Ravi Shastri traces a bullet.
What he said:
Ravi Shastri, the Indian head coach, can’t stop gushing about latest boy sensation, Prithvi Shaw, and his exhilarating debut against the West Indies at home.
What he really meant:
“Shaw bats like a dream. He’s a kaleidoscope of the bright colours of Tendulkar, Sehwag and Brian Lara. He’s my rainbow.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Why did I omit Viv Richards in this comparison? Kohli wouldn’t permit me. That’s why. He insists that sobriquet’s exclusive to him.”
‘King‘ Chris Henry Gayle has all the answers.
Speaking to Donald McRae of the Guardian, the West Indian blaster defended his recent outrageous behaviour and comments in his inimitable blunt Caribbean cadence.
The Jamaican first reminded the journalist of his proud heritage and that West Indians always felt disrespected by the English. The reference was to Mark Nicholas’ stunning dismissal of their T20 prospects, ““The West Indies are short of brains.”
“That drove us even harder. How can you disrespect the West Indies when we were so dominant in world cricket for so long? We have to face it ourselves because our own board don’t defend us. So we have to fight our own war in the middle against these allegations about West Indies having no brains. How can you jump to that conclusion? It shows no respect. They smile at you – while trying to destroy you in the media.
We were very disappointed. We should have been one of the favourites but we weren’t even in the top five. As West Indians we have always been disrespected. As soon as we fight back they make it look like we are the bad one in the media. We’ve experienced these things over the years. So it’s no surprise.”
But it’s his autobiography Six Machine that’s hitting all the right (and wrong) notes across the world with excerpts published in most major newspapers.
From describing his triple hundreds, his mammoth 170+ in the IPL and staying at Vijay Mallya’s Goa bungalow, the memoirs cover it all. The voice is authentic and the style is no-holds-barred.
Chris Gayle reveals how his fledgling career was tended to by a woman.
He writes of his Kingston schoolteacher and first coach:
“Miss Hamilton is a wonderful woman. She kickstarted things and gave me that self‑belief. Most of the time, as a kid, you’re nervous. She would try to get in your head and give you confidence. She was also our football coach – so she was very talented and to have a woman lead you at a young age was really good.”
But Chris feels nothing about disrespecting Mel McLaughlin in January this year at the Big Bash.
His latest words on the sorry episode are even more dismissive.
“If she was upset she would’ve said it. At no stage did she say she felt offended by me. Then they wanted an apology and she came on air and said: ‘He’s apologised – so let it go everybody.’ You could tell she had been forced to say those things. Trust me. She’s of West Indian background. She knows the culture. From what I understand her mom is black. What do they call it? Samosa (Samoan)?
Yeah. So she knows. But people put things in her ears – just to slaughter Chris Gayle.”
Chris Gayle is remarkably insouciant and , perhaps, realistic when asked what if his baby daughter Blush were to face the same kind of behaviour 25 years on in a journalistic career.
“If you put yourself there you have to expect that. You have to deal with it. Not all situations are going to be the best. You have to brace yourself. You have to be professional, yes, but expect the unexpected at all times.It could happen to anybody. Anybody. It could happen again.”
Chris then accuses Charlotte Edwards of setting him up as a villain in her piece for the Times and threatens legal action.
“The first interview I did by the pool. The recorder was on the table. The interview lasted 2½ hours. Basically discussing the book, it went according to plan. But the outcome was very sad. That’s why I say people can’t be trusted – especially you guys.
I know. Obviously she came with a different mentality. Even that first interview I did with her she was trying to get me to say things about Shane Warne. I said: ‘Listen, this is not about Shane Warne.’ So the interview was good even if she didn’t get what she wanted.
