There have been many ups and lows in West Indian cricket over the years, more of the latter in recent times. However, the decision to pull out of the Indian tour mid-way is a new bottom point, even by West Indies' falling standards. The fact that an international cricket team, which was among the first nations to get Test status, has to pull out of a proper series, exemplifies the tatters that West Indian cricket is in. Pay is one of the basic requisites of any profession, and cricket after all, is also one for the players. It is a huge embarrassment then for West Indian cricket that they cannot get such very basics in order.
Now that West Indies cricket has hit rock bottom, things cannot get any worse, at least, the ardent fans of Caribbean cricket will hope so, all parties involved must try to make a genuine effort to solve the crisis. It is high time that the pay issue is settled. In the past as well, many fights have taken place between the players and the West Indies board. In fact, Chris Gayle had been out of the team for well over a year due to irreconcilable differences with the board. Also, it was due to the impasse between players and the board that Darren Sammy became the captain out of nowhere. It is another matter altogether that he did a credible job as leader.
The news going around is that the cricket board might penalise the rebel players for pulling out of the Indian tour midway. That, however, would be the wrong way to go about things, and would only make the relations between the players and the board even more bitter. On the contrary, the boards and the players must sit across the table and try to bring an amicable end to the dispute. The board must hear out the players while the players must also try to reason out things with the board. An end has to be put to the open war once and for all, for which both parties must be willing to compromise.
With the World Cup coming up, it is imperative that West Indies try to concentrate as much as possible on the on-field issues. The India tour was a good opportunity for West Indians to play some challenging cricket against a high-quality opponent. Unfortunately, that has come to an abrupt end. The first priority for West Indies cricket now must be to solve the problems as soon as possible and get back to performing on the cricket field. Remember, the World Cup is only months away now, and after a long time, the West Indian outfit is looking like one that can challenge the best. It would be a pity if they go into the mega event with pay issues at the back of their minds.
While the Indian series ended abruptly, West Indies did manage to pick up some positives over the course of the three games. This series was extremely significant for Marlon Samuels, and he displayed his love for Indian conditions yet again, cracking two centuries in three games. Jerome Taylor's bowling in the first two matches was also a high point for West Indies. He could be the leader of the attack at the World Cup. Finally, West Indies may have lost at Dharamshala, but they went down fighting courtesy a scintillating Andre Russell cameo.
--By A Cricket Analyst