SERIOUS ACTION When the standard of West Indies cricket was officially recognised in 1928, it signalled a time of jubilation by West Indians, and not even a 3-0 defeat at the hands of England, with each Test finishing in three days and by an innings and 58 runs, an innings and 30 runs, and by an innings and 71 runs could dampen the spirit. In fact, although fast bowler Herman Griffith snatched six wickets in one innings, it was an embarrassing occasion with only three 50s in the series and with not one batsman scoring a century, as the team crashed to totals of 177 and 166, 206 and 115, and 238 and 129. Since those days of mixed reactions, West Indies cricket has come a long way. Riding on the backs of Clifford Roach, George ‘Atlas’ Headley, Learie Constantine, Griffith, and Manny Martindale, the West Indies grew from strength to strength until it joined the world in class with the likes of Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes, and Clyde Walcott, Sonny Ramadhin and Alfred Valentine, Jeffrey Stollmeyer, Allan Rae, Franz Alexander, and Gerry Gomez. Then came the glory days of Conrad Hunte, Rohan Kanhai, Garry Sobers the great one – Basil Butcher, Seymour Nurse, Jackie Hendriks, Lance Gibbs, Roy Gilchrist, Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith when they ruled the world as unofficial champions. Shortly after that came Roy Fredericks, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Lawrence Rowe, Alvin Kallicharran, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Deryck Murray, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Wayne Daniel, Malcolm Marshall, and Jeffrey Dujon, the all-conquering, undisputed champions of the world. After that, and before the collapse, came a few great and good individuals, batsmen and bowlers like Brian Lara, Richie Richardson, and Carl Hooper, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, and Patrick Patterson. On top of everything else, throughout their time, the West Indies have produced many players with the skill worthy of representing the world, and at the same time at that. EXCITING PLAY Trinidad and Tobago, it is understood, have asked the ICC how feasible is it to go it alone, and last week, T&T Prime Minister Keith Rowley said on his return from a CARICOM meeting in Belize that it was decided to terminate discussions with the board and that “the time has come for serious action in trying to save West Indies cricket”. West Indies cricket is strapped for cash, and more than that, every now and then, the board goes to the governments with cap in hand. The cricket grounds around the territories, for example, are owned by the governments. The “serious action”, as necessary as it is, as important as it is, hopefully, does not lead to the break-up of West Indies cricket. The West Indies have come too far to break up now. Think once, think twice, before deciding what to do. The West Indian territories do not possess the money, the numbers, the skill, or probably the desire to make it alone, if they attempt to go it alone. If they take a rest, with the intention of sorting things out before they come back, they may never do so, or it may take a long, long time to come back. And if they really want to go it alone, not one of the territories, not Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana, the Leeward Islands or the Windward Islands is big enough, or rich enough, to host a Test series against any of India, England, Australia, or South Africa. The West Indian territories would end up probably only engaging each other. Because of their history of exciting play and the excitement they offered to cricket, it has long been said by the world at large that cricket needs a strong West Indies team. No one, not even in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the West Indies were losing match after match, and except in the early 1970s when a few misguided individuals uttered such sentiments founded on insular selections, ever thought of that. Today, however, following defeat after defeat of the West Indies team, following trouble between the board and the players, following player strike after player strike, following quarrel after quarrel between the board and the CARICOM government, and following review committees set up by the board and the subsequent dumping of committees’ findings and recommendations, there is a growing talk of the West Indian territories going it alone. The three review committees were organised by the board. They were headed by former Jamaica Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, St Kitts-Nevis Queen’s Council Charles Wilkin, and University of the West Indies Cave Hill’s principal Eudine Barriteau. Although it commissioned the reviews, the board ignored their findings and recommendations, forcing Patterson to say that “the status quo is unacceptable”, Wilkin to say that the board members “want to preserve at all costs their position on the board”, and Barriteau to say that “The WICB should be immediately dissolved and all current members resign while an interim board be selected … to install a new governance framework.” “If the heads of government represent the entire population of the region, I don’t know how any organisation that represents just a few persons can, in fact, negate the position of the heads,” said Keith Mitchell, prime minister of Grenada. The resistance of the board to the popular recommendation triggered the whispers of going it alone.
LONDON (AP): Thirty years after Diego Maradona’s goal of the century, West Ham winger Dimitri Payet wound back the clock with a brilliantly executed solo goal yesterday evoking memories of the Argentina great. Unlike Maradona’s 1986 World Cup strike , after charging through brittle English resistance, Payet’s mazy run through Middlesbrough’s defence came on a far less significant occasion. But the English Premier League point it secured might just have saved Slaven Bilic’s job, preventing West Ham from crashing to a fifth successive loss. Payet lit up a drab game in the 57th minute at the Olympic Stadium, with home fans restless after Cristhian Stuani’s header six minutes earlier. The France international dropped a shoulder to turn past Antonio Barragan on the left touchline, jinked around Marten de Roon, and skipped past Calum Chambers and Ben Gibson. After cutting through the defence with ease, Payet provided the perfect finish to score his first goal of the league. One that evoked memories for Payet’s manager of Argentina’s current star rather than Maradona. “It reminded me of Lionel Messi’s goals,” Bilic said. “It was a brilliant moment of magic.” But West Ham remain winless since the opening day of the season, lodged in the relegation zone with four points from seven games. Promoted Middlesbrough are two points better off. HULL 0 CHELSEA 2 After a miserable September yielded one point from three games, Chelsea started the new month in style thanks to Diego Costa’s second-half contribution. First, Costa picked out Willian, who turned Markus Henriksen and David Meyler before curling a shot into the top of the net. Then Costa curled in his own strike from a similar position. The response to last week’s 3-0 loss at Arsenal was manager Antonio Conte dropping Branislav Ivanovic and switching to a three-man defence. It produced a second clean sheet of the season. “It is very important for the confidence,” Conte said. “It was a big change in the tactical aspect but we feel we must find the right solution to be more compact. We must trust in the world we are doing and it is important to understand we must play this way.” Chelsea are sixth, while Hull are in 15th place. SWANSEA 1 LIVERPOOL 2 With Liverpool trailing at halftime to Leroy Fer’s tap-in, Juergen Klopp entered the dressing room in a rage. “I was very angry,” the Liverpool manager said. “We were not ready and it is my responsibility. It was not good. The buildup was too static, no movement. “We were never compact enough and we lost a lot of balls … the second half was better, but still not brilliant.” Crucially for Klopp there were two goals — Roberto Firmino’s header and James Milner’s penalty — which were enough to take Liverpool up to second. Swansea, though, are on a six-game winless run since making a triumphant start to the season. Francesco Guidolin’s future as manager is looking increasingly precarious, with former Manchester United assistant Ryan Giggs linked with the Italian’s job. WATFORD 2 BOURNEMOUTH 2 Watford twice fought back to ensure manager Walter Mazzarri didn’t endure a miserable 55th birthday. Both teams, though, remain in the bottom half of the standings. Callum Wilson’s downward header was cancelled out by Troy Deeney. Josh King restored Bournemouth’s lead but Isaac Success scored his first goal since joining in the summer transfer window to secure a point. SUNDERLAND 1 WEST BROM 1 David Moyes remains winless as Sunderland manager but the northeast team did capture its first point in more than a month. Patrick van Aanholt, who was forced out of the Sunderland team last month on the advice of a cardiologist, came off the bench to wipe out Nacer Chadli’s goal.