I was having dinner by the bar when the agent texted. She’s leaving in the morning and wants to say thanks for the interview. I said: ‘OK, no problem.’ She came by and that’s how it happened. She started telling me her life story. She tried to ask me if I’d ever smoked weed. I said: ‘Listen, I’m a sportsman, how can I do those things?’ So whatever questions she asked me I asked her back. She went on to say she is a single mum. She had also been to a war [zone] and she was telling me that when all the media people come to drink they sleep together. I asked her: ‘Did you do it?’ And she said: ‘No.’ It’s not an interview – we’re talking at the bar. If she had a tape I wish people could hear it.
In the interview’s first line she says Mel didn’t get the chance to have a drink with Chris Gayle – but she did. That was her agenda. She put these things out to make me look like the bad one. She got the attention but I’m going to speak to my legal team.”
If Gayle’s version of the story is true, then it’s understandable why most sports stars prefer to be tight-lipped to the press rather than drop their guard and make off-the-cuff remarks. Every word could be misconstrued and twisted. And if Gayle’s infamous remarks to Edwards were off-the-record, then she is in serious breach of journalistic integrity. Neither party comes out smelling like roses.
“There can be no trust”, Chris Gayle says in his life story.
“There’s no sadness in saying that. It’s the reality. You can’t put trust in people. There’s no loyalty out there. You have to be sceptical – regardless of what that person says.”
Gayle’s account, however, of his relationship with his girlfriend cannot elicit much sympathy.
“I am the Six Machine. I am the only man in the history of the world to have scored two triple centuries etc. I am the only cricketer in the history of the world to have his own pole-dancing room in his house. I have a girl. I can’t remember her name. We’ve been together for nine years. Though mostly it probably sounds as if we’ve been apart. She doesn’t like World Boss’s pole-dancing room. But luckily loads of other women do. So it hasn’t been a total waste of money.”
Chris Gayle will make news wherever he goes as long he’s scoring runs—not women.
They’re merely sideshows in his grand design of things—in his “World Baass. Universe Baass. Multiverse Baass.”
That’s the uncomfortable truth and he expects the people in his life and the world at large to live with it.
Is that sad or great? You tell me.
“Don’t hate me just because I am not what you want me to be. Don’t hate me because I am not what you are. I am me and I am honest.”
Chris Gayle never learns or so it seems.
The macho West Indian star first made the front pages this year for his infamous ‘Don’t blush, baby’ line to Mel McLaughlin in an on-field interview at the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia.
Gayle escaped with a warning and a stiff fine of AUSD 10,000.
But the smarts just wouldn’t end.
The Jamaican enjoyed rubbing it in naming his newly-born daughter—with partner Tasha—Blush.
Why draw her in into his mess, Chris? 20 years down the line, would your daughter like to be reminded of the circumstances around which she was named so? Go figure.
Trouble goes around in threes.
And there was surely a ‘threesome’ in store.
Chris Gayle pressed down on the accelerator—ignoring speed bumps— when interviewed by Times journalist Charlotte Edwardes where he talked about sex, female equality and homophobia.
Gayle told Edwardes that he had ‘a very, very big bat, the biggest in the wooooorld’ and whether she thought she “could lift it” and that she’d need both hands.
The Jamaican embarrassed her further by questioning whether she’s had any black men and been part of a threesome.
The interview touched on other aspects as well.
On women’s equality, Gayle said:
‘Women should please their man. When he comes home, food is on the table. Serious. You ask your husband what he likes and then you make it.’”
“Women should have equality and they do have equality. They have more than equality. Women can do what they want. Jamaican women are very vocal. They will let you know what time is it, for sure.’
“The culture I grew up in, gays were negative. But people can do whatever they want. You can’t tell someone how to live their life. It’s a free world.”
The timing of the interview could hardly have been more ‘fortuitous’.
Gayle is on the verge of releasing his autobiography, ‘”Six Machine” excerpts of which have been published (where else?) in the Times.
Reacting to Freddie Flintoff’s description of him as a “bit of a chop” after the McLaughlin incident, Gayle said:
“Freddie Flintstone, a young boy like you taking Viagra? Don’t lecture me. The only chop Freddie (Flintoff) knows is when he used to bowl short to me and I would chop him past backward point for four.”
