It seems disaster after disaster is hounding us down these days. Firstly, those fellow citizens who were recently affected by the worst floods to have hit this country in my memory, and many of them losing all their worldly possessions including their homes.
After a few sunny spells, the rains came back over to cause more havoc and of course panic and fear in the hearts of those same individuals and also some individuals who did not initially suffer the same losses as our brothers and sisters in the central and eastern provinces.
Of course, there is very little one can do to prevent natural disasters except to take the necessary precaution and to hope and pray at the end of it you come out unscathed; the ironic thing is you feel so helpless and powerless.
Disaster No 2 was our national Under-20 football team being hammered 6-1 to the defending champions, the USA. This was after two wonderful victories against St Vincent and the Grenadines and Puerto Rico.
Let me make it abundantly clear, I don’t blame these young men one bit. There are names I am familiar with as many of them played in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) up to 2017 and some even have played in the current season of the SSFL; a league which I happen to do commentary on with Sportsmax so a lot of the names on the squad I know are very talented individuals.
But for Heaven’s sake, how could the football powers that be (and I won’t mention their name, it’s not worth it) send these young men to represent our nation without the type of preparation they would need to compete against the mighty USA U-20 team? Of course, the motivation for the USA team would have been easy.
All the coaches would have reminded them repeatedly that the T&T senior team prevented their country from going to the World Cup in Russia this year. But these gifted young men were sent out to the battlefield with no preparation to be absolutely hammered by the USA.
The worst part of this is that it is a disaster that could and should have been avoided. There are those of you who would not support the view that there was a serious lack of preparation and I actually met one fan who insisted to me it is a poor excuse the captain used when he was interviewed about the lack of preparation and had they been more prepared they would have given a better account of themselves.
The fan’s view is that if they are talented, they should have pulled through and maybe tactically they weren’t good and their ball control and passing was not good enough.
Another startling excuse is to blame the Super League. I don’t even think that excuse merits a comment other than what utter garbage!
I think I must have missed something here. Isn’t a huge part of preparation ball control, passing, shooting, tactics, learning about the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses etc?
The footballing powers that be (remember I am not calling their name) will obviously start making excuses and looking for a scapegoat(s). First on the list could be the coach who was expected to perform miracles then, of course, no money to prepare the team as they had to get money for the team to travel and for their hotel accommodation.
As some of my friends would say, SSDD or same story different day! The funny thing is we still have Suriname and the US Virgin Islands to play and we may very well beat them. We could then leave this tournament with four victories and one loss and in some quarters there may be those who will beat their chest and say we had a successful tournament based on our preparation.
But unfortunately, on this occasion success is based on not coming second but on winning and qualifying for the U-20 World Cup.
Disaster No 3: the West Indies tour of India. After the first three matches of the ODI (One Day International) who knows what went wrong. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma took over and that was all they wrote.
I thought we did better than expected but unfortunately, we are not close to India in either the Test or one-day format but credit Jason Holder and his men with one win and one tied superb! I felt we would more than hold our own in the T-20 internationals but in retrospect, we have no openers to build a foundation for our innings.
Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Denesh Ramdin are all exceptionally talented but they are not openers so batting wise we are struggling. Then there is no Sunil Narine to curb the natural stroke play of the Indians, so they could leave out Kohli as we pose no real threat.
I remain unsure as to what the chairman of selectors was thinking when the squad was selected but thankfully there is a bright spark Oshane Thomas. Oh, how I wish I could clone him or better yet find two more like him! Please, somebody, somewhere help!
There are two pleasant events to look forward to, one is the T20 disaster relief game “Cricket with heart” - North vs South at the Queen's Park Oval (Port-of-Spain). Please go out and support!
The other is the West Indies women cricketers defending the ICC Women's World T20 title starting tomorrow in Guyana, versus Bangladesh. Let’s rally behind them and hopefully, they can bring glory to the region. Good luck to our women cricketers!