Lendl Simmons (left) and Samuel Badree © Getty Images
Lendl Simmons (left) and Samuel Badree © Getty Images & AFP

Lendl Simmons was not a part of the West Indies team for ICC T20 World Cup 2016. But having arrived in India after a late call-up close to the semi-final at Mumbai, a jet-lagged Simmons played an innings so special that it can be termed ‘once in a lifetime’. Samuel Badree continued to remain the backbone of West Indies’ bowling attack throughout, and was one of the reasons why West Indies won the T20 World Cup 2016. Simmons and Badree lifted the World Cup, but in the bargain, they lost the fat paycheque in IPL 2016. They won the World Cup, but lost out on IPL 9 due to injuries they picked during World T20. ALSO READ: West Indies in T20 World Cup 2016 review: Darren Sammy’s ‘Champion’ side wins trophy and hearts

Simmons and Badree did their bit for West Indies cricket, but what have West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) do for them? While Simmons was set to play IPL 9 for Mumbai Indians (MI), Badree was looked upon as Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB’s) biggest hope after Mitchell Starc missed out. But Simmons and Badree risked themselves and their future for West Indies cricket, and got little in return. Not even appreciation.

From having no team uniforms in place and acceptable contracts, West Indies’ cricketers went out of their way to turn everything negative — including tremendous criticism from all corners — to lift the trophy. WICB, on the other hand, remained unappreciative and stubborn. Darren Sammy’s emotional speech post their win was instead dealt in harshest ways, and rather than putting their house in order, WICB opted to apologise for their captain’s comments when no one needed it.

There is a long list of international cricket stars in the Caribbean who have been treated with shocking unprofessionalism and contempt. Ramnaresh Sarwan was forced to take legal route to win damages from the WICB over inappropriate comments made on his fitness and attitude. Sarwan has yet not announced retirement, but WICB seems to have forgotten him. Chris Gayle, too, has not announced his Test retirement, but he was banished from the national side for certain on-air comments to a radio channel and missed out on international cricket following the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Then there are others like Sammy, Kieron Pollard, and Dwayne Bravo, who too have been caught in the firing line quite often. ALSO READ: The Darren Sammy speech after ICC World T20 2016 was long overdue

Gayle

However flamboyant or wild Gayle may be off the field, his heart lies in Test cricket. Gayle is 36, and knows the doors are shut for him to make Test comeback. But he never backs down when it comes to speak about the plight of West Indies cricketers. The message, posted on Instagram after their win in ICC T20 World Cup 2016 is profound and hard-hitting, and speaks volumes about how pathetic condition WICB has landed itself in. One wonders what it will take for WICB to change their ways.

Before T20 World Cup 2016, Bravo lamented he never got enough opportunities to achieve what he wanted to with West Indies in Test cricket. Bravo is among many from the Caribbean who simply ‘went out of favour’ with the West Indies selectors, and are now forced to look after themselves. If a cricket board does not look after its players, who else will?

Despite all their flaws and talents, Caribbean cricketers come up with performances as splendid as we saw in the ICC World T20 2016. Despite their differences, West Indies cricketers remained determined to compete and win. Despite stinging criticism, West Indies cricketers find inspiration to shut everything up. Despite every obstacle, West Indies cricketers find a way to win.

The cricket fraternity moans about the poor state of cricket in West Indies, who, once upon a time, did not lose a Test series for 15 long years. Among the rabble that their administrators and policies have turned West Indies cricket into, lie three teams who won three different World Cup tournaments in space of three months. Cricket in the Caribbean is not dead, it is not over. It simply has the wrong men managing it.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)