The superlatives flow sweetly, endlessly: a game for the ages; a monumental final of majestic proportions. Cricketing gladiators in keenly contested, ferocious combat. The regret is that it came to an end, and that in the two stirring teams that left their hearts on the pitch, there had to be one loser. There has to be powerful feeling for the underdog, overachieving New Zealanders, even over here.
And it is from this side of the world that serious study, approach, and effort must be applied at all levels of the regional game to recognize what is required, and then to go about making the sons of the Caribbean to be real authentic contenders; contenders and performers that are focused on eking out victory when such looks impossible, that is powered by fundamentals, finances, and the unremitting furnaces of vision and desire.
It is the relentless desire to do more than win; there must be the unflagging desire to conquer new summits, believed unreachable by too many; to nurture the embers of skills to take long-awaited place at the crest of the cricketing world.
The English showed how with a scintillating combination of flair and talent and (oh, yes) application; the Kiwis represented a team largely overshadowed by the swashbuckling, much talked about champions; the Indian machine that ate the minnows like the West Indies; and the New Zealanders, who came within one heartbreaking breath of coming out on top in a dream of a final.
Regional talent is here; balance needed; craftsmanship, discipline, field sense and good sense. Read the conditions. Players like Boult demonstrated this time and again, and never so well as when India was toppled.
Williamson provided a study in rising to the occasion. So did the returning Steve Smith and David Warner from Down Under. They had a point to prove, and came close. Not their year. Not the West Indies’ year either, who flickered, glittered, and then faltered when it counted.
Those opportunities cannot be missed; they have to be capitalized upon with a vengeance: no letup, no mercy, no lapse in concentration or effort or understanding of who has to do what, and how to go about cutting down mountains in the path.
It is known that money is a major problem for the game regionally. Truth be told, nobody is able to match the Indians anymore; that reality may stay so for a long time in the future. For them, it is no longer a game, but a matter of national spirit, national statement, national prestige. It seems that they have a bottomless stable of young superstars in waiting and being patiently, wisely groomed for the big time of cricket’s demands on the world’s stage.
In some ways, the travails of the regional game mirrors that of the Pakistanis; many chiefs and countless commanders, with little sense of who really is in charge. Thus, there is too little sense of direction and a strong guiding hand at the helm to the lead the way forward.
That has showed up glaringly at different times; that has hurt, even embarrassed in what has to be a great disservice to the toilers on the field of battle.
For its part, the West Indies appear to have had its era of uncertainty at the administrative level; for the good of the game, it must be a thing of the past, and now with all minds fixed on preparing (from now) for the many challenges ahead.
There is a nucleus of young promises on which to build; properly harnessed and guided, they can be a world beater. The right scouts and coaches can identify a nursery (like the Indians); and the regimen and technologies that take the standards to currently unknown heights.
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