A defeat inside two days by an innings is as pathetic as any team can perform, even if that display was illuminated by the brilliance of a nineteen year old batsman.

Yes, expect the apologists for the West Indies Cricket Board to make heavy mileage of Adrian Barath’s Test debut century to paper over its gaping inefficiencies in mismanaging the Region’s cricket.

Adrian Barath. (Photo courtesy of Digicelcricket.com)

Make no mistake about it, Barath’s second innings 104 century was a beauty of an innings that placed the youngster in that rare club of debut Test centurions, and also in the even more elite circle of teenagers to record the accomplishment.

Barath’s knock was a fearless, stroke filled batting exhibition that was breathtakingly aggressive in its execution. This is the type innings you hunger for these days in any form of cricket, more so of the Test variety, given the danger it faces of extinction at the hands of the Twenty/20 game.

It was not a drab, ultra cautious compilation by a batsmen too respectful of the Australian bowling demons and fearful of making a mistake to dash his hopes of recording arguably the most distinguished achievement a batsman can aspire to outside of the innings Test world record.

Barath waded into the Aussie pace attack with the type of panache from one who had been there and done that many times before, with the courage of youth similar to the way his mentor the great Brian Lara displayed in his magical 277 made tours ago right there in Australia.

It was a delicious innings that makes Barath the lone special young talent West Indies can look forward to with any sense of hope for the future.

Even, given Barath’s obvious talent, evident so many moons ago, the decision by the West Indies selectors to select him instead of continuing to recycle the likes of Devon Smith to open the innings, is a rare crowning achievement by the current select panel.

Yet one has to be fearful for the overall future of West Indies cricket with this particular West Indies Cricket Board regime, that has no excuses for sending an ill prepared squad to face the toughest team in the world in the most challenging of playing conditions Down Under.

Without any training camp for the squad, the great majority whose last Test games were in June and with an undistinguished technical team, the squad finds itself at the mercy of the repercussions that result from this type of negligence, once again displayed by the WICB.

Already Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jerome Taylor and out with injuries and who knows how many more can break down at any time, given the rust these players took with them to Australia.

This is a Board that expected the players to be sharp and ready for a Test series by competing in an abbreviated limited overs competition that the recent West Indies 50 overs series comprised.

It was after the same experts reportedly wanted to reduce the regional Under-19 competition to a limited overs series this year with the expectation in could properly groom young players for future careers in four and five day games.

This is the same WICB which agreed to allow the Australia Cricket Board to provide a mere one practice match for the team on this tour there, where they play three Tests.

No Board worth its salt around the world would agree to such a deplorable itinerary for its team because they know how tough it is to play Australia and in particular this current Aussie team that is a vengeful as ever after losing the Ashes title to England this year.

But alas, you are convinced by now that the decision makers within the Julian Hunte led WICB know little about the finer points required to produce winning teams.

Not too long ago the Board’s new CEO Ernest Hilaire was quoted, saying that the deteriorating pitch at Kensington Oval was “no big thing”, after it was thrashed by the ICC specialist Andy Atkinson, Even if the problem at the time did not require major repairs, Hilaire should know that the slow nature of that pitch and the majority of all the other major West Indies playing venues, is a huge problem that is contributing to the region producing ill equipped batsmen and a dearth of real fast bowlers.

Instead of spinning words to give the impression that Kensington is in good shape and also the one at Beausejour stadium in his native St Lucia, which along with Providence are the two most lifeless ones, Hilaire should’ve been talking about making plans to overall them all to provide more balance for batsmen and bowlers, that is contributing to the dwindling appeal of Test competition.

Yet these are the type of clueless officials who run West Indies cricket, but who would be better off managing ‘Litty’ teams instead.

Spin it seems is the strategy being employed by career politician Mr Hunte to cover up for the Board inefficiencies, and carried out by his underlings.

Only a few nights ago we heard how staunch Hunte supporter Joel ‘Big Bird’ Garner in his capacity as the touring team manager in Australia, was complaining to Ian Chappell, the ex Aussie captain about the West Indies Board not getting any money from the ICC to run its affairs when much was going to non entity countries.

But Garner should be reminded that the ICC gave the WICB an opportunity to make money for itself from hosting the 2007 World Cup. And where did all of the millions of dollars go?

This is a question Big Bird should be made to answer, because according to the West Indies Players Association, many millions have been lost to breach of contract violations committed by this incompetent WICB on business partners.

So far the public knows of the Digicel/Stanford sponsorship mess-up. The WIPA says there are at least four more such breaches.

This is what Hunte, Garner, Hilaire and company should be made to talk about and be accountable for, instead of trying to cover up their sorry butts.

 
 
 
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