How would you feel if suppose your HR manager, right on the day where your appraisal was due, suddenly goes missing and doesn’t report to work for the next few weeks, and even fails to inform the office? Another situation, let’s say the manager who was due to give you a pay hike for the times to come, at the very last minute, blames you for behaviour and conduct or approach to work that you simply aren’t responsible for. How would that make you feel?
Or let’s say on the day when you were to finally get promoted, you end up receiving an HR letter that says they are considering you for a decrement in pay. Would that not make you sweat profusely and make you helplessly anxious?
Truth is, treatment often extended to cricketers is quite like how HR managers treat employees that are deserving of some help, sympathy and compassion.
Not to forget, appreciation!
Life doesn’t always lead a friendly nod of approval or a pat on the back! Not necessarily where it comes to Cricket, a great sport as per some and a life-saver according to most others.
When cricketers, such as a Shimron Hetmyer or Evin Lewis, are sort of kept on the sidelines given what, allegedly, are ‘failed fitness tests’, things aren’t too bright and the way they have been for quite some time, do not inspire hope.
The West Indies side that is already present in The Netherlands for what will be a historic white-ball series (considering never before have the two sides met each other) has some familiar and exciting batting names.
These include- Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks and Kyle Mayers.
And while it was understood that Gayle and Russell won’t feature in this series or perhaps even others that follow and that Carlos Brathwaite clearly seems to have become a thing of the past for West Indies cricket, what wasn’t totally expected was the omission of a certain Evin Lewis.
Ditto for Hetmyer.
On their part, the West Indies cricket board maintain cleanly and straightforwardly-if not fairly- that Evin Lewis does not meet the fitness criterion that is needed to break into the national side.
But what the venerable cricket board does not- and did not – offer were the exact fitness areas and reasons because of which the big-hitting left-hander from Trinidad and Tobago missed out on the squad selected for The Netherlands.
The very fact that Holder has been ‘rested’ and the in-from and back-among-the-wickets Narine hasn’t been picked doesn’t really cut a very inspiring figure for the West Indies.
Though, what’s most perturbing and even a tad bit weird is this:
Had (or if) Evin Lewis been nursing a long and persisting injury, would his Lucknow Super Giants, now out of contention in the IPL, have taken the big risk of including him in the very contest that they eventually went on to lose (vs the RCB)?
Surely, Evin Lewis wasn’t among the runs and failed to connect the ball to the meat of his bat.
But let’s also recount that mind-blowing catch in the outfield that Evin Lewis grabbed one-handed against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Which other seriously or gravely injured or utterly unfit cricketer would have taken such a diving catch? Furthermore, supposedly had Evin Lewis been nursing a trouble in his knees or ankles or even the quadricep in the leg, then would he have been able to cover quite the distance that he eventually did in taking the catch most describe as the best fielding effort of the IPL?
Lastly, had his wrist or thumb or even shoulder been under a state of duress or let’s say, would’ve experienced some sort of niggle, then would the KL Rahul-led fanchise have risked such a big occasion by handing over the bat to Lewis?
Just what is going on right now in the world of West Indies cricket? Evin Lewis, make no mistake, hit a T20 century in just the second international he played for the West Indies in his career. The occasion was huge- the opponent being India and this was six years back in the day.
It took him 49 deliveries to reach the silvery three-figure mark in the Florida-bound T20 international.
Furthermore, the last that he played an ODI for his West Indies was in July of 2021. He would top score for the side; of the 152 his Windies made rather haplessly against the winning Aussies at Barbados, Lewis was responsible for 55 of those.
In his most recent T20I, one that came in the 2021 T20 World Cup, Lewis again top scored for the Windies.
What’s more? None other than Gayle has admitted as being in awe of Evin Lewis and his powerful, backbreaking batting. The likes of Pooran, Hope, Chase and Hetmyer regard Evin Lewis as among the most dangerous hitters of the white-ball.
Further proof of his prowess for clean striking is the fact that 660 of his 1423 T20I runs have come by way of sixes and sixes alone.
If the West Indies have some peculiar criterion for cricketers’ fitness tests, then they should, without wasting any more time, come clean on it; what should be required on the part of a talent to be considered fit for national consideration. As that is the ultimate goal- isn’t it- to draft the fittest into the squad.
But if they have a particular problem with Evin Lewis, who’s basically a simpleton ‘minds-his-own-business’ sort of campaigner, then that too should be spoken about transparently.
Merely hiding behind the bush and sloganeering about their unfit crop of cricketers won’t help.
If Windies are truly serious about not wasting fine talents, then why not dedicate a fitness coach or a pool of nutritionists to a particular talent group that’s not been able to clear what’s required of it?
It’s not even about fans seeing their favourite cricketers as much as it is about seeing a fit cricketer taking the field. Until when will the intrepid lover of West Indies cricket be left bereft of the company of two of the most amazing hitters of the white-ball and basis what sound reason or offering of logic?