Raheem Sterling's tiredness and West Indies cricket's coma

Intelek Int'l By Intelek Int'l, 24th Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/mau9cdio/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Sports>Cricket

Is the West Indies cricket team's abandonment of the India tour the beginning of their long-predicted end or just the herald of a new beginning for them?

What goes around...

The recently reported tiredness of Jamaica-born English professional footballer Raheem Sterling and the continuing malaise in West Indies cricket may helpfully be viewed as symptoms of a deeper and broader moral crisis afflicting Caribbean society.

The crux of this crisis can be summarised as an unwillingness or inability of the region's ruling elites to accept their human fallibility and engage with the masses of people more honestly.

The blame-shifting that obtains - for example blaming the European enslavers and colonizers of the past, the ungrateful, rebellious Caribbean youth of the present, the hegemonic Western capitalist hardliners of the United States to the north or the drug pushers to the south who have made the region a transhipment point for their illicit drug and sex trades - may be a reflection of historian Sir Hilary Beckles', publisher Harold Hoyte's and other prominent Barbadian, Jamaican, Antiguan, Trinidadian and Guyanese citizens' inability or unwillingness to consider how their own weaknesses and limitations are contributing to the region's instability.

The fact is, everything under the sun is subject to cycles of degeneration and renewal. Nothing and no one, including West Indies cricket, is above or escapes this fundamental cyclical reality.

Considerations of a possible afterlife aside, we are all diamonds in the sty. In this life, we only ever shine like Rihanna's diamonds in the sky temporarily.

Like Sterling, every human organism and organization at some point experiences fatigue.

Hence West Indies cricket, now approaching a nadir, was destined to fall from the glorious heights of its domination of world cricket inevitably.

Like Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the Great Zimbabwe, the Syro-Babylonian, Ethiopian, British, Dutch, French and Spanish empires, American and Soviet Russian hegemony, all human aspiration and endeavour is tinged by this blooming and withering, 'beauty and terror' interdependency.

The current crisis - the West Indies team's unceremonious, jaw-dropping abandonment of the India 2014 series - is on the withering 'end' of this cyclic continuum, and was brought on by long-running, deep-seated distrust between the current crop of cricketers and those who manage this key facet of Caribbean patrimony, Whycliffe "Dave" Cameron and the other officers and members of the West Indes Cricket Board - WICB.

And the 'conflation' of the WICB supremo's name with that of the British Prime Minister's is indicative of parallels in the imperial, or at least, imperious interests and ambitions in both Caribbean and British national narratives that cannot be addressed in one article fully.

The abandonment of the India tour was a scandal waiting to happen as, despite years of wrangling over terms and conditions of play and pay, no one in the players association or among the Board's administrators seems to have managed to get a firm enough grasp of elementary, movers and shakers marrying principles of compromise and humility.
Sadly, this is not surprising as our Caribbean pride in past extraordinary cricketing exploits has not been sufficiently checked by humility's honesty.

Has any Caribbean cricket lover, academic or otherwise, seriously examined the ethics of "bodyline bowling" militancy by the West Indies?

Rather, it seems that through the academic, Pan Africanist excesses of Beckles and others, we have embraced a secular, ostensibly "scientific" fundamentalist analysis of our exploits that allows no place for the awe, wonder and related humility that past generations of Caribbean cricket lovers embraced graciously.

Call it luck, God, the universe, cosmic justice or what you will, but by whatever name, past generations of Caribbean people, while praising the talents of "our boys" were more apt than many Windies fans today are, to attribute those talents and the victories or tied matches they earned us to a source beyond our human reasoning and other resources, ultimately.

Like the deeply pious, Ridley Jacobs, one of our more outstanding wicket-keeper batsmen, and the man without whom Windies world-beater Brian Lara would not have scored his record-breaking quadruple century, against England in Antigua (2004), the players, administrators and fans of the game were more inclined to thank God for Windies success, or alternately, to say "God is still good", when the team was dealt a defeat.

Today though, the administrators of the game seem to trust entirely in Western capitalist models of development and rate their success in material terms primarily.

And like their professional football counterpart, the players seem to be relying predominantly on models of industrial relations and broadcasting rights intellectual property equations that are principally concerned with their entitlement to substantial sums of money.

Essentially, it's a moving and shaking, 'motives marriage' of Lara to his compatriot, the professional footballer Dwight Yorke - whose first "marriage" was to glamour (and clamour?) model Katie Price, coincidentally.

Of course such monetary and wider material considerations have some ethical and wider legitimacy.

My own initiation of an intellectual property-related human rights abuse reparatory campaign against the Barbados government - in which I am expecting the Commonwealth Secretariat, led by Karen McKenzie, to play a key role - attests to my own reconciliation of material and spiritual considerations and necessities.

