Traffic and Bangalore. Virat Kohli and a successful chase. Cristiano Ronaldo and a goal. Sense a pattern? These are certainties in today’s world, having emerged over the past few years and survived the test of time. West Indies Cricket and chaos. The original superstars of the game face a battle every day at home, a prolonged power struggle with their governing body, the West Indies Cricket Board.
Over the years, we have seen the ties deteriorate with issues over team selection, management positions and players’ wages causing turmoil. While the players put on a brave face and give their all on the field, the story is very different at home. One day they could be world champions, the next they could be out of a job.
The ridiculousness of the last statement almost makes it sound hypothetical, but that is the exact fate that, first, Curtly Ambrose, the bowling coach, Darren Sammy, the captain of the side and finally, Phil Simmons, the coach faced.
A mere 6 months after leading his side to a historic World T20 title in India, Phil Simmons was out of a job. As he prepared to take his team on a long tour of Pakistan in the UAE, he was told he would not be receiving a boarding pass, he would have to let his players go out on their own, and that he was sacked.
The West Indies Cricket Board issued an impassionate statement following his sacking:
"In recent times, based on the public pronouncements of the coach and the approach internally, we have identified differences in culture and strategic approach. The WICB would, therefore, like to thank the coach for his contribution and wishes him the best in his future endeavors."
And that was it. Fast forward a couple of months and the West Indies side, who came into this tour on good form, being world champions in T20s and having performed remarkably well in a tri-nation series with South Africa and Australia, have now lost 5 matches in a row against Pakistan.
First, they lost the 3 match T20 series 3 – 0 and have now just lost the first two ODIs.
Dwayne Bravo hits out
One of the senior members of the squad, Dwayne Bravo, feels the blame has to be laid at the feet of the WICB for their current predicament. In an interview with a local radio station in Trinidad and Tobago, the all-rounder spoke at length about the problems plaguing the squad.
On how the team reacted upon finding how that their coach was sacked: "The honest truth is, it is very difficult for a bunch of guys - collectively - 15 guys to switch on and go play in a series when on the day of the team travelling, they find out that their head coach was fired. Which organization in the world would do things like that?"
Not only had Simmons ensured that the squad performed well, he was also starting to earn the trust of the public.
On the best coach he has ever had: "I've been in the team for 12 years and if it is one coach I actually see come there and the players really, really look up to and really enjoyed playing for [was Simmons]. The players had that trust with Simmons and it is no longer there anymore .”
It almost made no sense for the team to have such a sharp dip in form, having even beaten Indian in a two-match T20 series in the USA.
On the morale of the team on tour: "I was there in Dubai and basically players were lost, the management team looked lost ... we were looking like school kids again. The team meetings had no sort of positive input or anything like that. It was like we were just there."
Dwayne Bravo was certainly in a pensive mood and he left with a warning, that if these issues are not addressed quickly, the future of West Indies cricket might be rather bleak.
One can only hope that the board pays heed and give the respect to the players and staff that they are due.