TWO weekends ago I sat playing in the afternoon with my grand daughter even though the West Indies-New Zealand Test match was on television. A West Indies Test match is something I would have never missed, remembering the days on end I spent next to the radio listening to WI versus England, et al.
I did it for me, for my own conscience, for what was done to Sunil Narine. It’s not my style to pretend that it never happened unlike others who discreetly avoided the name of Sunil to maintain their brand of “press box etiquette.” This is the kind of “sophisticated” dishonesty we see all around us in these Third World countries of ours, with handshakes, smiles and grin teeth while evil prevails without a question being asked.
But Sunil’s situation is more than a “selection” issue, as it goes into the realm of the spirit of the law, as against the letter of the law, of small-minded men indulging their egos and misusing their power and authority, of island insularity gone berserk with Trinidadians on the receiving end, all to the disservice of the game.
For how can this travesty be for the good of WI cricket when the viewing public is denied the pleasure and excitement of watching the most feared spinner in the world in action? And if the argument is that Sunil is only 20/20 or IPL, consider the likes of Kohli, Tendulkar, Sharma, De Villiers et al, whom he has mesmerised and the likelihood of Sunil doing the same with Macullum and other New Zealanders.
And further, can the future of WI cricket be seen purely in terms of traditional Test cricket without the excitement of 20/20 which every cricketing nation is attempting to cash in on and of which Sunil, Pollard, Simmons Bravo, Badree and Cooper are the supreme manifestations? These players are some of the most sought after in this form of the game, especially Sunil, so could these administrators not try to at least understand the difficult choice he had to make and compromise on it?
Many other arguments can be advanced to explain this inflexibility. Suffice it to say but even as I took one small step to satisfy my conscience, I am still sufficiently broadminded to wish Denesh Ramdin well in his new role.
Dr Errol Benjamin