“Time is not on West Indies’ side” – Tony Cozier

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“Time is not on West Indies’ side” – Tony Cozier

229427ESPN – The current series bears parallels with their drubbing in Pakistan in 1997. Only, now redemption seems further away than ever.

Eighteen years on, West Indies’ thrashing by Australia in the first Test in Hobart last weekend bears uncanny similarities to their predecessors’ routs in all three Tests in Pakistan in November and December 1997. It is a case of the more things change, the more they remain the same in West Indies cricket.

Even several of the West Indies’ main characters from the Pakistan whitewash are still involved. Clive Lloyd, then manager, is now chief selector. Courtney Walsh, the captain at the time, is selector on tour in Australia. Curtly Ambrose, Walsh’s fearsome partner in pace, is the team’s bowling consultant. Head coach Phil Simmons batted in the middle order in Pakistan, Stuart Williams opened. They were in Hobart as head coach and his assistant.

Grenada prime minister Keith Mitchell remains in the thick of things. After Pakistan, he was concerned enough to press CARICOM (Caribbean Community) governments to discuss the state of West Indies cricket. He now heads the CARICOM sub-committee on cricket and is the prime mover behind the recent damning Barriteau report on the governance of the West Indies Cricket Board.

The teams in Pakistan and Australia both went into their assignments unsettled by off-field upheavals. The issue prior to Pakistan was the captaincy; it was never far below the surface.

The problems leading into Australia were the confusion over the suspension and subsequent reinstatement of head coach Simmons, a matter initially triggered by the contentious omission of the ever-dependable Shivnarine Chanderpaul from the two Tests against Australia in the Caribbean in June.

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  1. If Tony Cozier has nothing to throw in the works to help salvage West Indies cricket then he should say little or nothing at all. The Windies is going through a transition at the moment. They once ruled the world of cricket. They dominated for 15 years and as they say, all good things must come to an end. No one or team can forever remain on top in anything whether that be Music, politics, or sports. Everything in life has a shelf life. Life itself is short.

    The problem with Windies cricket is that there are too many people with too little cricketing experience passing judgment and putting their oar in.Politicians should not be involved in what goes on with West Indies cricket. The West Indies Cricket Board Of Control is the governing body responsible for professional and amateur cricket in the Caribbean. It was originally formed in the 1920's and had little political interference back then. The team normally consists of players from the mainly English-speaking Caribbean. We need to follow FIFA or the ICC's example by keeping politics out of the game. The moment politicians get their hands on any sporting venture they create chaos and mayhem. Look at what the US and British politicians are doing to FIFA. They have done so much damage to the international body with governs world football that it's become almost irreparable. There is talk about creating a new body to rival FIFA or to get rid of FIFA altogether.

    The WICBC need to get their act together. They need to stop allowing politicians and pundits to call the shots. They have managed the team successfully in the past and should carry on in the same vein. They need to pick the right team. A team that can win tournaments. The current crop of players is weak and obscure. Apart from Marlon Samuels Jerome Taylor and the captain, there is no one showing any cricketing prowess. Where are the good players like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul? I watched the first match against Australia and was appalled by Windies' poor performances with both bat and ball.

    They could not bowl Australia out. They suffered the indignity of being bowled out twice on the same day. They offered no resistance to the Australian bowling attack which was seam friendly. Australia was without Michell Stark and Mitchell Johnson, two of the most fearsome bowlers in world cricket. If anything, the Windies should have taken advantage of this and posted a decent score. The bowling has lacking penetration. The Aussies declared on a batting friendly wicket. The Windies failed to capitalize and to make runs while the fearsome twosome were away. There are quite a few players that need to be left out of this current team which is touring Australia. These men will further embarrass the fans back home in the Caribbean and in the diaspora if they do not put in a much better performance in the remaining test matches.

