I wonder if the decision by Chairman of Selectors Lloyd and coachSimmons is not one to feather their bed at Shiv Chandrapaul’s– Tiger’s – expense. After all they are elected officials who need to justify the confidence reposed in them and to enhance their electability.
If the team wins without Tiger, they become instant heroes, even immortals. If the team loses without the Tiger they earn accolades for boldness in experimenting with a youngster. They win either which way– “reminiscent of the three-card monte.” If one of the eleven current players falls out and is replaced by Tiger the entire cricketing world would be willing to bet that Tiger’sperformance would enhance the team’s fortune more than his likely substitute, and this is buttressed by his dominant performances especially against Australia over the years.
Everyone has a bad patch which ends abruptly with a sterling performance. The argument of his age is unintelligible, unless a godlike creature can prove it is the cause of his bad patch. The argument of sentimentraised by Freddie Kissoon is even more ridiculous and represents an attempt to substitute base metal for pure gold.
Winning is about desire, dedication, determination, boldness, commitment, patience, and understanding oneself, as well as one’s opponents which add up to confidence. Tiger has proven the most steadfast and greatest example of the above qualities in the cricketing world.
Although cricket has some physical attributes it is essentially a mind game. Those of us who do not understand this, are yet to learn the game. Unfortunately, too many of our players, organizers, promoters, managers, commentators, and officials fall in this latter category. The omission of certain members from a team can psychologically devastate that team. By the same token the presence of certain players can inspire and motivate a team and simultaneously devastate the opponent even if the individual did not appear to contribute much.
No one could be so mentally impoverished to believe that Tiger’s association with the team for a further two weeks (two matches) could be injurious to the outfit that he carried so long, and gave so much hope so recently. His inclusion is abundantly more realistic for the team’s success and thereby the satisfaction of the West Indian cricketing community. If indeed there is such a “David” (a giant killer) waiting in the wings as Chairman Lloyd and coach Simmons seem to believe, the two weeks would only help them to determine if their would-be instant hero possess the right mettle, dedication, determination, and discipline which could only be learnt by the sterling example of the Tigers of the game.
Faced with an open heart surgery Chairman Lloyd and coach Simmons and their ilks would every time choose one of the best tried and proven surgeons in the world in place of a budding one. Why then foist upon an unsuspecting West Indian community and cricket fans such an odious alternative? What does being thirty nine years and eleven months old as against forty years old have to do with it? What does sentiment as unwittingly argued by Mr. Kissoon have to do with it? Tiger is that master surgeon, that essential glue, that rock which anchors the team in its current winning position. His removal can have the effect of shattering team spirit and eroding its confidence, a recipe for disaster which no amount of peptalk can supplant. Tiger’s average of over seventy runs in seven tests only months ago in 2014 speaks volumes.
Mr. Kissoon speaks glibly but misguidedly of context. The real context here is that the West Indies eleven materialized into a knitted team as reflected in the final test match against England. Tiger’s vast experience, towering persona, and gritty performances especially against Australia would have been a source of inspiration and awe for his younger inexperienced teammates. Removing Shiv is tantamount to loosening that essential glue. This is the context – context of team spirit – that Mr. Kissoon and ilk’s need to deal with, not the irrelevancies of age sentiments and overhauling or not overhauling Brian Lara’s record.
It should not be too difficult to understand that you bring an organization down when you remove or starve it of experience. West Indies cricket was brought to its knees when so-called intellectuals initiated the exercise of discarding experience for youth. Of late it was derisively said that West Indies expertise lies in its ability to find a way to lose thanks to those who ill-advisedly believe that the team could succeed without experience.
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