"It's painful to see this is the stage our cricket has reached, [given] at one point in time we were the best team in the world. If those in charge keep harping on about the past and not trying to do anything for the present then we'll always have these type of interviews, we'll have back and forth with ex-players saying this and current players saying that. The rest of the world will go on and we'll always be backwards."
These words from former West Indian captain, Dwyane Bravo, highlight the plight of a nation which once ruled the cricketing world. Bad administration, falling funds, lack of infrastructure, poor pitches and a plethora of youngsters who prefer the glam of T20 over Test cricket has seen a major drought of talents in the Caribbean.
The current trend has seen many players in the mould of Chris Gayle or Andre Russell, who prefer playing in T20 leagues across the World rather than donning the revered whites.
However, the players are not the only ones to blame. The administration and politics have in general been sub-par and this has seen a huge loss in funds allotted for cricket. Low salaries and improper payments meant frustrated players seeking money by playing in T20 tournaments around the World.
There was a time when Caribbean cricket could summon heroes in the mould of Sir Garry Sobers, who said: “My whole obligation was to West Indies cricket. I’ve never made a run for me.” Now it clutches desperately for answers from men who are as transparently self-serving as they come.
In general, it has been a blame game between the players and administrators. The central problem, as so often, is one of bureaucracy. Over the past 20 years, the politics of cricket in the region have become a quagmire, where the players blame the West Indies Cricket Board for lack of money, and they, in turn, blame the players for a lack of discipline, and both parties end up resolving nothing.
Even amidst the chaos, all is not gloom, thanks to the wonderful cricketing culture in the depths of this island. There are several young players making a name for themselves silently. Despite their qualification for a major event like the World Cup being a big question mark, all hope isn’t lost.
The U-19 World Cup win last year and the World T20 triumph are evidences that West Indies Cricket could slowly be on the rise yet again. Let us take a look into some fine young talents gracing the Caribbean islands now, who could go on to become vital cogs in the revival of the great West Indies.
#1 Roston Chase
Roston Lamar Chase is a Barbados cricketer who debuted for the Barbadian national side in February 2011. A batting allrounder, he is a right-handed batsman and a right-arm off spin bowler. His talents were not noticed during his debut season in West Indies’ First-class competition for Barbados in 2010-11 where he played just two matches before disappearing into the oblivion.
He, however, was back in the setup for the 2012-13 edition of the First -Class competition. During the 2014–15 season, Chase scored a maiden first-class century, a brilliant 120 not out against the Windward Islands. He finished the season with 534 runs from eight matches, which placed him eighth in the overall competition run scorers list.
Chase continued his good form in the following season, being named man of the match against the Leeward Islands after making 136 not out in his team's first innings.
In July 2016, he was named in the West Indies squad for their Test series against India. He made his Test debut for the West Indies on 21 July 2016. In just his second Test match, Chase showcased his potential by picking up his maiden five-wicket haul and also scored a century to stave off a strong Indian bowling attack.