    The selectors should think about bringing back Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Tino Best, Fidel Edwards, Johnson Charles, Devon Smith, Fletcher. These players are solid and are able to take on the might of the Aussies. Chanderpaul and Gayle are stalwarts and very reliable. The Windies were beaten in three days. Test cricket is a five-day game. We need a team that can bat for at least two days and to post a decent score which is challenging. Then bowlers who can defend it by bowling accurately and hitting the deck. The great team back in the glory days of Windies cricket did just that. Roy Fredericks, Gordon Greenidge, Vivian Richards, Clive Lloyd posted decent scores on the board which the foursome fearsome of Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Colin Croft and Andy Roberts defended by taking twenty wickets to win the games. That is why the Windies were unstoppable and became champions. West Indies won two World Cups. The first one was in 1975 and the other in 1979 - they lost to India in 1983 trying to win three in a row.

    The West Indies still has what it takes to compete and to compete well in the modern game. They just need to improve on their batting which is fragile and suspect at the moment.The bowling is picking up and with Jerome Taylor spearheading the attack it can only get better. I quite like Taylor. He is bowling his heart out only for our batsmen to let him and the other bowlers down. Taylor needs support. We need a Walsh and Ambrose pace attack where each bowler compliments and supports each other. That is lacking at the moment.

    Tony Cozier need to put up or shut up. He is an old colonial with a plantation mentality. There are lots of people who would like to see the downfall of West Indies cricket and Cozier is one of them.Where was Cozier when the English establishment launched their salvos on the Windies team of the early 80's? Did he defend our cricket team? Cozier is still wearing the rags of his decayed white inheritance and I don't expect anything positive from men like him. We are no longer on the plantation Mr. Cozier. We are free people and can determine our own destiny.If people like Cozier and the others cannot contribute in a meaningful way to the upliftment of Windies cricket then I suggest they don't say or do anything that will hinder the progress of the Windies team. The West Indies cricket team has an indomitable spirit and will bounce back to their former glory. Once the transition period is over the players will help restore the Windies to it's former glory.

    There are a lot of folks out there waiting to see the Windies fall by the wayside. They cannot wait to see our cricket vanish into thin air. A team which has brought much joy to millions of our people in the Caribbean and beyond. Back in the 60's 70's and 80's when very few people had television sets in their homes most people carried around with them small transistor radios to listen to cricket commentaries. They were of course following the progress of their team - the legendary West Indies cricket team.

    West Indies cricket is here to stay. We were once a force to be reckoned with and will continue to be in the future. The only time our politicians should ever get involved is if there is a major crisis where there was no cricket board or the board was severely crippled and unable to function. But this has not happened and is unlikely to. So until then I suggest skeptics and pessimist like Cozier who have a tendency to stress the negative by taking the gloomiest possible view should stay out of our cricketing affairs. He should stick to his day job - commenting. The politicians should be supporters like everyone else and not interfere in the day to day runnings of the WICBC and the Windies cricket team.

    West Indies Cricket team is here to stay. My team for the current series with Australia: Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Jermaine Blackwood, Fletcher(wicketkeeper)Tino Best, Jerome Taylor and Jason Holder.Good Luck and may the Windies team recover and to put up a good fight and win the series. Good Luck boys!!! Time is on our side Tony Cozier, Oh yes it is Mr. Know it all.

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  2. It is long past the time for the wake. Tony Cozier is at the burial scene but does not recognize this. The notion of West Indies died died with the collapse of the defunct Federation. With the University of the West Indies being dismantled from within and all that there is to the the CSME having been accomplished, only the CCJ is showing any life.

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  3. The West Indies team has a chance to salvage their image if they bring back Shivnarine Chanderpaul to play against the Australians. Shiv, despite his age, was a dependable picture of concentration, stamina, patience and endurance in the long form of the game.

    There are some young guys coming out of the John Eugene Cricket Academy (JECA) who, if selected in the future, could cause the West Indies to soar to new heights. I am eternally optimistic about the undiscovered talent that we have in our Helen of the West.

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