June 24, 2011

West Indies cricket

Rebels, pariahs and misconceptions

Tariq Engineer

Lawrence Rowe had a stand named after him before the recent Test match between the West Indies and India at Sabina Park. Rowe took the opportunity to apologise for going on rebel tours of South Africa in 1982-83 and 1983-84. Another cricketer who went on the 1982 tour was Alvin Kallicharran, who never played for West Indies again. On his blog, He Tore a Hamstring, Kallicharran’s son Rohan launches a spirited and lengthy defence of his father’s actions, as well the others who went along, saying they did what they mainly to provide for their families and have nothing to apologise for because of it.

I take great umbrage with the statement that these men simply ‘sold out to the rand’ and that they just ‘went for money’. Do not get me wrong, I am not naive, and for each and every one of these players, money was a key aspect.

However, Kallicharran was not the only player to be mistreated by West Indian cricket. The likes of Collis King, Rowe himself, and Sylvester Clarke could all have been treated better. The simple fact is that they had to make a living, and the West Indies was not about to provide it.

In his blog entry, Rohan Kallicharran refers to this editorial from the Jamaica Gleaner, which questions the naming of a stand at Sabina Park after Rowe.

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Tariq Engineer is a former senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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