Describing the McLaughlin fiasco, he added:
“Now T20 is different. It’s not Test cricket. It’s chilled and fun and let’s do things different. So when Mel asks me that question I stay in the T20 mind, and answer informal and fun. I meant it as a joke. I meant it as a little fun. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful and I didn’t mean it to be taken serious.
Channel 10’s commentary team could be heard laughing in the background … but someone above them clearly decided to step in, and a throwaway comment in a fun format escalates and blows up and within hours it has turned into a major international incident. “
The southpaw had even stronger words reserved for Ian Chappell.
“Ian Chappell, calling for me to banned worldwide, a man who was once convicted of unlawful assault in the West Indies for punching a cricket official. Ian Chappell, how can you ban the Universe Boss? You’d have to ban cricket itself.”
Former Australian opener Chris Rogers was one of his most vocal critics claiming that he set a bad example to his younger teammates.
Gayle responded thus calling him a bit of a “Roger Rabbit”.
“Chris Rogers, how can you claim that when it was you and me at the bar most nights? I’m not a snitch, but I’ve heard from your own mouth what you’ve done. Next time you want to open your mouth, maybe chew on a carrot instead.”
Is Chris Gayle in trouble yet again? Has he landed in deeper, hotter waters this time around?
His detractors would like to believe so.
This, however, does not prevent any other BBL side from signing him on.
While Somerset chief executive Guy Lavender admitted that he was disappointed with Gayle’s latest blowout, he added:
“But as I’ve said before, we found him to be fantastic the last time he was here, in terms of activities both on and off the pitch.
It’s a shame, because it detracts from his cricketing ability. The fact is, what he has said is inappropriate. But we haven’t had an opportunity to discuss [it] with him. I’m sure we will. But I don’t see it as grounds not to have him playing for us this summer.”
And in India, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla is taking the matter seriously.
Talking to Times of India, he said:
“The players must behave themselves. We expect the players to adhere to a certain kind of behaviour when the tournament is on. The players should maintain the sanctity of the league. These kind of statements are totally uncalled for in public domain. I will take up this issue with the president and the secretary of the BCCI.”
BCCI’s secretary Ajay Shirke said:
“At this point, we’ll not look into it. We’re focused on completing the IPL, which has reached its final stages. What has happened in this case is between two foreign individuals. It is a personal matter between people who aren’t from India. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that we’ll ignore it. If a complaint is brought to us, we’ll act on it. If it develops into something more, we’ll look into it at an appropriate stage.”
Gayle , in his latest interview, believes that most of the criticism directed his way after the McLaughlin imbroglio was racially motivated.
“Successful black men are struggling because people do things to put them down. I would say this anywhere in the world, in any sporting arena, right now in 2016: racism is still the case for a black man. Trust me. They just want to get a little sniff of the dirt. They find out some shit and they want to sink you. It’s reality. You have to deal with that as a successful black man.”
Racism has always been an issue in sport.
Henry Gayle was born in a Kingston slum and used cricket as his vehicle to become one of the world’s most beloved and entertaining sportsmen.
Writing for the Guardian, Andy Bull says:
“In the last year the Zimbabwean Test cricketer Mark Vermeulen was banned by his board after he referred to black Zimbabweans as ‘apes’ on social media, while Vermeulen’s old team-mate Prosper Utseya accused that same board of racism in their running of the sport. And several Pakistani players have spoken out about racism in English county cricket, in the wake of the offence committed by Craig Overton. These issues are always there, bubbling under. But it’s rare for a star player to address them directly, as Gayle has just done.
