Western Grandstand : Like WI cricket, Jamaica has hit rock bottom

April 22, 2017
Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

Sabina Park, in Kingston, is today hosting its 50th test match, but based on the squad selected by the West Indies to oppose the touring Pakistani team, I seriously doubt the game will generate much enthusiasm locally as only one Jamaican is in the line-up.

Interestingly, the one Jamaican selected, middle order batsman Jermaine Blackwood, could consider himself somewhat lucky because, based on his overall lack of consistency since getting into the team, he probably would have been out in the cold had a player like Darren Bravo been available.

Personally, I am happy that Blackwood was included in the 13-member West Indies squad because, had he not been included, it would have been a major embarrassment to Jamaica for Sabina Park to be celebrating this momentous occasion without a single Jamaican on the show.

There were times in the past that I would take issue with the West Indies selectors about the non-inclusion of Jamaican players I thought were good enough to get into the team on merit. However, this time around, except for Marlon Samuels, who does not qualify and the banned Andre Russell, I don't see any players for whom one could make a serious case.

Like West Indies cricket, I believe that, except for possibly schoolboy cricket, Jamaica's cricket is gone to the proverbial dogs and with the other regions only doing marginally better, it goes without saying that West Indies cricket is also in dire straits and destined to stay at rock bottom for a very long time.

When one looks at the calibre cricketers Jamaica has produced over the years, it must be an insult to the achievements of the likes of the great George Headley, Lawrence Rowe, Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh and Jeffrey Dujon among other distinguished stars that a Test match is being played here in Jamaica with just one Jamaican in the squad.

In fact, players like Mark Neita, Everton Mathis, Leon Garrick and Robert Samuels, who unfortunately came along at a time when the West Indies had arguably the best team in the world, are probably wondering how different their lives would have been had they been youngsters today.

I believe we are paying the price for the inept leadership of our cricket at all levels. Using western Jamaica as an example, 30 years ago, we had a raft of talented cricketers who were actively challenging for places on the Jamaican team. Today, we are not playing any club cricket of note.

Today, except for possibly Jermaine Blackwood, I cannot identify a single cricketer in western Jamaica whose name could be mentioned in a serious conversation about representing Jamaica. The same could probably be said for just about every other region of the country.

Last weekend, the visiting Pakistan team played a three-day game against the West Indies President's XI at the Trelawny Stadium and despite being just 20 minutes away from where I live in Montego Bay, I could not motivate myself to go and watch the game.

I am 100 per cent sure that I won't be going to Sabina Park to watch even a minute of this historic 50th test. I hope other fans will stay away as this is an excellent opportunity to register our disgust with the dismal state of our cricket.

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