Quote Mark Alleyne: ["James Pearson is a good cricketer, England Under-19. He's struggling. He comes in, puts the CD on and he's just waiting for someone to say, `that's rubbish'. And he loves Lara and West Indies. The more he goes on about them, the more he's going to be isolated."]
The above quote was taken from a piece done with Alleyne and Piper, two black British cricketers in the article “What Happened to the Black Cricketer?” James Pearson the U-19 black cricketer has been on my mind ever since I read the article. And with the victory on Saturday and the raising of the ICC Championship Trophy by the West Indians I have thought even more about this young man.
I wonder what this win will do for him. Will he be galvanized by stronger self-belief that he can do it too against all odds? Will he know now that all he has to do is work hard and it will come? Will his perception of white administrators working against him change? Will the isolation brought on by his admiration of Lara the West Indies intensify or subside? Will he have the company of other inspired black and Indian youth on his team or on other opposition teams?
Are the West Indies players and the WICB aware of what is at stake if they continue to under-perform in international cricket? It is not just how much winning means to adult West Indians in Britain and at home but what it means to the future of the young cricketer in the West Indies and those in Britain in particular of West Indian heritage.
James Pearson now has a little something to hold on to but it wont last for very long. For young cricketers like Pearson to be able to hold their heads up and deflect the barbs of lazy, instinctive and brainless, West Indies must continue to do well if not win. We can’t afford to go back because the James Pearsons will have too little to draw on when they face the obstacles created for them by themselves and others. I hope Lara’s call throughtout the recent tournament, to keep our collective eyes on the prize is not going to be drowned out by the euphoria. WICB has much work to do, work they have either neglected or poorly performed for too long now.
I have seen others ascribe the poor physical and mental state of the West Indian cricketers on male marginalization and the strides made by Caribbean women. That assertion is in my view as pure balderdash of course because the decision makers and power brokers in the Caribbean have always been and continue to be majority male.
Here is another example where the outlook, attitude and chance of success of future West Indian and British cricketers of West Indian heritage, lay squarely in the hands of mainly male West Indians. I look on to see if the almost exclusively male cricketing West Indies fraternity of players and administrators will squander yet another opportunity to take up their responsibility to build for a brighter future for all of us but mostly for male West Indians of this generation and the next, at home and abroad.