Colin E. H. Croft
Happy Christmas to all! I hope that Santa, or whom-so-ever provides your toys, brought all that you wanted. If not, enjoy anyway. It could easily have been worse!
There were not many upheavals in sport in 2011, except for FIFA, rocked by bribery scandals, matching cricket’s “Match Fixing” 2010 scandal, and West Indies v Chris Gayle square-off.
2011 was “Year of Revolution”. Uprisings, “Arab Springs”, overtook countries; Egypt, Tunisia, Libya etc.
Perhaps it was common discontent, desire for change, allied with great technological communication abilities that allowed eruptions. Perhaps “Twitter’ and ‘Face-book’ users, the platforms themselves, were revolutionaries!
Anyway, it is difficult for anyone in a ‘team’ situation to be named ‘individual’ Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year. Regardless of that player’s effort, they had to have help from teammates!
Even if a batter, ala West Indies standout, Darren Bravo, in Bangladesh and India recently, or Stephanie Taylor, West Indies Ladies World No. 2 ranked batter destroyed bowlers, it would be impossible to have such progress without another person at the other end to share partnerships!
Similarly, yet somewhat conversely, in motor racing, tremendously exciting and unassuming Sebastian Vettel, current Formula 1 World Champion driver, dominated 2011. Granted he was always alone in his car, his Red Bull technical team had to be extremely instrumental for his success.
It is not patronizing that winners of sports that include vast mechanical speeds always thank their teams. They know; F-1 and Indy Car drivers, and Motor G-P ‘big bike’ riders; that while they operate the ultra fast, expensive machines, each technical team is doing its best to save their lives!
More difficult to understand is the lack of appreciation of the females in sports in 2011. Simply comparing the input and success of West Indies Women cricket teams to those of their male counterparts seems like cheese to chalk. West Indies men have been way behind in achievement.
So, with this in mind, I say, now, even undermining my own argument, that West Indies Women’s Cricket team, collectively, is my Caribbean Sports Person and Sports Team too, of 2011.
In 2011, West Indies men played Tests v Pakistan; 1-1 draw (2 Tests); v India; 0-1 loss (3 Tests); v Bangladesh; 1-0 win (2 Tests); v India; 0-2 loss (3 Tests).
For ODI’s, they played v Sri Lanka; 0-2 loss (3 ODI’s); in ICC CWC 2011; v Pakistan; 2-3 loss (5 ODI’s); v Bangladesh; 2-1 win (3 ODI’s); India; 1-4 loss (5 ODI’s).
For T-20I’s, they played T-20I’s, v Pakistan; 1-0 win (1 T-20I); v England; 1-1 (2 T-20I’s); Bangladesh 0-1 loss (1 T-20I).
In Tests, West Indies men are rated No. 7 of 9; ODI’s No. 8 of 13; T-20I’s 8 of 10, nothing to be pleased or excited about. No West Indian male is included in ICC’s Top 10 batsmen or bowlers for Tests or ODI’s.
In 2011, West Indies Women’s team played no Tests. In ODI’s, v India; 2-3 loss (5 ODI’s); v Pakistan; 3-1 win (4 ODI’s); and won all six ODI’s played in ICC CWC 2012 World Cup Qualifier, qualifying top. In T-20I’s, v India; 1-2 loss (3 T-20I’s) and v Pakistan; 3-1 win (4 T-20I’s).
Anisa Mohammed, No. 5, and Stephanie Taylor, No. 7, are West Indies Ladies bowlers ranked, while, in ODI’s, West Indies is ranked 5th in Women’s cricket, and 3rd in T-20I’s.
There were fantastic individual sporting achievements, perhaps more world-class, with Honorable Usain Bolt and Jamaican counterpart Yohan Blake winning 200m and 100m respectively at 2011 World Athletic Championships in South Korea. Veronica Campbell Brown merits mention too.
Even with continuing sparring, WICB v yet another Jamaican, Chris Gayle, and Jamaica adding WI’s 50-overs crown, none have done more than Windies Cricket Ladies to aid the cause of unity, for Caribbean sports, and West Indian sporting achievements!
In United Kingdom, where there is much more emphasis, inclusions and publication of women’s sports, there were recent, justifiable questions being asked about nominations for BBC’s Sports Person of the Year Award. No female was suggested of the ten nominated! Very curious indeed!
Hope Powell, coach of England’s Women Football Team, hit the nail directly on the head. “If you look in the press, the focus is on male sport and it is male dominated. On the television, everywhere, it is male dominated.” This, from the manager of a team that has had unheard of success in 2011! Why is this?
“Generally,” she continued “women sports get raw deals. Females in sports, not just football, are overlooked. The women who represent countries are ambassadors too, pioneers and catalysts even, great role models, but I do not think that female sports get the recognition that it deserves.” D’Accord!
Most noticed that England’s Men Cricket Team won BBC’s “Best Team of the Year Award 2011”, while that team’s Coach, former Zimbabwean captain/wicket-keeper/batsman, Andy Flower, was voted “Coach of the Year 2011”. I have no problem with that at all, but where were the women nominees?
In some tennis tournaments, men are still paid more than women, even if ladies, most times, provide more excitement, in many ways. The world’s best lady golfers are as aesthetic as ever, play well, providing finesse and application most men lack, yet they are mostly overlooked by the main stream.
Something that I read recently surprised even me, and I am not easily surprised, but the final between Japan and USA, in FIFA’s Women’s World Cup 2011; Germany; was, so far, the most tweeted event in sporting history, even if, I must admit, the history of Tweets is not that long. That is something, though!
I like leading, and, not for the first time, maybe copying from my last week’s submission, ESPN Star’s Travis Basevi and George Binoy even confirmed what I alluded to, that West Indies senior men’s cricket team had used, in 2011, an almost record-breaking number of players in international games; 40. What!
Clive Lloyd, from 1974/5, when he took over from Rohan Kanhai, and Lloyd’s successor, Sir Vivian Richards, to ‘Smokey’s’ exit in 1991, to be succeeded by Richie Richardson, did not use 40 cricketers in total. Yet, Lloyd, Richards and Richardson ruled the world from 1976 to 1995; 20 years. Truly amazing!
The world record of players used by one international cricket entity is also held jointly by West Indies men in 2009, 41 players, jointly held with England’s 1930 players. West Indies’ excuse in 2009 was the continued fight between WIPA and WICB, while England had two teams, to separate but concurrent tours New Zealand and West Indies in 1930. What is the West Indies excuse this time, I wonder?
West Indies Women have no such luxuries. While there are many more ladies playing sport, especially cricket, I doubt that there are 41 female cricketers in the Caribbean who are of the high international standards required to represent us West Indians well. The burden is certainly greater on incumbents.
Merissa Aguilleira and almost all players involved in West Indies Ladies, ICC T-20 2009, England, are still playing, representing well everywhere.
Continued cohesion, exemplary play, great representation and magnificent leadership have gone mostly unnoticed, but still deserve honor and reward for excellence! Happy New Year too, Ladies! Enjoy!
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