Sir Hilary Beckles examines the fall of West Indies Test Cricket in newest book: Cricket without a Cause
Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles launched his most recent monograph, Cricket without a Cause: Fall and Rise of the Mighty West Indian Test Cricketers on November 27th 2017 at the Cricket Legends of Barbados, Fontabelle, Bridgetown. In his publication, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, an avid cricketer, university academic and former West Indies Cricket Board director, critically examines the international cricket performance of the West Indies Test Cricketers, showing the crucial factors that surrounded the collapse of West Indies Test Cricket. The November 27th event was attended by notable personalities including, Acting Governor General of Barbados, Sir Philip Marlowe Greaves, Barbados Cricket Association President, Conde Riley, as well as Cricket legends, Sir Wes Hall and Sir Everton Weekes. It was one of a series of launches for the monograph which have also been held in the UK, Jamaica and most recently in St Kitts on December 16th.
Dr. Luz Longsworth, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Open Campus gave the first reading, while the second reading was done by Cricket Journalist, Mike King. Head, Cave Hill Academy of Sport, The UWI Faculty of Sport, Amanda Reifer made the vote of thanks. In her reading, Dr. Luz Longsworth, remarked, “This book is really a story of paradise lost, of victory and defeat, of despair and hope. It is also what literary people would call a ‘cautionary tale’. One that warns of how excellence can be quickly lost by poor decision making, inflated egos, individualism, the lack of proper succession planning, the lack of grooming of our youth and the acknowledgement of the wisdom of our elders.”
Sir Hilary began his discussion stating clearly, “This is not strictly speaking a book about cricket. It is about Test Cricket in the sense that the narrative and the information in it is about the development of cricket as a culture. But this book is really about Caribbean people, whether we have the will, whether we have the focus and the commitment to solve our problems.”
Sir Hilary shone a light on the collapse of the Windies team, “from awesome to awful” and how the team was knocked from the pinnacle of Test Cricket and thrown “into the basement”. He said that lack of togetherness and pride was one of the crucial factors that contributed to the fall of team. Test Cricket, once the “gold” of the Windies brand, was devalued and diminished. He noted that it was impossible to play an outstanding game if team members were playing for themselves, rather than for country or team.
The book recognises however, that a change is coming and this current crop of players has a different mindset. The reversal of “cash before country” is taking place, thanks to the success of the Sagicor UWI High Performance Centre that has produced them. The return of the West Indies team is on the horizon.
Proceeds from book sales on the evening of the launch were donated to support The UWI’s ongoing efforts of relief for Caribbean islands affected by the devastation wrought by recent Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Persons interested in making further donations towards this cause can do so via the online platform www.uwi.edu/relief.
Click here to view the Cave Hill launch of “Cricket Without a Cause”.
Professor Sir Hilary McD. Beckles autographs a copy of his new book, Cricket without a Cause: Fall and Rise of the Mighty West Indian Test Cricketers.