Colin E. H. Croft
‘Transition’ is the movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage or concept, to another. Former USA President Franklyn D. Roosevelt suggested, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!’ Everything changes, even if, very often, we have no clue as to what will come next. Scary, but nice!
If your eyes, like mine, had taken tremendous beatings, very different to that given to Jamaica by Trinidad & Tobago in last week’s Caribbean T-20 2012’s final, you would also appreciate “Transitions”; specially tested, polished lenses that, at night, are clear and bright, and, in daytime, are as dark as night!
I certainly need them. My eyes have been badly burnt by the sun’s reflective and refractive potencies during eight years in Air Traffic Control; 1973 – 1981; Commercial Pilot, since 1981; and over forty years of either playing or reporting on cricket, since 1971. I really wish that I had designer shades back then!
West Indies cricket, has, supposedly, been “transitioning” since 1995, when our world champions and cricket leader’s statuses were removed. Our overall cricket’s journey seems to have stalled too!
Changes never come easily. Everything survives even as everything changes. From high-school chemistry, and Antoine Lavoisier’s 1789 “Law of conservation of mass”, matter is neither created nor destroyed. While everything remains, the only thing that stays consistent, with change, is change itself!
When Daren Ganga left T&T’s T-20 captaincy, handing the reigns to Denesh Ramdin, Ganga’s supporters screamed. Few gave Ramdin any chance, but his transition has been tremendous!
When Forbes Burnham died in August 1985, his cronies wailed, unsure of Guyana’s, and their own, futures: “Ah sure dat wee contrie gon dead now, bhay!” Others probably celebrated much too!
When Dr. Eric Williams died in March 1981, even newspapers were confused. “The father of our nation is dead”, noted one. “What will happen to T&T now? Can Trinidad & Tobago survive?” asked another!
You will also have noticed that both T&T and Guyana have survived these transitions; Trinidad & Tobago relatively well, Guyana still re-emerging from that huge hole left by terrible policies and governments!
T&T, and its T-20 captain, Denesh Ramdin, are fortunate that the players have all matured, more or less, together. That T&T won Caribbean T-20 2012 was mostly about each player taking true responsibility!
Daren Ganga captained T&T’s T-20 team from inception, 2006 to 2011, five years, an extraordinarily long time, given the volatility of West Indian cricket. He molded his players well into being a team. Whenever a team is successful, as T&T has been, it is difficult to remove anyone, especially the captain.
West Indies captaincy transition; Clive Lloyd to Viv Richards; quickly come to mind when considering successful transitions like Ganga and Ramdin achieved. Lloyd to Richards worked excellently! As history has recorded since 1991/2, West Indies captaincy transitions, from Richards to Richie Richardson, to those captains since, to this very day, have thrown up several strange and grand failures.
When Lloyd was, surprisingly, made West Indies captain, back in 1974/5, replacing Rohan Kanhai, West Indies cricket was fair to good, completing assignments without any mega progress. Maybe West Indies Cricket Board back then had in mind that a new era could be possible. Lloyd made that definite too.
Along with Deryck Murray, Roy Fredericks and Alvin Kallicharran, Lloyd was also fortunate to have three additional players on that Indian tour who eventually became legends, so excellent were their inputs; Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards making debuts then, and a young, inexperienced Andy Roberts.
Those presented a foundation that soon included Larry Gomes, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Colin Croft, Wayne Daniel, Malcolm Marshall, Sylvester Clarke, David Murray and Jeff Dujon. Most importantly, Lloyd’s teams beat every other international team, at home and away, to prove its worth!
By the time Lloyd gave up West Indies captaincy in 1986, the team had become such a well oiled machine that the call was not ‘if’ they would win, but ‘by when’. That team had honed their skills, abilities and confidence to such a standard that the world trembled!
T&T T-20 cricket uses that same model; building with slow, deliberate but effective transitions. T&T’s T-20 team did not change that much from 2006/7, a few players here, another player or two there, from its Stanford’s T-20 effort, to even as recently as Caribbean T-20 2012; consistency and continuity!
Guyana won R. Allen Stanford’s initial T-20 tournament in 2006, beating T&T in the final. T&T’s team then included Daren Ganga, Keiron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Rayad Emrit and Samuel Badree, a similar foundation for further accomplishments and future T&T teams.
T&T did win Stanford 20/20 2008, beating Jamaica in that final, with 2007 being an ICC World Cup year. By then, Dwayne Bravo and Lendl Simmons had also joined, to augment T&T’s 2006 T-20 team’s base.
Later in 2008, Ravi Rampaul, Kevon Cooper, Daren Bravo, Jason Mohammed and Navin Stewart debuted, T&T beating Middlesex in Stanford’s T-20 Super Series. They also ran England close, losing by one run. T&T were completing what West Indies had done between 1974 and 1984!
T&T’s foundation was not only holding up well to scrutiny, but additional building blocks and permanent columns were being added for purpose. The base from 2006 had remained intact while others joined! 2009, Trinidad & Tobago went to new international pastures, maturing along the way, representing the Caribbean in the inaugural (actual) T-20 Champions League, being Stanford 2008 T-20 champions.
T&T fared excellently in CLT-20 2009, reaching the final before being blown away by New South Wales fast bowlers Brett Lee, Dough Bollinger and Stuart Clarke, but T&T had represented us brilliantly!
In inaugural Caribbean T-20, 2010, replacing Stanford’s 20/20, after Stanford had been indicted for “fraud of enormous proportions”, T&T pouted its way out of defending its 2009 crown, with childish complaints of wet outfields, and everything else. They lost to eventual 2010 T-20 champions, Guyana.
Guyana’s representation in CLT 20 2010, South Africa, was absolutely horrendous. They looked complete shadows and lost every game. Was it stage fright or poor preparation? Who knows?
Meanwhile, stung by criticisms and sensible self-assessments, T&T set out, in 2011, to retake its suggested ‘rightful’ place as Caribbean T-20 Champions. Sunil Narine debuted. T&T beat Hampshire convincingly to win Caribbean T-20 2011’s final, thus, again, representing the Caribbean at CLT 2011.
T&T did not fare that well its second time around, at CLT-20 2011, winning only two of its four games, failing to qualify for semi-finals. Now, having won Caribbean T-20 2012, they will be off to do all again.
They should be proud of the consistent effort, allowing them to represent the Caribbean three of the four times that Caribbean teams have gone to Champions League T-20 (club) Championships.
With transitions from 2006 to 2011/12, T&T’s team for that final last week against Jamaica were: Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath, Daren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Keiron Pollard, Kevon Cooper, Ravi Rampaul, Jason Mohammed and Samuel Badree. Only Daren Ganga was missing!
Those names have all been familiar to us for seasons, if not years. T&T’s transition is now almost complete. How they fare at 2012 CLT-20 is anyone’s guess! Wish them luck! Enjoy!
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