Striking the right "bodyline" balance

So, as an advocate of simultaneously critical and holistic thinking, I am not advocating a simplistic "return to God" for West Indies Cricket or Caribbean society.

I am rather advocating the kind of reconciliation of faith and reason that I am best known for in Barbados, and was set to promote in an edition of the popular radio cricket discussion program "Best and Mason", before someone working behind the scenes chose to silence me.

I have written about that extraordinary act of indirect, aggressive silencing by my Barbadian detractors on the premises of the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) previously.

I've mentioned that bodyline-like muzzling at least twice in articles I published on the US-based Allvoices.com blog - which, unfortunately, like the CBC broadcast that day, is a platform that has now also been closed to me.

Like Lara, when he asserted his and other players' rights to be treated with dignity, persons at or close to Pulse Point, the digital publisher behind Allvoices, have apparently determined that I have overstepped my station in life or perhaps polluted their publishing pulpit's purity.

Like some snobbery-prone stakeholders of English cricket, ironically, some of my former Amercan Allvoices-Pulse Point associates and supporters have apparently come to view me as an Allen Stanford-like, "American interloper", intruding on and threatening their vision of and hold on whatever their equivalent of international cricket broadcasting and commentary may be.

Like the voices of the Indian soldiers who fought with the British and other allies in Ypres, Belgium, in the first World War, which were silenced not only by death but also by British racist, bigoted non-reporting of their valorous deeds, my "voice" the record of my Jacobs-approximating and Lara-like, journalistic feats has apparently been erased not only from the Allvoices-Pulse Point platform, but remarkably, from the internet entirely.

By this I mean that even a Google search for any of my Allvoices articles now turns up empty.

(And the Indians' legalistic response to the Windies' players' withdrawal of their services to the WICB is perhaps indicative not only of the state of relations between the WICB and the Board of Control for Cricket India but also of wider relations between blacks dominated Caribbean and Indian society. I address this issue and the role of the BBC's Mike Liggins, the Associated Press' Jill Lawless and other media professionals in my dispute with England-based Indian businessman Surinder Kandola, of American company Domino's Pizza in the next article in this series.)

My good, valiant, Indian-soldier-approximating Allvoices-articles-related deeds thus erased, it's as though I am being castigated, and slandered indirectly - as swashbuckling Windies batsman Chris Gayle was directly slandered and castigated by professor Beckles and other WICB authorities, when he, like Lara, took a stand for players' dignity.

Gayle's voice too, was misrepresented, by Beckles and other elites prone to blame-shifting and finding fault with others because of their own lack of honesty and humility.
Elites like Gregory Nicholls, a Barbadian lawyer, who in a recent Facebook post, offered the following assessment of West Indian cricketers' abandonment of the India series.

He wrote:
"The saga boy or bling culture which is so pervasive and endemic in contemporary Caribbean society is dismantling the very institutions that we has built up as the bedrock of our civilization. West Indies Cricket is only the latest a victim of a highly personalized culture of selfishness, materialism and showmanship. The large gold chains, princess cut diamond earrings and mohawk hair styles is not representative of the culture we once knew: resilience, industry, innovation, fighting just causes for and on behalf of the less fortunate, character, determination and sadly that has given way to the Dwayne Bravos, Chris Gayles and Co. We will not win this battle because we repeatedly refuse to demand a return to the social mores and attitudes that have steadfastly developed our Caribbean society. When that lot determines who is to coach them and how they are to be coached, you begin to understand how it is we have come from Sir Frank Worrell to Dwayne Bravo in West Indies Cricket, from Sparrow to Machel and from Manley, Burnham, Adams, Bird Snr., Dr. Williams and Barrow etc to Simpson-Miller, Stuart, Bissessar, etc. in Politics."

Nicholls, who I passed some time with on a cricket field during my studies at the University of the West Indies, seems oblivious to the fact that a university degree may be just as shallow and materialistic a status symbol as the "large gold chains, princess cut diamond earrings and mohawk hair styles" he identifies as symbols of elite Caribbean athletes' degeneracy.

His analysis is rather confusing really, because he also seems to be of the view (implicitly) that the holding of law degrees by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Trinidad and Tobago's Kamla Persad Bissessar has not made them more enlightened leaders of their countries.

And the political aspirant Nicholls is probably aware, furthermore, that Barbados' legal fraternity is among the least trusted batch of professionals on the island - a situation characteristic of the profession no doubt, throughout western society.

"Lawyers are liars", St Lucian journalist Terry Finnistere, whose sister is a lawyer, once old me.
Is there another profession more patently and persistently prone to moral fatigue?

Alas, medicine, banking and journalism come to mind readily.
But I recall a comment made by the political aspirant and law lecturer Nicholls on a cricket field that explains his apparent bias toward Dave Cameron and other WICB execs and against the players who represent Caribbean people in the trenches-like, bodyline bombing spaces of cricket fields.

