Yesterday, I had the opportunity to listen to a video clip from Sportsmax with the headline “Marlon Samuels annoyed with West Indies Cricket.” Your guess is as good as mine whether the rebuilding process is still a matter of concern or urgency. The issue at the forefront for Marlon Samuels is that, firstly he was issued a “No Objection Certificate” by someone on the board of the WICB. This would allow him to play in Bangladesh without being sanctioned by the WICB. Secondly, if the player in question has a bowling problem and is given the go ahead to rectify his issue what’s the problem! Why is it that the said individual cannot play in the upcoming series against England?
Remarkably, the WICB expects players to sign a “Retainer Contract,” which, invariably binds the player to only to play for West Indies it be Test Series or One Day International games. Many of our players will definitely not sign a retainer contract for varying reasons. One which stands out is the fact that players are not automatically selected to play for the West Indies. It is said that in order for any player to be selected for the West Indies Team they must play in first class competitions. Fair enough if the selectors want to get a feel of which player to select based on their individual performance be it with their bowling or batting, no problem with that. What if after selecting such a player he doesn’t perform up to expectation? Do we drop him from the squad without even trying to help that individual to correct what was wrong in the first instance?
Way too often, the WICB wants to stifle its players by not allowing them to try and operate outside of the realms of West Indies Cricket. Back in the days many of our players who were playing county cricket in England sat at home working in menial jobs while waiting anxiously to be selected once again to don the maroon jersey to play for the West Indies. I remember vividly the unfortunate experience of a young lad from St. Kitts and Nevis who played very well in the Carib Beer competition as it was called at the time, got selected to represent the West Indies but on his test debut he never performed up to expectation and was never selected to play for the West Indies for a very long time. To me it’s as if you’re playing with someone’s life, they fail so you throw them to pasture.
At the age of 19 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, unlike many other players, successfully made his test debut for the West Indies cricket team. He had many odds against his him, being, at the time the youngest player on the team. Chanderpaul had never played in-front of such a large crowd, and only played cricket on small pitches just at the club level. With his test debut he came to the crease to meet an experience batsman in the form of Jimmy Adams. Fortunately or unfortunately Chanderpaul came to the crease due to the fact that both batsmen had crossed the pitch during which time the batsman had been out so Chanderpaul would have to face the spin bowler Shane Warne aka “Warnie”. The first ball bowled to Chanderpaul was missed and he fell to the floor. Had it not been for the experienced Jimmy Adams who reassured him not to worry, “it’s just the beginning of his career there is many more balls like that he has to face”, he might not have made is half century or wouldn’t have be given a second chance to play for the West Indies.
Not to stray too much from the issue at hand, but, I find it hard that the WICB wants players to actually agree to a retainer contract and if called to represent an overseas club one has to think twice before saying yes. It happened to Ramnaresh Sarwan, who did think twice before representing his IPL team over West Indies. If you look back at it his situation, it was understandable, but the board saw things different and others too thought it was all about the money and nothing more.
I cannot understand why is it that the WICB wants to walk down that road once again with Marlon Samuels this time, if the player was issued a “No Objection Certification.” Why at this stage of the game when you have an upcoming tour, he is being told otherwise of his none-selection. This even gives senior players more credence in not wanting to go all out and sign these retainer contracts, much less be ready willing and able to represent the West Indies. The two sides (Players and Management) need to come to some compromise because West Indies Cricket alone cannot feed these players and secondly it’s not a surety that one will be selected to play either Test Series or One Day International games. Remember it’s not a guarantee. Playing first class cricket does not give one an automatic selection into the West Indies team. So it’s damn if you do and damn if you don’t. One has to wonder where we go from here with this rebuilding process.