October 25, 2009

Two thumbs up for T&T

The West Indian side's flair and skill has been the biggest selling point of the Champions League - and there's been plenty more

The Champions League tournament may not have done much for the image of IPL clubs but it has certainly boosted the profile of Trinidad and Tobago.

The exuberant and talented bunch from the Caribbean have constantly reminded fans why it's so important for the game that West Indies is a vibrant side. Throughout the tournament they've played calypso cricket like we haven't seen since the late sixties; sure West Indies were highly successful in the following three decades, but they were more clinical in that period, playing in a style designed to demoralise opponents. Daren Ganga's team played with a smile on their faces and fun in their hearts, while capturing the public imagination.

This team has the ability to deflate opponents with their big hitting and outrageously optimistic strokeplay, but by taking such risks they also keep the opposition interested. Despite playing in such a free-flowing manner there's an underlying discipline in the team that was epitomised by their sure-handed and at times brilliant fielding.

The captaincy of Ganga was one of the main reasons behind the vibrancy and spirit the Trinidad and Tobago team has shown in this tournament. His leadership is first class; he's proactive, prepared to gamble on hunches and has moulded a team that wants to play for its captain. The West Indies selectors could do worse than consider him for the international captaincy.

The fact that some of the younger T&T players are highly skilled makes you wonder why the West Indies batting has been so lacklustre of late. Surely if there is such talent lurking in Trinidad then the rest of the Caribbean can't be so bereft that the national selectors have to choose players who are out of their depth at the highest level.

T&T's glittering display is an indication that abysmal administration rather than a waning interest in the game is what's hampering cricket in the Caribbean. The sooner these issues are resolved and West Indies are back on track, the better. Cricket is a better place with teams like T&T strutting their stuff.

Apart from T&T lighting up the tournament, the Champions League also provided a snapshot of the cricket world's future. The Australian sides played exactly as expected: they were skillful, determined and didn't give their opponents much help. New South Wales was the best side in the competition and along with Victoria they showed that the first-class system in Australia is still a solid breeding ground.

There is talk of increasing the number of overseas players eligible to compete for the IPL teams in future Champions League tournaments. This could be a short-sighted move

Many reasons were proffered for the IPL teams failing to make a mark. Whatever the reality, it didn't boost the stocks of teams that cost a lot of money and are marketed on their star players and champion status. There is talk of increasing the number of overseas players eligible to compete for the IPL teams in future Champions League tournaments. This could be a short-sighted move. The fact that it wasn't only the international players who starred for NSW, T&T, Cape Cobras and Victoria shouldn't be lost on the organisers.

The Champions League has shown the young Indian players what's required to succeed in the upper echelons of the game, and their cricket should be the main beneficiary. The South African teams provided a typical performance. They played good cricket and were extremely athletic but appeared to freeze in the more important encounters. Nevertheless, their production line is in good working order and the import of some T&T "freedom of expression" would do wonders for their cricket.

Then we come to the English teams. It's not unfair to say the county teams played to expectations. They fell well short in areas of skill and temperament. In such crucial disciplines as pace bowling and power hitting they were out of their depth and typically complicated rather than simplified the game. The English counties would do well to look at the way young cricketers are developed and those who evaluate their skills. They are far too keen to embrace players from other countries who never quite made it with their previous outfits.

The inaugural Champions League tournament has been a huge success and has enormous potential to greatly benefit the future development of the game. Any game that can combine the skill and precision of NSW and the flair and fun-filled enjoyment provided by the T&T players must have a bright future.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aditya on October 28, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    According to me, India is best suited to produce players through the 'system'. Players like M S Dhoni, and Suresh Raina, are finished products, who have evolved through the 'system'. I don't think that Irfan Pathan went to a government sport's institution, in his early years, and nor did M S Dhoni, but they were coached very well. India's democratic system of disseminating sports instruction proves to be very effective, especially if the particular sport is well supported in the public domain. After the initial coaching, then the players go to the National Cricket Academy. About the cricket in the Carribbean, I too, feel, that the public is deprived of good cricket, when the West Indian team does not perform. I would back a youngster from the West Indies to become a big name in cricket, but apart from Brian Lara in recent years, the other players have not been of the same stature, during, and after Lara's tenure in the West Indies Cricket Team

  • Jagdesh on October 27, 2009, 18:17 GMT

    i noticed that at least a couple posters want sherwin ganga in the lineup. this is strange, since he has never been close to selection. it is only under his brother's captaincy that he has bowled more and is now a regular bowler for T&T. if you are looking for spinners i still believe that dave mohamed and amit jaggernauth should be in the team, or at least considered in the squad.