I don't remember his exact words, only that his comment clearly suggested a cynical, Mitt Romney-real-politik-like, society segregating view of the democratic notion of equality.

He and other Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and Democratic Labour Party (DLP) reared, Socialist International mentored adherents tend to be afflicted by the poverty of imagination or 'obesity of realism' that capitalists like Romney and evangelical atheists like Steven Hawkins and Richard Dawkins promote proudly.

Such divide and rule rude socialists and their equally ideologically polarized capitalist counterparts propagate a brand of secular humanism that seems to assume God's and all God-fearing people's hostility to their beliefs.

They seem to subscribe to and perpetuate the ideological paedophilia and information abuse of the electorate that parallels the sexual abuse of innocent, carnally ignorant boys and girls by adult, carnal-knowledge-savvy politicians, journalists, educators, lawyers, religious clerics, entrepreneurs, athletes and other predatory elites.

"What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?" asked the Trinidadian Marxist thinker CLR James, revising Rudyard Kipling's "What do they know of England who only England know?" in his 1963 cricketing treatise "Beyond A Boundary".
Some critics of West Indies cricket may see the current state, or better, stasis of play as proof positive that "our boys" are ripe for demotion from the test-playing nations league - an idea on which some VS Naipaul-like, Aryan ancestry proud Australian and English followers of the game seem particularly keen.

They may think it best that proximate to World War I colonial policy, only Indian "conscripts" should be allowed to compete in the test theatres of post-imperial English cricketing conflict and creativity.

(Only Indians were allowed to fight alongside the British on European territory, apparently. The deployment of Indian, Sri Lankan and Bengali "foot soldiers" in English commercial outposts today, especially in petrol stations and post offices, suggests the operation of precisely such a 'follow-up' policy.)

Afro-Caribbean cricketers, they may reason, should be excluded from their equivalents of the Belgic Confession's toleration and the records of heroism documenting the Boston Tea Party.

Selah. A point of reflection there for the likes of Bain Capital and the Romneys.
But being Afro-Barbadian, I am not so concerned with any Aryan rationalizations of God's catholic grace.

I know first-hand that we black people are often our own worst enemy.

I know that the exertions of Cecil Rhodes' government to conceal the African, probably Shona origins of the pyramids of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe (as reported by archaeologist Paul Sinclair particularly have long been exceeded by Afrocentrics like Beckles, Hoyte, Allvoices anchor Herbert J Dyer, the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, the DLP's Donville Inniss, the BLP's Mia Motley, Dr Winston Crokendale of the Abundant Life Assembly and others who for whatever reason, have apparently thought it necessary to either arbitrarily alienate me and other creative "cricketers" from the fruit of our labours or devalue our contributions to Barbadian and wider West Indian society.

South African authorities may bestow whatever honours they wish on late Guyanese dictator Forbes Burnham but nothing will extinguish his culpability (and possibly complicity) in the murder of his compatriot and fellow Pan Africanist Walter Rodney!

And what beauty or terror might be therapeutically unearthed by Beckles and I, through the conscious or unconscious coupling of the name "Rodney", shared by that academic's son, and who killed his Jamaican compatriot Khalil Campbell in 2007 - as the WICB prepared for its first hosting of the World Cup Cricket competition?

I am not as concerned about the controversial, subtly racist Caribbean calypso of Nigel Farage's UK Independence Party (UKIP) as I am about the political opportunist Anthony "Mighty Gabby" Carter's silence about my contribution to his "Calypso Cricket" crowning achievement of 2000, a cynical silence that limited and continues to limit the commercial prospects of a Calypso I released that year, "Obscenity".

Church of England Commissioner Sally Muggeridge, a niece of Malcolm Muggeridge with whom I identify as a Pan Humanist to a profound degree, will know that I am not clutching at straws like the glory-grabbing Gabby.

Reflecting on a conversation she and I had recently, about apparent links between her uncle and child-sex abuse suspect Sir Cliff Richard, among other things she should know that my linguistic, name-sound focused theorizing is concerned with strings, not straws or straw beings, whether male or female, fundamentally.

Indirectly mentored by British-Canadian theologian J I Packer and more directly, though perhaps not as deliberately, by Martha Isaacs, Peter Roberts and other Caribbean linguists, I am a string theorist.

The all-rounder actress, theologian and business executive Muggeridge, like me a multiple-stringed-bow archer and dancer to many genres of music, should know that I stand poised at slips with Carl Hooper-like hands and move with Roger Harper-cat-like silkiness, fielding inspired Learie Constantine, Wes Hall, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Tino Best and Sulieman Benn deliveries.

Like Pastor Jacobs, I am a Black Jacobin, whether crouched behind the stumps, and acting independently, or with the bat supporting a Garfield Sobers, Vivian Richards or Brian Lara, who like Toussaint Louverture is creating and exploiting openings in an Australian, English, Indian, Pakistani or other bowling attack and field.

