Who are these Imposters?




Sad faces! Caribbean people rise and fall with West Indies Cricket (Photo: Peter Adrien)

Imposters! Imposters! As the die-hard Aussies cricket fans watched the Australian cricketers collapse and gave the 2015 Ashes to England, they chanted, “Who are these impostors wearing the Aussie shirts today?” As we watch the humiliation of our West Indies Cricket team following our triple championship in the first quarter of 2016, the sickness in our stomach and the anger in makes us ask, “Who are these impostors “running” West Indies Cricket?

Man, woman and child are asking, is there a deliberate plot to humiliate us as a people – to make us look as second class people – a people who has no capacity to excel as CricInfo journalist, Mark Nicholas described Daren Sammy and his Champion T20 Team during the ICC WT20 in India earlier this year? Is there a section of our society which is bent on pursuing its own agenda unmindful of who it hurts?

The management style and selection policy of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) caused many cricketing fans, the world over, to question our cricketing supremacy (in the shorter version of the game) on the Pakistan tour in the United Arab Emirates. Here are the facts (the outcome of the three contests): In the T20 tournament, Pakistan won by 9 wickets (with 34 balls remaining); Pakistan won by 16 runs and; Pakistan won by 8 wickets (with 29 balls remaining). In the ODI tournament, Pakistan won by 111 runs (D/L method); Pakistan won by 59 runs and; Pakistan won by 136 runs. In the test series, Pakistan won by 56 runs in the first and by 133 runs in the second. We certainly will not forget the famous victory in the third test match, where Kraig Brathwaite led the fight with two unbeaten innings (142* and 60*). In a consolation victory, West Indies 337 (Brathwaite 142*, Chase 50, Wahab 5-88) and 154 for 5 (Brathwaite 60*, Dowrich 60*, Yasir 3-40) beat Pakistan 281 (Aslam 74, Misbah 53, Bishoo 4-77) and 208 (Azhar 91, Sarfraz 42, Holder 5-30) by 5 wickets. Nevertheless, the few things to write home about were not sufficient to remove the emotional pain of the two “whitewash” and the imposing wins in the test series. We will, however, remember Bravo (116), Bishoo (10 for 174) and Braithwaite (143*) for their individual brilliance.

It is the management style of the WICB which has continued to hurt our team, our performance and the Caribbean people. Since the ICC World T20 tournament, there appears to be a careful and calculated plan to weed out some players from the West Indies Team by any means necessary. And the former Barbados and West Indies wicket-keeper/batsman seem to be the man chosen to carry that dysfunctional policy. On 23 June 2016, Clive Lloyd, was removed as chairman of selectors after just two years in charge, with immediate effect. He has been replaced by former West Indies wicketkeeper and Barbados captain Courtney Browne. Lloyd oversaw a turbulent period which included the fractious abandoned one-day tour of India and the controversial non-selection of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo. The WICB also announced that from October 1, Lloyd would move to a new role as a “special ambassador”, in which he would be responsible for acting as a spokesperson for the board at special events.

Here is a chronology of the board and selection committee’s decisions. First, immediately after the World T20, the WICB relieved Ambrose from his role, which caught him by surprise. Second, Denesh Ramdin was sacked on 06 July (Barbados Today, 06 July 2016)). Third, Darren Sammy was sacked by Courtney Browne as West Indies Twenty20 captain just days before the third test match against India (on 9-14 August 2016) at the ground named after him (Barbados Today, 07 August 2016) – Sammy was replaced as captain with Carlos Brathwaite for the two T20Is against India in Florida in 27 and 28 August. Fourth, West Indies Coach Phil Simmons was sacked due to “differences in culture and strategic approach”, the WICB has confirmed. He was informed about the termination of his contract by WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead shortly before the West Indies T20 squad was due to fly to the UAE to play Pakistan. The sacking came just six months after West Indies had won the World T20 in India; In October, allrounder Kieron Pollard was dropped from the West Indies team for the Tri-Nation series involving Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe next month because he lacked ‘batting commitment,’ during his stint with the team in the Pakistan. (Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, October 20, 2016)

Who is the new mercenary, Courtney Browne? It is interesting that Courtney Browne fired Ramdin because his Test average of 25.87 “was simply not good enough.” Ramdin made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2005 and has so far made 2 898 runs with 166 the highest of his four Test centuries to go along with 15 half-centuries. Browne played 20 Tests between 1995 and 2005, scored 387 runs at an average of 16.12 with one half-century in 30 innings. Lest you forget, it was Courtney Browne who orchestrated our test downfall in 1995, when, in his test debut Test debut against Australia in 1995 at Sabina Park, Jamaica (the result of the “deceit” that got rid of Grenadian Junior Murray). With the series tied 1-1 and West Indies having not lost a series for 15 years, Browne dropped a simple chance offered by Steve Waugh on 40. Waugh went on to score 200, West Indies lost the match, the series, the Frank Worrell trophy, their Test match dominance, and have been in the Test doldrums since then.

