Yes, We Can!

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Yes, let the people celebrate; enjoy every moment of our success (Photo: Peter Adrien)

Yes, we have made history! We are the first nation (the Caribbean nation) to score an ICC Treble – to win three Championships in weeks. Our children endured near-insurmountable challenges to rewrite cricketing history, signaling to the global society, our resolve; our faith and our self-determination.

On Sunday morning, 03 April 2016, West Indies claimed their first Women’s World Twenty20 with a pulsating eight-wicket win over Australia at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, India. In the evening, the West Indian men did the exceptional, becoming the first nation to win the ICC World T20 twice (in 2012 and in 2016). The double championship in one day came weeks after the West Indies Under-19 Team won the ICC Under-19 World Cup for the first time in their history, beating India by five wickets in Dhaka on 14 February 2016.

Here is the day’s account (03 April 2016). Our young talented ladies denied the cocky Australians the prestigious status of winning the title for four consecutive times. Australian chose to bat and posted 148-5, with Elyse Villani making the first half century in a final. But our 18-year-old opener Hayley Matthews, the youngest to play at that level, hit a stunning 66 off 45 balls with three sixes, in a stand of 120, and floored the Kangaroos. In the grand finale, the young men became the first team to win the ICC World T20 twice with a dramatic four-wicket victory over England riding on Carlos Brathwaite four consecutive lusty sixes in the final over of the innings. Chasing a tricky target of 156, it was Marlon Samuels, who did an encore of the 2012 final that Darren Sammy’s men had won, hitting a magnificent 85 not out off 66 balls with nine boundaries and two huge sixes. Like Hayley Matthew, it was the rookie (27-year old) unheralded Carlos Brathwaite, who scored 34 off only 10 balls as he hit the four most important sixes  of his short cricketing career.

But it was our children who had set the pace less than two months before. The West Indies Undder-19 stunned overwhelming favorites India to clinch their maiden ICC Under-19 World Cup title after Keacy Carty’s unbeaten half-century helped them chase down a tricky target for a five-wicket victory in a tense final on Sunday, 14 February 2016. They did that at a time when their young men were engaged in a protracted contractual dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup. Youth Captain Shimron Hetmyer’s marshalled his team to chase down a 146-run victory target with three balls to spare. But the young people are together! The young men were present to celebrate with the young women. The West Indies Women completed their victory over three-time champion, Australia’s domination, with an emphatic eight-wicket victory at the Eden Gardens.  They young men led by Captain Darren Sammy, bowling Coach Curtley Ambrose and all-rounder Andre Russell, ran onto the field to celebrate the Caribbean “she-roes.” Yes, the moment the princesses reached the target, courtesy of an overthrow, the entire dugout jumped in joy as the team joined the two not out batswomen in the middle. These developments should have spurred dancing, celebration and reveling from Jamaica in the north to Guyana in the south but prevailing tension between labor and capital somewhat tone-down the intensity of the celebration. Why is that so? According to reliable media sources, there have been an exchange of letters between West Indies T20 cricket captain Darren Sammy to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and from WICB CEO Michael Muirhead to Sammy, dealing with disagreement on payments and compensation for participation in the ICC T20 World Cup and associated conditions. Part of the problem seem to be over the representation of players who do not wish to be represent by West Indies Player Association (WIPA) and its President Mr. Wavell Hinds. Moreover there is a feeling of isolation among tour party, apparent by a breakdown of communication between the team and the WICB management.  On related issues, there is strained relationship between the West Indies Board and CARICOM over the governance and development of the West Indies Cricket, and relations with the cricketers. WICB and CARICOM seems to have a different viewpoint with respect to rights of West Indian cricketers, who are really commodities. The fact is that the tension amongst the economic actors is affecting our celebration.

Despite the fighting and bickering, our Caribbean young people are succeeding. Why our young people did so well in the last eighty weeks? Why are our new generation (the youth and young adults) successful on the international market? What are they doing that the older generation is not doing? Despite our constant criticism of them at home, in the church, in the media and in the public arena, what are the virtues that our new generation demonstrate that make for success? Captain Darren Sammy says, “We back ourselves to get any target set by our opponent.” Prior to leaving for the World T20 Tournament, Dwayne Bravo cut a single, “We are Champions” and choreographed the dance for it, as part of the motivation. We have noted, that our young people have strong faith in God, reflecting the Caribbean Christian influence.  The always put God first and attribute all successes to Him. This perhaps explains why at the post-match interviews, our Caribbean athletes always give glory to God for their achievements. ICC Commentator Michael Slater asked Carlos Braithwaite, “how did you manage 19 runs in 4 ball, the young man said, “I just first thank my God;” when Captain Darren Sammy was asked, “how did you do it,” he replied, “I must first give thanks to the Almighty.” From all of them I hear, faith in God make them humble and give them the power to endure and take on all adversaries. We just learnt that Grenadian Andre Fletcher is the Team Pastor.

The truth is that our young people are more humble than we speak of them – many more focused, successful but earthly, than we care to confess. Despite its heterogeneity, sociologists agree that the Caribbean is largely a Christian society, the role of faith in development and change is critical to any project, program or undertaking. To the great many, humility guarantees our success, perhaps, borrowed from 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (New International Version). This is lesson that must be learnt by our Caribbean leaders at all levels very quickly – fathers, mothers, investors, bankers, managers, prime ministers and other ministers, diplomats, civil servants, teachers, doctors, lawyers, judges and magistrates, architects and contractors, media workers and, particularly “the many who claim that they are men and women of God.”

What is the message emanating from the three victorious cricket young teams? The message of “Yes We Can,” a call for collective action from a position of humility – putting the collective interest before the individual interest. Barrack Obama taught us to pledge to work together; stop emphasizing “I” and practice: “We can do this together.”  Caribbean young people are asking us to listen to them; hear them and include them in the problems and solutions; and stop seeing them as the problem!

The cricket statisticians will never abstract the value-added of the championship events through statistical analysis. The cricket historian who is concerned with capturing the developments and movements will make the reader wiser. The treble is an expression of self-determination. Can we achieve this is our generation? 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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