And while I remain determined to collect every penny I am owed by the Barbados government and its satellite, "saga boy" and "sweet mout" girl god elites, I look on the indirect or direct injuries and slights that I am dealt by my Caribbean compatriots and their international allies with a considerable degree of empathy.

As a creole Caribbean cricketer and cricket administrator simultaneously, I can appreciate the complexity and tensions of the issues that the Caribbean catchment area of indigenous American, African, Germanic and Asian contagions and legacies must come to terms with perennially.

Reconciling my Pan Africanist, Pan Humanist and other ideological instincts and impulses, I humbly embrace the limits of my peculiar ways of knowing (carnally and spiritually) and with the prayerful Methodist practicality, precision and specificity that should have restrained the Cooperative Bank and Labour Party's Paul Flowers, I ultimately judge nobody.

While I may criticise many people liberally, and I like to think fairly, I am also equally keen to affirm all our humanity.
Playing through the line and not the lie, like Nailah-Lie-e-lah-Imojah and her Lie-on Adonijah, I write-off no one - not even would-be first US woman President Hilary Clinton, my "compatriots" Sir Cliff Richard and Pastor David Durant, nor their spiritual "cousin", Reinharde Bonnke.

Leaving judgment to the Ultimate Umpire, I embrace a Barack Obama-like audacity of hope and thereby minimize Sterling-like physical exhaustion and avoid the moral coma afflicting the cricket players and administrators of the West Indies.

Though the bases be loaded against me, I remain an optimist about my own and others' prospects, as indicated in my cricketer's rewrite of Psalm 23, in which you will find this 'small beginning',

"The Lord is my umpire,

for impartial judgement and fairness I shall not want."















Brian Lara, Dwight Yorke, India, Indian Cricket, Katie Price, Raheem Sterling, West Indies

Meet the author

author avatar Intelek Int'l
"I think therefore I jam"
I'm a holistic communication and education specialist, trading as Intelek International (www.intelek.net).
I write about spirituality, science, philosophy, politics, love.

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author avatar AjaySinghChauhan
25th Oct 2014 (#)

very good post i like it and thanks for sharing it with us.

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author avatar Intelek Int'l
25th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks for commenting Ajay. Much appreciated.

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author avatar tafmona
25th Oct 2014 (#)

so unique piece of work, keep up

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author avatar Intelek Int'l
26th Oct 2014 (#)

Thank you Tafmona. Please share the article with people in your network.

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author avatar Markthespark
17th Jan 2015 (#)

Long post but kept my interest throughout. Oh how we long for the Clive Lloyd & o dominance of the 70s and 80s - where they went fifteen years unbeaten. West Indies my favourite team, though I am not even from the Caribbean. Just love the flair, the rich history of the game in the territory. Let's not proffer too many excuses - I know there are a plethora of reasons why WI cricket is on the downslide - instead everyone let's build the current crop now. World cricket needs the team - to do well! Windies playing series' in SA at the moment - and very disappointing to see how they fold - even when the going is good, with the exception of individual performances, like Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle. Kraigg Brathwaite definitely one to watch for Test cricket. By the way Gayle, has announced his displeasure at Dwayne Bravo and Powell being left out of the World Cup squad. He probably thinks it's a backlash for the said India debacle as mentioned in your post. However Clive Lloyd says Powell and Bravo have not performed in the ODI arena. So not sure. All I know as a layman on everything cricket in the Caribbean that the game is riven with politics. Remember was it a bowler (can't get his name now) who caused such a stir in the early 90s when SA played a test in I think it was Barbados? Windies fans boycotted Test because their man wasn't picked? So I don't know difficult one that. Brian Lara my batting hero - simply the best, simply awesome. I cried (and still do) the day he retired. He of the high backlift, the poise, the attacking nous who would not let the bowlers dominate. 400* 501* - simply the best .. never another, very soon! My dad regales me with stories of the three 'Ws' Roy Fredericks, Rohan Kanhai, Sir Gary Sobers, Larry Gomes etc. Then the likes of Holding, Croft, Roberts and one Malcolm Marshall gifted bowlers who struck fear into opposing batsmen. Later in SA on the rebel tours (dare I say it?) we had Sylvester Clarke, Alvin Kallicharran, Lawrence Rowe, David Murray, Collis King etc. By the way in SA at present we have the dulcet tones of Jeff Dujon and Michael Holding, Ian Bishop commentating for radio and TV. How nice to hear them again. Different voices, different opinions always welcome. How can we just let West Indies cricket out to dry, even as their star wanes? Too much history to ignore; they have entertained us cricket lovers and even as they struggle, still they do. Just have to love Chris Henry Gale (though he has his detractors) - he is every example of that - entertainment value. Thanks for the post.

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