November 30, 2000

Finding a solution

The West Indies have faltered even further into oblivion last week as they crashed and burned at the feet of the towering Australians who equaled the all-time record of 11 consecutive wins (set by the West Indies in 1984/85). Being defeated once again, this time by a margin of an innings and 126 runs, the West Indies have hit an all time low that seems to be sliding deeper and deeper into the world cricket stage.

The devastating aspect of the West Indies' latest defeat is that there wasn't even a hint of competition. The West Indies were totally obliterated inside three days and could only muster 82 and 124 in their first and second innings respectively. Total devastation must be creeping in on the West Indies' players as they have the pride of millions of fans resting solely on their weakening shoulders.

"We just didn't cut it. It's as simple as that," conceded a devastated Adams.

"We're very disappointed with the result. Without a doubt," he added.

"It is a big challenge. Certainly, we are up against one of the better teams in the world, playing at home and in their conditions. Ultimately, as individuals we want to test ourselves against a unit like Australia."

Testing themselves is about all that is left for the West Indies' players to do. The focus of the tour should now be taken away from winning, if the focus was ever there, and turned to securing moral victories, confidence, building for the future and the reassurance that every individual understands that the path to the top will not be completed within a year, a couple of years, five years and maybe not even a decade.

As I have written in previous articles, 'Time Must Be Given.' It is obvious that the West Indies will not secure victory in Australia and that when they lose, they will most likely lose miserably. The wealth of natural, gifted and flamboyant cricketers no longer exists within the West Indies and criticism must be turned away from the test team but towards other avenues that can help to re-establish a high level of cricket within the Caribbean.

The West Indies Cricket Board cannot do it all on their own. They are a body that attempts to ensure that cricket in the Caribbean survives and continues to progress. However, we are all West Indians and we all have our part to play. The WICB are not ever present and they cannot spread their tentacles deep into the heartland of West Indian nations. Parents, schools and ultimately Governments must be held responsible if the West Indies do not regain the optimum spot in world cricket within the next ten years. The seeds must be sewn and given time to sprout and bloom. It is time to turn to where it all started and forget about where the end result will lie. The cultivation of our future heroes and ultimately the top spot in world cricket domination lies within each and every cricketing household through the region.

Our sole uniting force is in tatters and is hanging by the thin threads of a dying hope. It is time for a greater force than the test team and the WICB to take responsibility for what has slowly turned into a dark nightmare of monstrous proportions. The problem will not be solved now, nor tomorrow and will only be solved when individual countries begin to work towards the greater whole.

Our test team may be shattered and young children throughout the region may not have much to stay up at night for but positive action must be taken to counteract this. Our players are facing an inevitable series defeat at the hands of the strongest and most cohesive unit in world cricket to date. Support can only be given. Anyone who continues to criticise is ignorantly re-hashing the obvious weak test team that we have no choice but to play at the present moment. Energy must be optimised in alternate directions; for instance, finding a solution to the overall problem.