Its been just over a week since last week's dramatic and abrupt end of the West Indies tour to India. In the mean time thousands of articles have probably appeared on the web talking about the decline in everything related to West Indies cricket. Here is one more on the same.
In my opinion, the time has come for the West Indies as a cricketing team to close down.
This abandonment could be the straw that broke the camel's back. The player-board standoff has been running for years which not surprisingly has coincided with the general decline in West Indies cricket. From being the top ranked country and a widely admired opponent, they have now been sitting close to the bottom in terms of rankings. Threats of strikes, withdrawals, dubious droppings, stand-offs between individual players and the board do not augur well for the making of a team. But walking out in the middle of a tour against the most powerful cricket board is taking matters too far. The abandonment will have far-reaching repercussions. BCCI has already suspended future bilateral tours and other national boards and sponsors are extremely wary. There are even doubts on their participation in the coming World Cup.
West Indies are not the only ones with problems. Zimbabwe have worse but theirs are not just board specific but rooted in the political turmoil in the country. And Afghanistan have shown how cricket as a sport can still grow in war ravaged nation. So payment disputes are comparatively an insignificant issue.
The WICB have been consistently showing their incompetency for the past few years. The 2007 World Cup was arguably the worst organised one in history. And they had almost sold off the entire cricketing administration to Allan Stanford, an American billionaire now in jail for fraud.
Even the cry of "Rally around the West Indies" somehow doesn't fit the players who seem more interested in becoming T20 mercenaries playing across the proliferating T20 leagues across the world than playing for their "nation".
The West Indies as a team concept are an unique example in not just cricket but across the sporting world. They transcend the national boundaries. Its not just one nation but different countries across the Caribbean region who come together to play as one on the cricketing field. In every other sports these countries have their own separate identities but cricket unites them. However the multiple national interests may also be the cause of the breakdown.
So I feel that the time has come for the various nations in the West Indies to go their own separate ways. Most likely they are just waiting for the first one to take the plunge and go its own separate way. And maybe having separate national teams might rejuvenate the flogging interest in the game within the region. It will be sad day for cricket when this happens. But the way the events are unfolding it seems to be a question of when and not if.
The demise of the West Indies cricket will be mourned by all cricket lovers but their current avatar will not be missed.