Oct 02, 2011 Sports
Colin E. Croft
Recently, West Indies Cricket Board sent around a tentative schedule, a broad brush, of cricket that will be played inside and outside the Caribbean from October 2011, to very late in 2012, August next year. If you are a cricket lover, you should be extremely pleased. The coming season must be very much fun.
This is the first time that WICB’s communications and operations departments have gone in such great detail.
They deserve much credit for not only planning the cricket, with the help of International Cricket Council’s Future Tours Programme, but this published outline helps all those outside of West Indies teams, and the associated personnel, to plan their own movements of covering and looking at the cricket too.
The cost of travelling in the Caribbean is still as prohibitive as ever. Also, up to a point, the reliability of flight schedules still needs to be much better, despite the arrival of Red Jet Airline. Hopefully, with the advent of that airline, both Caribbean Airlines and Leeward Islands Air Transport will, similarly, drop their fares too. Or, maybe, we are all richer that we want to accept that we are, paying those airfares!
So, firstly, West Indies goes to Bangladesh on a one-month trip, October 07 – November 03, for two Tests, three ODI’s and one T-20.
That team, already en-route, captained by Darren Sammy, must ensure of making the best grade, not only for that tour of Bangladesh, but to even enhance their very futures.
West Indies cricket aficionados must be very embarrassed that its cricket has fallen so very far that the senior men’s team is now classed in the same breath with such teams as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
This upcoming 2011-2012 season must therefore be the start of a period that will, if not bring our cricket back to real full glory, at least to allow the needed upward improvements all around for our cricket. Everyone everywhere has been clamoring for the return to strength of senior West Indies teams. Easily the most embarrassing comment I have heard in the last ten years was one made by a New Zealand cricket official; “The world needs a strong West Indies!”
This was a New Zealander, mind you, saying this, coming from an organization that has won nothing in its complete history! But, he was correct!
Also, I think West Indies cricket must now move on from the saga that has been such acrimony between its former senior men’s captain, Chris Gayle, and even the availability of some of its other senior men players. “Fire in Babylon” was a very long time ago. It is now time for new, hopefully improved, heat!
That Dwayne Bravo and others may not be always available to play must be dealt with fully, with the entire arrangement moving on to, hopefully, bigger and better things. Cricket everywhere will survive, despite the changes of playing personnel. It has always done so since its inception so many years ago.
Anyway, while that Bangladesh leg of the tour will be ongoing, there will also be the regional 50-overs competition, renamed “Regional Super 50”, in Guyana, October 18 – 29.
Any of the senior men not on that Bangladesh tour, or continuing for the Indian tour that follows directly, should certainly take the parallel opportunities and possibilities offered for future involvement in West Indies teams thereafter.
When West Indies leave Bangladesh, they travel immediately to India, one of the biggest tours for the coffers of West Indies. This is an important tour to check the progress of the senior men’s team to date.
India playing in West Indies earlier this year also greened up WICB accounts positively. With that other normally lucrative tour, one to England, lurking so ominously for 2012, things should be bright green for West Indies finances in the near future. Not only players on the field should benefit from so much cricket. Meanwhile, In India, West Indies will play five ODI’s and three Tests, bringing us to Christmas!
As 2012 breaks, there will be the Caribbean T-20 in Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados, January 09 – 22. Cleverly done, West Indies 4-day regional tournament will follow immediately, and continuing, March 06 – May 07. This would allow players to have returning form for the parallel ongoing Australian tour.
West Indies host Australia first in 2012, tentatively scheduled for March 14 – April 23. That tour will probably include three Tests, five ODI’s and one T-20. Exact schedules are still to be published, but appetites will certainly have been whetted, after, by then, the concluded tours of Bangladesh and India.
Hot on the heels of Australia’s tour to the Caribbean will be West Indies tour to England; May 01 – June 20. With a Test now guaranteed for Lords; 1st; the others will be played at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston, along with three ODI’s and one T-20. One hopes that the normally fickle English weather holds up well.
As if they will have not yet played enough cricket on the trot, by then, West Indies will then host New Zealand from June 23, tentatively, to August 02. That is so much cricket to be played, nearly a full year.
If you are a present West Indies player, you should be smiling, all the way to the bank, if you retain your place.
There will be so much cricket, cricket and even more cricket for enjoyment for 2011-2012 too!
These outings will require many players, much concentration, much effort and tremendous fitness. Only the extremely strong will survive this extended period of cricket, all to be played from October month end, to August next year. That period can be as tough as it can be very rewarding for all involved too!
West Indies Women’s teams too have their extended plans, one sequence bringing them to ICC Women T-20 Cricket World Cup 2012. They start with a tour to Bangladesh, in November, playing qualifying matches for that tournament in Dhaka.
These ladies have been carrying our torch for some time now!
West Indies Women are grouped with Pakistan, Japan, Ireland and the hosts, Bangladesh. Qualification for West Indies should be relatively easy, given their pedigree, but that does not make it a foregone conclusion.
The ladies must, like their male counterparts, never take anything for granted at all.
Also, while many still do not accept that our ladies are continuing to improve and provide tremendous excitement, the female teams have been, recently, much more successful than the male teams!
Reviewing recent events, West Indies senior men must be pleased at beating England in that 2nd T-20 last weekend at Kennington Oval, in London. Personally, it was a tremendous spectacle to be so very involved there with those games.
The late September sun, in England, captured the essence of West Indies cricket these days, terribly poor one day, surprisingly good and so exhilarating the very next!
On both days, there were at least 15,000 present at the Oval, suggesting that while England are doing well, many want to see West Indies improve too.
Many approached me with great smiles when West Indies won that 2nd game. We are all very thirsty for some success, so this could be the season! Enjoy!
Colin E. Croft
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