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Darren Sammy's 30 second destruction

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Darren_Sammy_West_Indies_cricketTheir fans have a world of expectations of them. The cricketing fraternity remains moved by the constant mushrooming of talent in their backyard, but bemoan their downfall. Their players have power if not the best of application. And despite having age and flair on their side, at a time when they should be getting all the support possible from their administration, they seem to be let down by it again and again.

The fashion in which West Indies Cricket functions is akin to a movie panning out on the big screen with a disclaimer: there can be messy turns every now and again. Their constant struggles notwithstanding, for some reason, West Indies Cricket continues to find new ways to shoot themselves in the foot.

Another controversial ruling

Even when things appear to be bright, there's a rush of controversial decisions that hijack the attention from their game. Within 3 weeks of Denesh Ramdin's controversial axing from the Test side comes another shocker. And this is one from which West Indies cricket can go in two directions: either there will be complete disarray in their close-knit unit, functioning in a format where they visibly excel; or their firebrand style of cricket will be powered to surprising new heights under the tutelage of a vastly inexperienced leader.

It took Chief Selector Courtney Browne from the WICB precisely 30 seconds to strip Darren Sammy of his captaincy in the shortest format. Quite frankly, any follower of Windies Cricket would feel this move is inexplicable. It signals another hefty blow to the bizarre state of affairs governing one of cricket's most illustrious but inconsistent sides. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when none expected it.

This time, the axe falls on Sammy

The happy go lucky, warm hearted St. Lucian is fondly regarded for his spirited leadership. There is an unspoken panic in the Caribbean as Sammy was unequivocally considered as the most dependable T20 leader for his side. He had recently led the Windies to their jubilant triumph in the subcontinent, conquering everyone including the hosts India, as well as the Lankans, the Proteas and the English in that oh so memorable final.

He was their inspirational leader. A doer who believed that 'talk is cheap' (harking back to the Sammy vs Faulkner rhetoric in 2014). Gayle regarded him well, and still does, as exemplified by his tweets. Bravo adored him. The likes of Pollard, Narine and Russell all flourished under his captaincy.

A cheerful leader, a selfless man

He was single-handedly responsible for bringing Suleiman Benn into the T20 side (not the most promising weapon in Windies' often imbalanced unit). Only last year, when Jason Holder was promoted ahead of Darren Sammy to captain of an embattled side in the World Cup, the ever-smiling Sammy extended his full support to the rising, promising Barbadian. Unlike others, he wasn't threatened by it and welcomed Jason's rise with gusto and hope.

After all what would have Sammy gained out of it? Haven't we seen him smile generously and cheer unstoppably every time his team creates a bit of magic in the middle?

Inspiringly, here was a man who seemed every bit ready and competent as a leader to push the younger lot to excel and have the seniors- Gayle and Bravo- guide a side under incredible pressure and requiring as much direction as a soldier in the heat gasping for water.

Chop and change won't lead to change

In an ungainly move that echoes past conflicts, Sammy's axing amplifies the problems in the Windies. It reaffirms the fact that success garnered by a young side on the verge of transformation doesn't hold much water in front of the ego of the grumpy old coterie of men who wish to rebuke the present crop of cricketers. Sammy's emotional monologue after thumping England at Eden Gardens in the final wasn't a battle of words, but a commentary on the dire state of affairs in Caribbean, a region that worships cricket, and about a sport that gives the individual islands a collective identity.

It wasn't meant to be Sammy versus the West Indies. Rather, it was one man's helpless confession toward stitching an unlikely success story of leading talented men otherwise marred by vested interests and disinterested souls who seek pleasure from resting on past laurels in the Caribbean.

The truth certainly is that cricket is affected by the power hungry in Caribbean and chewed upon by their paltry egos. It orchestrates a despotic functioning of a game much loved in the Caribbean and one that needs desperate restructuring & drastic improvement if the game is to prosper. It constantly befits the image of a glorious swansong instead of a princely rise. After all, talent is still fresh here. There are the likes of Dowrich, Chase, Cummins, Walton, Charles and Hetmeyer in the region and they are making heads turn.

It is an unfortunate case where not even Sammy's masterstrokes- evidenced by his 27 victories in 47 T20 game where he's lead from the helm can do much. Hope Browne and his functionaries are listening.

 

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