  • Jagdesh on October 27, 2009, 18:13 GMT

    Re: gottalovetheraindance - you say gayle has improved as a batsman. how much so? are you forgetting all the failures we get when it really matters? ganga is by nature a more defensive batsman, and i recall he has centuries against australia. the recent improvements in the west indies team are due to greater commitment by the players. it has nothing to do with gayle's captaincy, if you can call what he does "captaincy".

  • Ayyappan on October 27, 2009, 13:08 GMT


  • umair on October 27, 2009, 11:35 GMT

    any team missing in CLT20 ?

  • Avais on October 27, 2009, 1:58 GMT

    CL was not a flop, thanks to T&T boys but certainly wasn't a "great success" as no IPL team could made it to SF and no players from aurguably the best 20/20 national team ( Pakistan ) played in it.

    T& T is a very good regional side but not good enough to make a separate national side to play test or even ODI cricket, other than BD, zimb and Kenya.

    Ganga did a fantastic job as T&T's captain but he cannot make it to the WI team on his batting performance alone, so not a suitable candidate for WI captaincy.

  • Alex on October 27, 2009, 1:52 GMT

    Daren Ganga for president!. He was awsome with his changing bowlers and field placing. But having daren Ganga as captain upset Team balance. I think he can replace Ramnaresh sarwan but Guyana quota has to be filled up. I do believe West Indies need young blood to succeed. I will dump sarwan and pick young players. Adran barath , naveen stewart , simmons.

    Gayle, Bharath, Simmons, Chanderpaul ,Daren Ganga(captain), Dwayne Bravo, Ramdin,sherwin ganga, roach , tongue, edwards,taylor.

    Sarwan probably have better credentials than ganga as batsman but i think WICB won't select Ganga , it will continue with Gayle.

    Even with gayle they should dump sarwan and chanderpaul for ODI's. But they can play Test.

  • lucy on October 27, 2009, 1:33 GMT

    "I agree that Trinidad and Tobago were quite exceptional at the Airtel Champions League but what people need to remember is that this was a 2020 tournament."

    Oh please. T20 is the long overdue future. Just as ODIs financially supported Tests for three/four decades, T20 will be supporting the longer forms of the game in ten years' time. Get used to it! (PS: It was nice of you to mention the sponsors in your post. Very... telling.)

  • Andre on October 26, 2009, 23:51 GMT

    WICB has stated that the upcoming regional matches will be the basis of team selection and I certainly hope they stick to that. Yes, the CL was T20 and Test and ODI matches require different approaches, but in the end let performance be the main selection criterion. For far too long people have claimed that Daren Ganga's form has kept him out of the WI team, but over the last few years he has shown the ability to competently provide both stability and guidance in the top and middle order, and as such his past should not be a factor now. We also need to show faith in at least one other opener and spinner. We can't keep turning to Gayle alone. Our bowling attack desperately needs variety and venom. Re:Nipun There is no official quota on the amount of players from each country, selection should be by talent. Unfortunately WICB has a history of returning to players who fail to deliver hoping for returns eg Devon Smith. WI should take a page from England and drop dead weight

  • giovaughn on October 26, 2009, 22:55 GMT

    there are only 9 people who can confidently say they deserve a place in the team & they r: Gayle, Nash, Bravo, Ramdin, Taylor, Edwards, Benn, Sarwan & Chanderpaul. Morton& Deonarine have a lower Batting average than Ganga but they made over 1000 runs at an average of over 50 in regional cricket 08-09. Bharat, Bravo & Simmons made centuries Ganga made none these5 guys stand a chance along with Roach, Sammy, Tonge, Miller, Rampaul.

    . Devon Smith made centuries Chatergoon make centuries too. even Carlton Baugh Dwayne Smith, Ryan Hinds & Dale Richards & Reifer make centuries. that dont mean they good enough to make the squad much more Ganga.

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