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Could the thrilling and clinical performance of Trinidad & Tobago in the inaugural Champions League thus be a pointer to a resurgence of the greater West Indies - a resurgence that the cricket world awaits with bated breath? Could the impressive leadership, organisation and commitment exhibited by T&T become a template for the reincarnation of West Indian cricket as a powerhouse once more? But, is it that simple?
Experts more knowledgeable than I have already waxed lyrical about the surprising and successful performance of Darren Ganga's men. Many have hinted that such success may also come to the West Indian team if WICB followed T&T's example. Somehow, this all seems a little too easy and simple, for mine. After all, the Champions League is a domestic tournament. International cricket is a class apart.
Yes, I agree that success comes to those who are well organised, commit their limited resources to the right causes and proactive in their endeavour to raise their own standards. These are some of the reasons why the Australians have ruled the game for a decade and a half. But then we have the likes of England and New Zealand: resourceful, organised and intelligent. These two are everything, but successful.
It is undoubtedly a fact that cricket in the Caribbean will benefit immensely with a WICB that is professional, committed to development and success and less prone to conflict. Clearly, the T&T example is very pertinent. But what about the other component: the X factor that will bind the match winners and the not-so-talented into a cohesive unit and drive them towards a common goal? Nagraj Gollapudi believes that X factor to be Darren Ganga. I'm not so sure.
Glenn Turner undertook this experiment with Lee Germon and achieved disastrous results. It is not necessary that the captain be the best player in the team, but it is true that he must be pretty damn close to it, which is why Ganga is out of contention.
What the West Indies need is a Stephen Fleming, Arjuna Ranatunga or Nasser Hussain. Without leadership of the quality possessed by the aforementioned gentlemen, the many combined strengths of the West Indies will never be effectively harnessed. A return to the charms of Chris Gayle will be akin to stepping back into the dark ages. Aaron has previously mentioned Dinesh Ramdin, but of him the fat lady has still not sung.
Even if the WICB manages to mend its ways in double quick time, the leadership conundrum is of a proportion that all this talk of the renaissance of West Indian cricket will be proved overly optimistic. Until the said renaissance eventuates, lets not get carried away.
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