's a potentially solid batting lineup and with Roach, Taylor, Benn and Edwards they have the capability of taking twenty wickets. Again, if managed properly......but I don't think they have been.

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  • Paul on June 1, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    It started going downhill when the likes of Phil Simmons, Sherwin Campbell and a host of others failed to replace Greenidge and Haynes. Richie Richardson faded away and inevitably Carl Hooper, Brian Lara, Walsh and Ambrose came to the end of their careers. It's difficult to keep replacing players of this quality, but I think a lot of it has been down to poor management and bad luck with injuries.

    They're missing a partner for Gayle but they have tha talent if managed properly. Bravo, Chanderpaul, Sarwan....what happened to Nash? That's a potentially solid batting lineup and with Roach, Taylor, Benn and Edwards they have the capability of taking twenty wickets. Again, if managed properly......but I don't think they have been.

  • Alex Farooque on June 1, 2010, 10:02 GMT

    You are not seriously putting this article under satire, are u?

  • Danyal Rasool on June 1, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    "So much as an overfed lizard basking in the Sun." Classic.

  • Lucky malabie on June 1, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    its a shame looking at what is happening with the WI cricket, they are playing like they don't want to win, The misfield and poor bowling is nor helping the campaign against a relatively fair SA attack. SA should not have won the 4th ODI, i guess there is more drubbing in store for WI if they keep on playing like they are now

  • dominica lover on June 1, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    Having visited Dominica 10 years ago, and know where this ground is situated, I'd echo Andrew Hughes remarks about Dominica as a venue. Go for the cricket, stay for the sightseeing and scuba diving.

  • Akheel on June 1, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    Yes Andrew, We'll pray en mass for a better WINDIES show in the coming Tests. BTW, you would'nt be meeting Kallis any time soon hah :-) ?

  • Sean Kelly on June 1, 2010, 14:53 GMT

    Gayle should throw himself off the field. It's not like he's setting their batting ablaze. He has been one of the real disappointments of the series.

    In South Africa we have an expression which best sums up their attitude, "Slapgat!" It's a little rude, but it means lazy, disinterested and disappointing.

  • earl maragh on June 1, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    Fingers can be pointed at everyone within the cricketing fraternityof the West Indies team. However, until a captain, who is astute, imaginative, inspiring, motivating and being able to interact in an interpersonal way with the players on the field, then W.I cricket will be mired in embarassing performances for years to come. Gayle's attitude on the field appears to be very selfish. His appointment as captain, can be deemed,by default. With his record as captain, anywhere else in the cricket playing countries, he would be removed and a long term team building process starts. No one else as captain can do worse than Gayle! How low can you go?It is said that Gayle is cool, but on the other hand, it can be said that he is so cool that it translates into laziness. That's the reason why he vouches for the T20 over the other forms of the games, not too many skills are put into play . Gayle lacks attention span. Just look at his most recent approach to playing in the 50 over matches .

  • S.Basdeo on June 1, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    Gayle don't play as if he wants to win.He is no longer a team player.HE BECAME CAPTAIN WHEN SARWAN WAS INJURED AND THE SELECTORS WHO BELIEVE THEY ARE GODS OF WI CRICKET,KEPT HIM ON DESPITE HIS DISMAL SHOWING IN THAT ROLE. Darren Ganga in everyone's view ,except the tin gods,and by his ability to lead and his reading of the game should have been made captain a long time ago. SillymanBenn ought to be severely reprimanded and given a permanent rest for his insubordination.No silly excuses must be made for his stupidity and indiscipline.WI will rise again when the tin gods are fired and the right selections are made.

  • i man on June 1, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    every country in the world who plays sports knows a chimpionship team take years to put together and then they last about 12 years together some times lest and they fade away. the WI have been building since 95 and we are lower that where we started. what is wrong. i do not want to think about what is wrong there are too many things to talk about. but what is right, well let us support gale and invest in the younger players and let us stand with them. i am sorry we just do not have men who are strong and confident about their cricket.