Gayle was talking about something more insidious, about attitudes ‘off the field’, especially, he seems to be saying, among the media. And some aspects of our coverage should make us uncomfortable. As Peter Oborne pointed out in his book Wounded Tiger, the Pakistani team is often subjected to the most ludicrous stereotyping, which has stretched as far as the suggestions, widespread at the time, that certain members of their 2007 World Cup team may have had a hand in the death of their coach Bob Woolmer. Innuendos always swirl when they play poorly, quicker to gather around them than their competitors, though cheating, and fixing, are universal problems.”
Racism is not restricted to the Western hemisphere.
Foreign cheerleaders in the IPL have complained several times about the treatment and slurs they are subjected to by Indian men.
In 2008, British dancers Ellesha Newton and Sherinne Anderson were prevented from performing during a Kings XI Punjab game.
“An organiser pulled us away. He said the people here don’t want to see dark people. The ‘n’ word was used and they said they only wanted beautiful white girls. We were crying. I could understand if it were the crowd but they were very receptive. This kind of thing has never happened to us – not in Europe, not here, nowhere. “
There have not been any black cheerleaders in any edition of the IPL since.
An unnamed cheerleader in a free-wheeling chat on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) had this to say:
“I hate the racism. Why is my team made up of 99% white girls? Why do Indians feel it’s ok to dress white girls up in skimpy outfits but they won’t let their fellow Indian women do it? It’s messed up.
I’ve asked my managers [about why no Indian girls as cheerleaders] and they don’t know. I’ll keep asking around, though, because I’m curious too. They could probably just get good dancers and train them; there’s no shortage of those.”
Chris Gayle adds in his autobiography that some people consider him “lazy“.
“People think that [my] attitude towards the game stink. That’s how it come across: lazy.”
If Gayle’s indolent, his record proves otherwise.
He has played 103 Test matches in 14 years, scored two triple centuries and is arguably the best T20 batsman in the world.
But playing the race card in this seemingly complicated mess only addles the issue.
Racial discrimination is not the only kind that exists. Women everywhere face sexual biases on a daily basis. To claim that one is better or worse than the other sidesteps the issues raised by Gayle’s nonchalance towards the ramifications of his ‘jokey‘ sideshows.
Discrimination of any kind is to be frowned upon.
To clear things up, one would probably hark back to the rustic retorts Indian women (and defenders of their modesty) dish out to eve-teasers and molesters, “Tere maa, behn or beti nahin hai kya? (Don’t you have a mother, sister or daughter?) How would you feel if someone dealt with them in the same way?”
No racism about it—just a question of right behavior in a public space.
That, Chris Gayle, is the crux of the matter. Not anything else, not anything more.
Caricom’s main purpose is to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy. It is also a regional single market for most of its members.
Barbados Cricket Association (BCA)
Guyana Cricket Board (GCB)
Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA)
Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB)
Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA), itself composed of:
Anguilla Cricket Association
Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association
British Virgin Islands Cricket Association
Montserrat Cricket Association
Nevis Cricket Association (for the island of Nevis alone)
St. Kitts Cricket Association (for the island of St. Kitts alone)
St. Maarten Cricket Association
United States Virgin Islands Cricket Association
Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control (WICBC), itself composed of:
Dominica Cricket Association
Grenada Cricket Association
St. Lucia Cricket Association
St. Vincent & the Grenadines Cricket Association
The Caricom Cricket Review Panel was constituted by the Prime Ministerial Committee on the Governance of West Indies Cricket.
The members were:
Prof. Eudine Barriteau, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, The University of the West Indies.
(Cricket Studies is an academic discipline internationally and in the Caribbean, at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.)
Rt. Hon. Sir Dennis Byron, President, Caribbean Court of Justice.
Dr. Warren Smith, President, Caribbean Development Bank.
Mr. Deryck Murray, West Indies Cricket Legend.
Mr. Dwain Gill, President, Grenada Cricket Association.
The West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) publishes its Vision as:
To establish and sustain West Indies cricket as the sporting symbol of the West Indies, and the West Indies team as the dominant team in international cricket.
and its Mission is:
To develop and promote West Indies cricket for the benefit and enjoyment of the West Indian people, its clients and other stakeholders by procuring a consistently high-quality, successful and international West Indian product.
