x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

West Indies: going down the drain

The present generation of West Indies cricketers are a slight on the rich legacy of the Caribbean.

The recent visit of Desmond Haynes, the feared former West Indies opening batsman, to the UAE brought back memories of the heady days when we grew up on a dazzling dose of Calypso cricket; the years when we wanted to bat like Gordon Greenidge, bowl like Malcolm Marshall and play with the swagger of Sir Viv Richards. The country's bowlers struck fear into the hearts of batsman around the world and Greenidge, Richards and Co would ruthlessly dismantle opposition bowling attacks. They were the stars of cricket and steamrollered every team in their path.

The present generation of West Indies cricketers are a slight on the rich legacy of the Caribbean. The once lions of the game have been tamed and money is playing a part. Kieron Pollard has cashed in on the money-spinning Twenty20 by signing for Somerset, the English domestic side, instead of touring with West Indies A. Chris Gayle is wishing Test cricket fall by the wayside so he can, presumably, become a freelancer and auction himself off to the highest T20 bidder.

The urge to make money is perfectly understandable. Many of West Indies' former Test players live in abject poverty; some have even been forced to beg on the streets of Barbados and Trinidad, a few have become drug addicts. The West Indies Cricket Board seems to have done little to ease those fears. Like the late Malcolm Marshall once said about West Indies cricket, "everything seems to be going down the drain ? "

The stench is getting a bit unbearable. arizvi@thenational.ae