Gibson Butts CPL

22nd August 2014

Quick Singles – news round-up

Recent events in Caribbean Cricket & beyond.

A period of upheaval – and the architects of change will be hoping that the emphasis is on the ‘up’. Caribbean cricket couldn’t really deal with a further ‘downheaval’. Perhaps in this context the visit by Bangladesh to the West Indies is well timed. While international victories over the tourists will doubtless elicit the customary jaded response of “it’s only Bangladesh” from many, defeat would be a horrific, but effective reality check. Anything less than comfortable victories over Bangladesh in all formats will be a bitter pill to swallow – but it’s an accepted truth that the most effective medicine for the ailing patient is the least palatable – and tends to taste nastiest.

I’ve grown hoarse counselling against a regional expectancy of superiority over the minnows – we don’t want to hear Bangladeshis and Zimbabweans reacting to future victories over WI with an unimpressed, “well, it’s only the West Indies.” ESPN Cricinfo profiles the two sides here, while Fazeer Mohammed outlines the importance of the ODIs ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

In the run-up to the series, WI replaced in successive weeks their Chairman of Selectors, Clyde Butts (and fellow selector, Robert Haynes); and then Coach, Ottis Gibson.

The appointment of Clive Lloyd as Convenor of Selectors was backed by former WI wicket-keeper and Chairman of Selectors, Mike Findlay; while Colin Croft had ‘reserved hope’ for the new panel, especially since it included two former fast bowlers: “Those spinner selectors were terrible!” Tony Becca described Lloyd’s return as his “last hurrah”, while Tony Cozier warned against expectations of Lloyd “to suddenly wave a magic wand.” Lloyd himself stressed an emphasis on youth development, when he spoke to WICB media.

A failure by the WICB to confirm or deny reports of Ottis Gibson’s downfall caused initial confusion, the announcement finally arriving on Tuesday via a bland press release. Tony Cozier criticised the timing of Gibson’s exit, a view echoed by Colin Croft. Speculation on the identity of his successor included former South Africa and Australia coach, Mickey Arthur; and current Ireland coach, Phil Simmons.

The couple of days of ‘information vacuum’ led Garth Wattley to accuse the WICB of a lack of transparency, and he laid the same charge against the organisers of the CPL following its muddled conclusion, and the outcry against the Duckworth/Lewis result. Reviewing the tournament, Wattley dubbed it a ‘soggy anti-climax’.

For the most part I felt the competition was a qualified success, despite the spectator-unfriendly start times. In its first year they were too late, and in CPL 2 they were generally far too early. Third time lucky next year? But the fiasco that was the Final’s farcical finale turned it into a qualified failure. Guyana have protested Barbados Tridents’ win, and one fan has begun a petition to claim a rematch or no-result. It would be beyond the bounds of credibility for the challenge, however legitimate, to be upheld. The Laws of cricket clearly state:

Law 21. The Result: 10. Result not to be changed

Once the umpires have agreed with the scorers the correctness of the scores at the conclusion of the match – see Laws 3.15 (Correctness of scores) and 4.2 (Correctness of scores) – the result cannot thereafter be changed.

Anything else is an unhealthy precedent – presumably why Pakistan’s forfeiture in 2006 was changed back to a defeat after it’s brief flirtation as a ‘draw’.

But then again this is the Caribbean so anything is possible. In fact, CPL Chairman, Damien O’Donohoe would like to see the competition played in the USA…

The tournament had opened amid nonsense about the rights Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel had to incorporate the national identity. T&T Sports Minister, Anil Roberts vociferously opposed the usage, and he gave a hilarious interview to ‘Line & Length’. Roberts was subsequently overruled by his Prime Minister, and has since resigned his position.

After the sawdust settled, Viv Richards and Tom Moody selected the players for their Team of the Tournament, while Lendl Simmons was Man of the Tournament with 446 runs (despite having holes drilled into his bat by over zealous US Customs officials) – but his award of land in St Kitts has caused outrage in some quarters.

The Trident’s victory qualifies them for September’s CLT20, although Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard will be switching their allegiance to their IPL teams. The Tridents’ revised squad of 15 now contains only 6 Barbadians.

The dilution of regional national teams and the increasing ‘franchisation’ of Caribbean cricket is something that disturbs Andy Thornhill of the Barbados Nation newspaper; while Vaneisa Baksh is disturbed by the quality of radio commentary, and was clearly referring to my good friend, Andrew Mason in her piece. Cricket journalism is a game of opinions, and she is entitled to hers – however wrong she may be.

Elsewhere, Sean Devers reviews the recent Regional U-19 tournament; while finally, another noted Bajan radio commentator, Keith Holder pens a poignant rememberance of the recently deceased George Linton.

David Oram

David Oram is the resident ‘statto’, and sometime presenter of ‘Mason & Guests’ – Voice of Barbados’ weekly cricket talk show, the leading cricket radio show in the West Indies – hosted by the Caribbean’s principal radio commentator, Andrew Mason.

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