The Caricom Cricket Review panel criticises the existing governance structure of the WICB which focuses solely on the shareholders in the body namely the six territorial boards and the WICB itself.
Other stakeholders such as “several Caribbean governments who finance the construction and maintenance of the stadia where the game is played; several important industries such as tourism, aviation and food and beverages; former players, some of whom constitute an elite group of exemplary ambassadors of the game known as the Legends and the current players, both women and men, and their representative organization, the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) constitute another key group of stakeholders and finally, the Caribbean public” have been either side-lined or completely ignored.
West Indies cricket is a public good.
Interestingly, the panel states that “it has no issues with the individuals who occupy the leadership and composition of the WICB or the territorial Boards” and then commences an unbridled assault on the current Board and its state of affairs. The above statement appears redundant. Why make such a statement? The Cricket Review Panel was formed to investigate the current workings of the existing system and recommend reforms that would help better the state of Windies cricket. Why even bother to try and mollify the current incumbents?
The panel also terms the current governance structure “obsolete”.
It then recommends the dissolution of the WICB and the appointment of an interim board.
Panel members cite the precedent of an interim board appointed by the Sri Lankan government to run matters. What has been conveniently omitted is the fact that Sri Lankan cricket has often been run by government-appointed interim committees one of which left the Board financially crippled after the co-hosting of the 2011 ODI World Cup.
The antecedent, one hopes, only pertains to the feasibility of such an imposition and not mismanagement by the interim board.
The panel then points out the lowly ranking of men’s and women’s cricket teams to justify their indictment of the WICB’s bad governance.
The men’s team failed to qualify for the 2017 Champions’ Trophy, the first time in West Indian cricketing history that the side will not be participating in a World tournament. Other reasons listed are the team’s Test ranking—sliding to number eight, recent abandoning of the Indian tour, suspension of coach Phil Simmons following his stated despair about not being able to field the best eleven for the tour of Sri Lanka, West Indies Players Association (WIPA) not being fully representative of players and reduction of home Test series to just two-or-three games.
Other concerns expressed are the unhappy state of women’s cricket, whether a private company structure can deliver a public good, universal concern in the traditional and online media about the state of governance, absence of vision and lack of accountability.
The panel draws upon recommendations from past governance reports specifically the Wilkins and Patterson ones to propose a new structure.
The new structure will comprise five board/management committee/directors handling the following functional areas:
The emphasis is to be on professional competencies over territorial considerations.
The number of Board members is to be reduced to just nine.
One Board Member will specifically represent Women’s Cricket.
A head-hunting firm will oversee the selection process which will review candidates chosen by the Nominations Council.
The Caribbean Development Bank must be asked to fund “a team of consultants to define the process and regulatory framework for a transformed Board’s management structure, governance arrangements and shareholding in a new dispensation.”
The six territorial boards must be incorporated under similar rules or criteria.
The Change Management expert will ensure the Board members are distinct from executive management personnel while forming the Interim Board.
Women’s cricket should be addressed in the vision statement of the Board.
The Board must develop “specific marketing and sponsorship strategies to popularize the game, especially with families and young girls and to promote the star female players as mentors and role models, as well as to enhance their commercial value to sponsors.”
Appendix III lists the names of interviewed persons as:
While the Supreme Court continues to flay the BCCI and its associate members for dragging their feet on the Lodha Panel reforms, it has gone quiet on the Western front specifically the CARICOM coast.
It’s been a time of jubilation and turmoil for West Indian cricket.
The Calypso swingers under Darren Sammy uncorked an unprecedented second T20 World Cup win in astounding fashion with Carlos Brathwaite proving an unlikely hero. Their women’s team had the very same afternoon clinched their first ever World Cup in any form of the game.
Sammy , ever the team champion, utilized the occasion to roundly castigate the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) for its step-motherly treatment of the players.
