2016 started out like any other year, at home with family and then off to work as I was on rotation for that holiday. Then January 4th happened and while I “didn’t blush”, Chris Gayle was racking up headlines across the globe for his comment towards a female Australian Journalist. Then came the treble of victories for West Indies Cricket, the U-19’s Team came from beyond underdog status to defeat home team Bangladesh in the Semi-Finals and then tournament favourites India in the final. Who could forget Shemar Springer’s chest roll antics throughout the tournament. This U-19 team is one that is bursting at its seams with talent, once nurtured properly, will fill the Men’s senior team with players for years to come.
Then it was on to the women’s victory when they battled the mighty Australians, a team that defeated them twice in the semi-final stage of previous world cups. The Aussies got off to a flyer as they batted first, but were whittled out for a less than desirable total. Even West Indies Women’s Captain Stafanie Taylor told her team she thought the Aussies were 20 runs short. Hayley Matthews who had a less than stellar tournament until that point, got the West Indies to the start they needed. Matthews together with Taylor showed why the Windies Women were the best T20 team in the world. Matthews fell in the 60s while Taylor the 50s and there was some level of nervousness and anxiety in the dressing room regarding the run chase. But the Women from the West Indies held their nerves, Brittney Cooper and Deandra Dottin ensured that the Women would be heading home with their first ever world title.
Who would ever forget Ian Bishop shouting Carlos Brathwaite’s name at the end of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, after Carlos did the seemingly impossible when the Windies required 19 off the last over. I remember sweating profusely while sitting on the edge of my bed watching and praying. My mother thought something was happening to me upstairs in my room since she was hearing loud thuds on the flooring (that was me jumping after the victory). It was a match and a day that cricket fans, particularly West Indies fans will remember for years to come.
But while basking in the glory and vindication of winning another world title, came Darren Sammy’s criticisms of the WICB, which poked a hole in celebrations. There are two sides to every argument and some agreed with Sammy’s statements, while others said he should have chosen another platform to voice his discontent. It can be said, that Sammy’s statements were a prelude of what was to be the forthcoming 2016 relationship between the WICB and West Indies Cricketers.
In Caribbean parlance “it was one to the next”, there were too many “he said, she said” moments to list, but the few that really stuck out in 2016 were, the sudden firing of Head Coach Phil Simmons the day before departure to Dubai for the Pakistan series. Then came the refusal to sign the NOC to release Kieron Pollard to play in the Ram Slam in South Africa. Then came the Daren Bravo issue, after he tweeted to the WICB President criticising him for comments the President made on a television programme regarding Bravo’s player contract.
2017 is less than six hours away. It’s going to be a special year for the West Indies Women’s Team as they will be participating in the ICC Women’s World Cup in England during the summer. The men’s team will have a few home tours as well as overseas. Myself along with scores of other West Indies supporters will no doubt be keenly watching the development and happenings between the WICB and the players. I would hope with all my belief, that issues can be resolved and West Indies cricket move forward. It’s a long journey, but we have the players with the commitment, talent and passion that we all know West Indies cricket to be.
God Bless and best wishes of prosperity, good health and Good Cricket for 2017. Rally Hard!!