Lara wins the cricket election

Grace Chambers

February 9, 1998

West Indies captain Brian Lara lies in pain on the ground after being struck by a ball from English fast bowler Andy Caddick during the second Test in Trinidad yesterday.

The region has seen three major elections in the latter part of 1997 and early 1998. The results of the first one have attracted much violence. The second and third results left individuals considering their future ties with the parties. Should they throw in the towel?

Lara has had a very successful campaign. What happened to Walsh, I don't know. Maybe he didn't have enough funds. Lara has been campaigning since the Richardson era. Many would agree that he should have gotten the crown from March 1996. But indiscipline and arrogance was never to be tolerated.

So Walsh was called to ``warm the bench'' until Lara is able to clean up his act. He has now realised that the arrogant approach is not paying off so he decided to do some ``polishing'' and steer the campaign wagon in another direction.

Based on his recent performance, wouldn't it be clear to say that he deliberately undermined the captaincy? Similarly, in another election, one party gravely undermined another with a commercial. I can't understand why he wasn't making runs. One of the world's leading batsman just played around with the bat until it was said that he would better off playing golf, since that is what he does instead of practicing. Such an excellent catcher allowed balls to slip through him - like a politician helplessly watching seats slipping by. In one instance in Pakistan, Lara dropped a catch and did not even pretend to be sorry. Obviously, he didn't want to play under Courtney - just like the people did not want to be led by a certain politician.

In recent years, Lara has shouldered pressure very intelligently and creditably. Three centuries and five centuries not out. Just like that political party shouldered the country in the past. But recently neither of them has being able to make a good showing. One lost support speedily and the other lost form. The objective of the party was to win seats. Only 10 seats. The objective of the West Indies is to make runs and Lara never did that. Only 130 runs in the Pakistan series. He really made the bowlers look good. So many times he has gotten out on the off stump. Imagine, the balls were being bowled outside the off stump and the man kept flying the bat after them. He is 'tactical', isn't he? And Courtney is not. I am certain that the decision to bat first or last is a consensus, so this is not any basis on which to conclude that Walsh is not tactical.

If it is that Walsh was fired based on performance in Pakistan, what about the coach and the manager? They failed miserably too. Shouldn't they be fired as well?

From the time it was recommended that Lara lead against Pakistan, it was in the air that Walsh would be asked to step down. He should have recognised that and consider his next move. Nonetheless, he is a hero and will always be.

Lara skimpily supports him, and so will be a captain with a little discomfort, knowing that the other players are aware of this. They may or may not want to follow him the way he followed Walsh. Being the person that he is, he is going to want his way; his team and the players are not going to subordinate. The board may have a problem on hand. The reality is he now has the reigns. Let's support all the way, because ``the prove of the pudding is in the eating''. Let's hope that the responsibility will be an incentive for Lara to return to form, to be the great motivator and the man with the ability to bring back the West Indies that was. P.J. Patterson appears to be sitting firm and Janet Jagan shakily.

I hope that Walsh, like the politicians, when defeated does not resort to saying that he doesn't understand, but will embarrass his critics like he always does.

Editor's Note: Brian Lara is presently leading the West Indies on the England tour of the Caribbean

Grace Chambers is a contributor from Port Antonio, Portland.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission

Date-stamped : 10 Feb1998 - 14:59