“We started this journey … we all know we had … people were wondering whether we would play this tournament. We had a lot of issues, we felt disrespected by our board, Mark Nicholas described our team as a team with no brains. All these things before the tournament just brought this team together.”
The WICB President David Cameron was quick to respond.
In a statement purportedly praising the World T20 organisers India and Bangladesh, Cameron said:
“The President would like to however apologise for what could be deemed inappropriate comments made by the West Indies’ male captain, Darren Sammy, in a post-match interview and would like to apologise on behalf of the WICB to the millions of fans who witnessed. The President has pledged to enquire the reason and will have the matter addressed.”
He had earlier tweeted:
The ICC would later join the WICB in reprimanding Darren Sammy and his teammates for their comments that were “”inappropriate, disrespectful and [bringing] the event into disrepute.”
The ICC press release read:
“The board considered the behaviour of some of the West Indies players in the immediate aftermath of the final, and unanimously agreed that certain comments and actions were inappropriate, disrespectful and brought the event into disrepute.
This was not acceptable conduct at ICC events played out on a world stage in front of millions of people around the globe.
The board acknowledged an apology by the WICB but was disappointed to note that such behaviour had detracted from the success of what was otherwise a magnificent tournament and final.”
The gloss of the glorious treble of the U-19 World Cup, Women and Men’s T20 triumphs was wearing off quickly.
It wasn’t all rocky ground for West Indian cricket.
The newly minted BCCI and ICC head Shashank Manohar has been in an expansive mood notwithstanding the BCCI’s travails in the Supreme Court.
The Vidarbha lawyer first stated that he’s not in agreement with the ICC revenue-sharing formula wherein the Big Three—India, England and Australia—share the spoils and the leftovers distributed among the rest of the members.
Then the BCCI announced that bilateral ties between India and the West Indies would resume later this year. The cash-rich Indian body waived a $42 million damages claim against the abandoned 2014 tour. The West Indian cricketers flew home after the WIPA and WICB failed to resolve a long-standing pay dispute.
Late last year, the CARICOM cricket review panel suggested an immediate dissolution of the WICB. The panel was constituted by the Prime Ministerial Committee on the Governance of West Indies Cricket as a response to the crisis created by the damages slapped on the WICB following the pull-out from the India tour.
The panel recommended formation of an interim board to install a fresh governance framework with the assistance of a change management expert.
The WICB rejected the report and its findings unilaterally claiming that none of the members of the board were consulted by the panel members.
Legends of the game were not so forgiving. Coming together under the banner Cricket Legends, Garry Sobers, Viv Richards, Wes Hall, Andy Roberts and others met with Grenada premier Keith Mitchell, chairman of the Prime Ministerial Committee on the Governance of West Indies Cricket and sought the WICB’s termination.
That’s how the matter rests for now.
The following column will pore over specific recommendations from the panel and the WICB’s reasons for rejecting their proposals.
What he said:
“[Carlos] Brathwaite came and asked me for my shirt at the end, which was pretty strange, looking back on it. You’ve just whacked me and now you want a shirt? I didn’t really need to ask him [for his]. Can’t imagine what I’d use it for. A duvet maybe?”
Ben Stokes gives up his shirt as well to Carlos Brathwaite besides four hits out of bounds.
What he really meant:
“What?!!! You’ve clubbed me for four sixes in a row in a World Cup final and you want the shirt of my back too???!!!”
What he definitely didn’t:
“ Was that a not so subliminal message from Carlos to switch to another sport like soccer, perhaps?”
What he said:
“”That was amazing man, I wish I could use some expletives on TV to really express how much of a top knock that was.”
West Indies’ final over hero in the T20 World Cup final, Carlos Brathwaite , is all praise for his senior partner Marlon Samuels who held the innings together with a stellar 85 off 66 balls.
