Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Visa problems for the touring West Indian team


The team which was most feared about a couple of decades back, looks a pale shadow dogged by poor performance, selection woes and attitude of players amongst some troubles ailing them.

Some West Indians are in pristine form in IPL plundering runs at will but not doing National duties, perhaps is the norm.  Still this report in Cricinfo.com of Visa problems dogging the West Indian team presently on tour to England is baffling, to say the least.  The report puts it that the touring West Indies squad, due to face England in a three-Test series starting in less than two weeks' time, currently comprises only 11 fit men, with three players still to arrive in the UK.  Assad Fudadin, Narsingh Deonarine and Marlon Samuels have been delayed by visa issues while Fidel Edwards has a "back niggle" and will not play in their three-day match against Sussex, which was due to begin on Saturday but fell victim to the weather.

Marlon Samuels, is in India playing for Pune Warriors and  is expected sooner, but Fudadin and Deonarine are in Jamaica trying to resolve their visa issues.  It is stated that the  rules have become more stringent due to the Olympics- but is it that difficult ? is it due to lack of coordination or something else plaguing the cricket administration.    Generally, Teams land up early to acclimatize themselves and play a couple of matches to ensure match fitness – they just played a Series against Australia in Caribbean in totally different conditions and England reportedly is bitterly cold now.

Caribbeans are dogged fithers and their prospects can never be dismissed prematurely but this certainly does not represent a smoot start to a Series.  The original party was only 15 strong and may require strengthening. The team management insist they are yet to think about reinforcements, but it speaks volumes for their current predicament that 50-year-old Richie Richardson, West Indies' tour manager, admitted he may be obliged to act as 12th man in the current match.  The fast bowler Corey Collymore, 34 and currently plying his trade with Middlesex as a Kolpak registration, might represent another local option, though he would surely be reluctant to turn his back on county cricket for a short-term flirtation with the touring squad.

Darren Sammy needs to admired for putting up resilient fight with the present bunch.  And his on-field fight is further restrained by such administrative lapses.  What exactly is the administration doing other than picking proper players for a tour and ensuring that normal procedural requirements are complete and the team embarks on tour and lands in time for reasonable practice.  When or whether Chris Gayle would play for the West Indies remains a perennial question !!

For the time being, in their first match, barely  a drop of rain fell at Hove after 9am on Saturday, but play was abandoned for the day at 1.40pm. It seemed an oddly ambivalent decision.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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