A triumph to savour

Monday, October 08, 2012    

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Sadly, most Jamaicans weren't able to see it, nor hear it.

The modern realities of media and economics meant that only those with access to cable television and then again to a particular cable channel, and others with Internet access, watched as West Indies won the ICC World Twenty/20 cricket title in Sri Lanka.

Worse, not a single Jamaican radio station either could afford to, or saw fit, to pay the cost of the broadcast.

Economics was undoubtedly a factor. But also the cricket blackout in Jamaican broadcast media reflected the deep loss of confidence that has over the last decade and more haunted the regional game.

That loss of confidence meant that even as the rest of the world - based on the great success on the professional circuit of Mr Chris Gayle et al - installed West Indies favourites, West Indians hung back, fearful of painful disappointment.

Credit is due to Mr Daren Sammy's team that even when they stumbled early in the tournament, they kept faith and stuck together.

The enormous possibilities for the human spirit even in the most adverse circumstances, was proven yet again.

This West Indies team has achieved the region's first major triumph in eight years (dating back to the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy) and its greatest triumph in 33 years (1979 ICC Cricket World Cup) despite being governed by the most shambolic administration in World Cricket.

Even as West Indies celebrated their semi-final triumph over Australia, word came that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was apologising to eminent jurist Mr Seenath Jairam for an unbelievably foolish statement relating to yet another expensive arbitration ruling against the Board. It summed up the administrative record of the WICB in recent years - all too often rushing about like a bull in a China shop.

It is to their eternal credit that players and team management were able to unite as quickly as they did after the unnecessarily fractious issue involving Mr Chris Gayle.

Politicians often get a bad name. But cricket watchers will surely not forget that it was the intervention of regional prime ministers, notably Jamaica's Mrs Portia Simpson Miller, and Messrs Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent & the Granadines and Baldwin Spencer of Antigua & Barbuda which brought the ludicrous stand off between the WICB and Mr Gayle to an end.

There should be no more talk about an absence of heart on the part of our players. To rebound the way they did yesterday after all seemed lost, reflected not just talent but an iron will to succeed for the greater glory of the Caribbean people. Their extraordinary and typically flamboyant celebration only underlined the point.

No praise can be too high for Mr Gayle who has played with his heart on his sleeve, putting to flight the doubters, cynics and 'don' makers.

What of Mr Marlon Samuels? Scoffed at over many years as immature and wasteful of his immense talent, Mr Samuels returned two years ago from a two-year ban for inappropriate behaviour, seemingly a new man. His recent consistency as a batsman has been an eye opener. His innings yesterday will go down as one of the great limited overs' knocks of all time.

But for this newspaper, the greatest individual accolade should go to the captain. Most of us would have wilted under the immense pressure Mr Sammy has had to bear over the last two years - not least because of his obvious limitations as a player. Yet Mr Sammy has refused to submit or to waver from his self-belief.

This is one victory we will savour for a long time.





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