“It’s us against the world and someone needed to take responsibility. And today Marlon Samuels after a slow start took responsibility and played a fantastic knock. That was amazing man, I wish I could use some expletives on TV to really express how much of a top knock that was. He did it in 2010, and I knew if Samuels was there in the end, he’ll bring us home in 2016. It was a matter of when and not if.”
The 27-year-old backed his skipper Darren Sammy’s emotional outburst against the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) saying:
“Most of the nations have more resources than we do, but we have natural talent. It has been said we don’t have brains, that we don’t harness our talent, that we do things off the field that contribute to poor on-field success. But I just want to say being around these guys, that everything we do on and off the field is for the betterment of West Indies, not just the team but also cricket and the region in general.”
On the final over against England’s Ben Stokes:
“It was a little nerve-wracking to be honest, I just tried to stay focused, use my cue words, watch the ball and take some pressure off Marlon. It would have been too hard to give him a single and expect him to do it all. I just had to bite the bullet and try to get a couple of boundaries, which fortunately I did, give God thanks for bringing it home for the people in West Indies.
After the third six I just backed myself, go hard, if it goes in the air I knew Marlon would finish it but I knew I had to be there as close to the end as possible. We continued to back ourselves, back our strength and our strength is hitting boundaries. Once we knew it was manageable we knew we could do it.
I just want say a special mention to everyone in Sargeant’s Village, my family, my friends and especially to Mr Errol Edey, the master bat-maker from the Caribbean.He made this special beauty for me to use in the World Cup and he told me, ‘Carlos, go out there and smash ’em’. Erroll, I did, and now we are world champions.”
What he really meant:
“I’m rendered speechless by the sense of occasion. Would expletives do instead?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Hey, Virat, can you teach me a few of those choicest Punjabi and Hindi abuses, my maan?”
What he said:
“Maybe I have a real face and he doesn’t.”
Marlon Samuels was not a gracious winner despite his match-winning knock in the World T20 final at Kolkata against England.
The volatile West Indian was quick to let loose a volley at his long-time bete-noire Shane Warne dedicating his man-of-the-match award to the Australian spin king turned commentator.
The duo have a history of clashes dating back to the second edition of the Big Bash league.
“I woke up this morning with one thing on my mind. Shane Warne has been talking continuously and all I want to say is ‘this is for Shane Warne’. I answer with the bat, not the mic. I played a Test series in Australia (in January 2016) and Shane Warne has a problem with me. Don’t know why. I’ve never disrespected him. It seems that he has a lot inside him that needs to come out. I don’t appreciate the way he continues to talk about me and the things that he keeps doing.”
The facial jibe was a reference to Warne having admitted to using Botox in the past.
What he really meant:
“It’s my turn to face the mike. Warney, can you stand the music?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’d really like a bearded and moustachioed Warne, wouldn’t you?”
England take on the West Indies tonight in Kolkata in the sixth edition of the T20 World Cup.
Neither team is a stranger to the pressures of a final; both have emerged victors in the shortest format of the game.
Joe Root and Chris Gayle will be the cynosure of all eyes.
They are key players for their respective sides.
But finals have an uncanny knack of producing unlikely heroes.
The biggest stars have to perform to the greatest expectations.
Can they? Will they?
Some simply choke under the weight of expectations. Remember Ronaldo in the World Cup final in France in 1998 and his mysterious illness? It could well have been him and not Zinedine Zidane holding up the trophy. (Ronaldo did make amends in 2002. And it was Zidane who got the boot for his infamously provoked headbutt in 2006.Still not a Suarez.)
That’s not the point of this exercise.
It’s simply that cricket is a team sport and that it takes eleven players to get the side across the line.
The better side is simply the one that can keep it together more consistently and more often than other sides.
Those are the teams that make it through a tournament and emerge victorious.
Will it be Eoin Morgan’s England? Or will it be lovable Darren Sammy’s musketeers?
I really don’t know and I really don’t care.
For once, in this tournament I can be neutral and simply say, “Let the fireworks begin.”