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Yeah Martin, Talk Nah
I have consistently and cogently castigated and chastised so many of our cry-baby prima donnas who appear to be overpaid under-performers, and a continued embarrassment and regional shame for us almost every time they go on to the field. West Indian supporters have been cowed, beaten down and fearful to stand up and tell them to get off the field and stop bringing us to shame. And when influential persons like Clive Lloyd, Michael Holding and Vivian Richards attempt to do so, they are dismissed as just engaging in “ole talk”—Yeah Viv, talk nah.
The imprudent, impetuous, impertinent, intemperate, inappropriate and injudicious act of Dinesh, probably sums up more accurately the thinking, mood and behaviour of our batting and bowling boys. They appear to be marooned against the opposition, uniforms notwithstanding, each time they go out to the middle to represent us.
They are under-performing on the field of play and over-performing in the nightclubs and hotel rooms. Some seem to be just focused on the earnings and the trappings of their positions as overnight millionaires and “flash in the pan” heroes, to the point where only your second century, after dozens and dozens of test appearances, makes you feel vindicated and back to thinking you’re a superstar.
So to hell with others—let them talk. This betrays a thinking, reflective of people who have no real sense of responsibility to the people of the region. People who appear to lack a sense of the history of the game and what it means to Caribbean people, and what it meant to us as West Indians when our boys were able, against all odds, to stand up in the middle at Lords and put thrashing after thrashing on our former colonial masters, in the gentleman’s game they once taught us. Now we’ve come full circle and the former colonial master once again has the whip in hand.
We have a team which can reach new lows each day they take the field. They can break so many bad records that one just has to hold one’s breath every time they go out, hoping that if they lose again, that they don’t embarrass us completely in the process. Then they stand around after each loss, grinning with their sparkling Oakley sunglasses, their gold chains blinging around their necks and their diamond stud earrings glinting in the sunlight.
Some of them, buffoons and jesters, have not a clue as to the seriousness or portent of the events unfolding all around them. They ignore the loss of the Test Match, so caught up in celebrating a pyrrhic and illusory victory against Viv, they feel “Viv-dicated.” We have been overly tolerant and overindulgent with these boys for way too long, from the days when their under-performance and incompetence were merely benign, to the point where it has now become cancerous and malignant.
No other civilised region in this world would have tolerated or endured this long winter of discontent which the West Indies players have subjected us to. Fans from any other part of the world would have strung up these players publicly and hung them out to dry, while scouting about for new talent. The legends have spoken out and the young curs have snapped and snarled back in defiance. They are dragging the tattered image of West Indies cricket even further through the mud, to the point where it seems that opposing teams relish the prospect of playing against us in order to get their names in the Guinness book of records.
If the infamous Digicel memo is to be believed, it would appear that our beloved West Indies cricketers have been for some time now, dedicating much more time and effort to giving rousing off-field performances behind closed doors, than being focused and committed to on-field conquests on the cricket pitch.
The problem with this is that while some of our high-priced prima donna boys are out there “having a little fun,” the cricket-loving West Indian public has, by and large, had very little to celebrate at all in recent years. When you have reached to the top of your game, playing your sport at the highest international level, you are no longer a boy “having a little fun.” You are not bigger than the game and no matter how well your past performances have been, you need to keep giving your best effort in each new game.
Our boys are indeed fortunate that they have the benefit of a tolerant, fun-loving public, and not one that is violent. We make excuses for them, we laugh with them, we cry with them, we fete them, we tolerate them, we throw parties for them after they lose, so much so, that they may seem to think that if they lose more they will get to fete more.
But what do we get in return for all this niceness and all this love we give to our boys? They go off on tour, hunting for more niceness and even more love, scoring centuries indoors at night and duck the next morning on the field of play. They are too tired from their own versions of night cricket, as they stumble and struggle through one lackluster performance after another with inevitable results. And when we complain they give a one-in- a-million flash of performance and then say—“Yeah Martin, talk nah.”
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