|Issue No 4||12 March 1999|
Stumped Windies Need a Union
By Noel Hester
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
It didn't seem things could get any worse for West Indies cricket after being thumped 5-0 in the tests and 6-1 in the one dayers by South Africa.
But it has. Glenn McGrath, probably the world's worst test batsman, scored three times as many runs in his heroic first innings knock this week than the third highest West Indies batsman. His innings of 39 was close to topping the entire Windies second innings.
What was once the world's most carnivorous pace attack was eaten alive by a bunny.
Where they're going wrong
Despite the screeds of analysis and commentary about where they're going wrong - Lara's captaincy, the need for an academy, Carribean kids greater interest in basketball and baseball - no one has piped up with the obvious reason for the West Indies' freefall into the pitch cracks.
They need a union!
Think about it. Unionised workplaces are more cohesive, foster a team spirit and increase morale and productivity. They raise management's game. Exactly what's needed in the West Indies cricket team!
And who can blame the poor bastards for being unhappy in their work. It was reported during their stoush with the West Indies Cricket Board on their way to South Africa that those in the team with less than ten caps were to be paid $16,000 for a tour lasting months.
That's about eight per cent of what Shane Warne is being paid to give up smoking!
This is a team that for a decade and a half dominated their sport in the same way the Chicago Bulls, the Brazilian soccer team or the All Blacks have dominated theirs. Can you imagine Michael Jordan, Ronaldo or Jonah Lomu touring Africa for six or seven hundred bucks a week?
And talk about health and safety problems. The Queens Park pitch where this week's test was played is an absolute dog. Last year a test match against the Brits didn't even last a day after the pitch started playing like a minefield. Imagine what the pitches are like down the grades. No wonder the kids feel safer playing basketball.
Lack of unity the problem
The greatest achievement of those incomparable West Indies captains Worrall, Sobers and Lloyd was to bring a collective mentality to a historically and politically divided West Indies.
They were able to bring players together from the feuding islands and weld them into a collective unit in a region where political integration had failed.
In contrast what is so disturbing about this Windies team is their lack of solidarity. The players strike at Heathrow airport on the way to South Africa collapsed with half the team holding firm and the other half walking.
Lara himself has pinpointed the problem.
'The unity needs to be much better,' he said. 'As a team, I'd prefer to have guys tight and together off the field and things would work better on the field.'
But Lara, with his individualistic streak and aloof personality has been the wrong captain at the wrong time as the Windies rebuild.
We need the Windies strong
One of the best things about cricket has been seeing non-white teams, especially the West Indies, flog the colonial metropole and the white settler colonies. Even if they were destroying your team it was always an historical irony worth savouring.
Australian and world cricket need a strong West Indies. It's so boring flogging the Brits, the Sri Lankans and Zimbabwe. And what's so interesting about playing an incorrigibly white South Africa.
A team with Lara, Chanderpaul, Hooper, Walsh and Ambrose has still got the talent. But they need to organise. They need a union.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005