We aren’t likely to witness again any time soon the kind of scenes that unfolded at Eden Gardens, Kolkata as the West Indies downed England in the final of the World Twenty20 after a pulsating finish. With West Indies needing 19 off the last over to lift the trophy, Carlos Brathwaite, thus far an unheralded commodity, sealed an improbable win, hitting four successive sixes that sealed England’s fate. Against all odds, Darren Sammy and his men, who set pulses racing wherever they played in India during the World Twenty20, carved out a win that will go down in the annals of the game as the biggest ever jail-break, especially on a stage of this magnitude.
At the start of the tournament, such an outcome would have seemed highly unlikely. If the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) had its way, its team wouldn’t even have been competing. Days before the World Twenty20, the board was in the middle of an ugly pay dispute with the players and only an intervention by the ICC ensured the West Indies’ participation. Sammy deserves huge accolades for the way he made his team focus on the job and motivated them, even when the cricket administrators cared little. And it wasn’t just Sammy’s team alone that has lifted the spirits of the Caribbean people. Before Brathwaite’s fairytale heroics, Stephanie Taylor’s team had annexed the Women’s World Twenty20, beating the three-time defending champions, Australia. If, with a dysfunctional and largely incompetent cricket board, the West Indians can accomplish such glory, imagine what they can do with their administrators supporting them. There is a lesson here for Pakistan as well. The Pakistan Cricket Board is perhaps second only to the WICB when it comes to incompetence and working to appease vested interests. However, unlike the West Indians, our players haven’t been able to prevent the chaos in the board from affecting their performance on the field. Surely, the Pakistani team has more resources at its disposal compared to the West Indies, but its display in recent times has been disappointing to say the least, indicating the need for an overhaul.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2016.
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