This is certainly not the functional management approach; not the development option that is preferred; not the ideal product-development strategy expected from a team that on the decline in the longer version of the game (test). The West Indies Team ranked 8th in tests ahead of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe; 9th in ODI, ahead of Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland; and 4th in T20 according the ICC ranking for tests, ODI and Twenty20 as of 30 October 2016. There is no doubt that the West Indies can dominate the T20 market; with good selection and application, could hold its own in the ODI sector; but as I have argued elsewhere, the West Indies Test Team does not have the capacity to make in into the top tier of world test cricket. The combination of poor management, flawed selection policy, depleting stock of raw materials, competition from the T20 market, and an apparent absence of adaptability to the demands of the longer version of the game (test cricket) which requires endurance, resilience, mental fortitude, and longsuffering – scarce commodities among our global “millennials’ – account for the prolonged drought.

However, the production process is made much more difficult with the apparent imposition of crony board of directors and selectors. Our primary concern is a combination of administrative, management and selection policies that are driven by hate, race, nationality, fraternity, class, revenge and greed rather than growth, development, support, compassion, equity, love and respect. Since the Era of global domination under Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards, these divisive and destructive factors have continued to destroy our society, our economy, our governance and our self-determination.  Daren Sammy expressed the frustration of the Caribbean people, when he said, “If the blind leads the blind they are bound to fall in a pit.” (ESPNCricinfo, September 13, 2016)

How did the West Indies Cricket Team get where it is? I suggest that the real question should be how did the Caribbean society get where it is? The prevailing problems are bigger than the WICB and West Indies Cricket. We are dealing with a prolonged impediment to Caribbean growth and development. The evidence is right before our eyes – although some of us prefer denial than reality. Food inflation is exacerbating the problem of diabetes and reducing a section of our population to amputees; many will never own a home; many are slaving daily for foreign profit-oriented banks and; unemployment is skyrocketing in every country of the region since the financial and economic crisis. And it is beginning to bite! Some governments are so stretched that they no longer speak about containing HIV Aids; some others do so, preferring to service their debt and cutting expenditure, leaving hospitals without basic supplies and equipment, and refusing to provide good working conditions in primary and secondary schools. In truth and in fact, much of our ailing and suffering are associated with the distrust, hate, deceit and deception that have become part of the Caribbean society and governance.

Like the Australian cricket fans, we too, can justifiably cry, “Imposter! Imposters!” Seeing that the issue is larger than West Indies Cricket and the WICB, the “imposters” (we refer to) are not restricted to the immediate administration and managers of WICB. In 2016, we have more wealth than we have ever had before; we have more education than we have ever had before; we have more degrees than we have ever had before; we have more information that we have ever had before; we have more access to the global community than we have ever had before; we have more radio programs than we have ever had before; we have more “talk shows” than we have ever had before; we have more “men of God” than we have ever had before, but lamentably our day-to-day actions and relations are still wrapped up in deception. Trust has been so eroded by “imposters” in our midst that developments in civil society, the market and the state, are seldom what they appear to be – stage performances. Our leaders in our homes, churches, communities, businesses, fraternities and governments have literally lost their influence on the “Millennials” (our young people, 15-35 years of age) because their actions are contrary to their words – “imposters” parading as fathers, mothers, ministers of religion, opinion-setters, community leaders, policy-makers, law-makers, institutional builders, visionaries, public servants and ministers of governments. One should not be surprised by this troubling development which is rapidly becoming accepted practice or part of our culture, for Jesus Christ prophesized that this behavior would characterize the closing stage of planet earth.  He said, “Imposters will come claiming to be messiahs… to mislead…” (Matthew 24:24, The New English Bible). Isn’t that what we see every day? Imposters in churches; imposters in companies; imposters in clubs; imposters in associations; imposters in board rooms; imposters in uniforms; imposters in schools; imposters in governments; imposters in regional and international institutions; imposters in West Indies Cricket!

What a lamentation! What a dilemma? Seeing that trust is eroding so rapidly, we need to be able to discern the imposter. How do we do that? “Imposters break while progressives build.” They promise much; but deliver little; they call for harmony but promote division; they preach forgiveness but harden themselves against their adversaries; they speak against crime and deviance but organize the lumpen-proletariat for mischief; they call for peace but fuel war. Deception may be contained somewhat if we are determined to make deliberate, moral and just decisions – “we do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.”  We need to make deliberate and godly choices for our self, our children, our household, our community and our global village, with respect to relationship, sexuality, parenting, schooling, work, career, selecting mangers, choosing leaders, and caring for the environment. This is how the genuine is differentiated from the imposter.

Bravo! Let’s be genuine and watch the results! Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13, NIV.


Peter Adrien is an author, business coach, financial counselor, economic adviser and columnist. Visit: www.goadriens.com. Contact him via email: peter@goadriens.com; phone: (869) 668-9752 (St Kitts & Nevis) or (305) 848-7604 (USA); twitter: @goadriens; facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Goadriens

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