13th March 2016
The Caribbean cricket podcast
Welcome to edition no. 24 of The Willow in the WIndies.
On the eve of the ‘main course’ of the T20 World Cup, Reds and I chatted about the following:
WIndies’ victory in their warm-up match with Australia; and the challenges they face in a potentially tricky group, including Afghanistan who eliminated Zimbabwe in the qualifying round. Reds also gave us his overview of the early tournament matches.
Evan Lewis surprisingly joined the WIndies’ squad for the competition to replace the injured Lendl Simmons; while a cloud still hangs over Andre Russell, who it seems will take a full part in the tournament, with the issues surrounding his missed drug tests apparently on hold until after its completion.
In the Women’s version of the T20 World Cup, WIndies’ ladies enter the tournament with a good chance to make the semis, possibly more – despite ultimately losing their warm-up T20 series with South Africa 2-1.
In the regional 4-day competition, Guyana are expected to retain the title, but are having a hiccup in their game with the Leeward Islands, which saw the return to cricket of Kieron Powell. However, Trinidad & Tobago continue to be without Darren Bravo, who is reportedly suffering from a ‘freak’ head injury, but may return for the last round of matches, as mentioned in the weekly Line and Length Caribbean cricket TV show.
That programme also reported the dissatisfaction of several Guyanese players at their meals and accommodation conditions for the Leewards game; although Reds indicated that the WICB did react to remedy the situation.
After our last show, in which I referred to an article which suggested that Trinidad & Tobago might consider breaking away from the West Indies, I received an email from TTCB President, Azim Bassarath. In that he said he wanted to want to “categorically deny any rumors about Trinidad and Tobago going it alone in world cricket. This matter was never discussed with or within the Board in recent times. It is an item that I as President will never entertain.” Reds and I were happy to put that record straight.
Since our last edition, the news emerged that Don Wehby had been appointed to head an independent team to assess those matters outstanding from previous reports. We hope that progress and reform will take place; while some still fear the changes will be purely cosmetic and without substance. President Dave Cameron seems to suggest that this response amounts to compliance with the recent Caricom demands for the dissolution of the WICB, but some critics have voiced their fears, including Dr Rudi Webster. He has suggested that it is in the power of the regional PMs to withdraw national stadiums from West Indies’ use. We of course hope things never reach such a self-destructive outcome.
We turned our attention briefly to the reports coming out of India and The Financial Times in the UK regarding the finances of Dr Vijay Mallya, who recently became owner of the Barbados Tridents. The reports are doubtless causing great concern to both the CPL organisers, and the Barbados government and cricket authorities – and we hope the issue does not endanger the Tridents participation in this season’s domestic T20 tournament.
We noted the announcement of the publication of Chris Gayle’s autobiography in June – and Reds hoped that it would be ‘juicy’!
Before we closed, Reds alerted me to umpire Bruce Oxenford’s use of an arm-guard during the just-completed West Indies match v Australia; and we also alerted listeners to the return of Reds’ weekly sports TV programme in St. Lucia, which is aired on Sundays at 5pm (Eastern Caribbean time, 10pm GMT), and can be viewed live via this stream.