The ‘Roll Over’ Factor In West Indies Cricket

Time was when the manner of last Saturday’s nine-wicket defeat suffered by the West Indies at the hands of England would have sent shock waves through the Caribbean; it would have brought forth a collective howl of outrage, a baying for blood, a boisterous, insistent demand that heads roll. Last Saturday’s familiar display of woeful ineptitude by the West Indies passed relatively quietly. Even England did not appear to want to make much of a fuss about it.

Cricket BallThese days, those swift reversals of fortune, from positions of comparative strength or – to put it more precisely – relative safety, to inexplicable defeat, have become par for the course for the Caribbean side; so that while some of us still fret over those kinds of outcomes, the once widespread regional preoccupation with issues of winning and losing has been supplanted by a resigned indifference to the outcomes of the team’s encounters. It may be an unflattering thing to say but the truth is that some of us, perhaps even most of us, have now come to expect little from ‘our boys.’ As far as outcomes of encounters are concerned we live in times of always fearing the worst.

Arguably, those of us who have assumed a posture of not caring less about how the team performs do ourselves a favour by ‘turning off’ from its travails. After all, our cricket has taken us on a torturous and seemingly unending journey which, over most of the past two decades or so has been, to say the least, an exercise in frustration. That, perhaps, is what is meant by the saying that here in the Caribbean it is our cricket, largely, that defines us.

There are, unquestionably, those of us who continue to believe, who remain prisoners of the time warp mirrored in those ‘glory, glory’ days, still, it seems, unable to come to terms with the reality that the rest of the cricketing world regards us as ‘has-beens.’ Last weekend’s demolition at the hands of England, serves as a reminder of that reality. What happened in St. George’s last weekend was hardly shocking.

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