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The Masterful Shane Shillingford
March 23, 2013

In the seventies, nineteen eighties (1980s), and half the nineties, the West Indies had perhaps the best team of fast bowlers of all time.  They had Andy Roberts and Malcolm Marshall. Then came Michael Holding, Colin Croft and Joel Garner.  The end of the dominating West Indian pace attack was in the 1990s when both Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose came to the end of their career.

Ironically, during those two and a half (2.5) decades of dominance, the team also had dominant batsmen likes Lawrence Rowe (short career because of the South Africa trip during apartheid era), tail of all-rounder Gary Sobers’ brilliant career, full careers of Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge, Robert Haynes, “the master blaster” Sir Vivian “Viv” Richards, and the start of Brian Lara’s career.

Since those 2.5 decades of West Indian dominance, we have seen great batting from the likes of Brian Lara, shortened Jimmy Adams career, the ever-reliable Shivnarine “Shiv” Chanderpaul, hard-hitting Chris Gayle, and resurgence of classy batsman Marlon Samuels (after he returned from his 2-year ban for his contact with a known Indian bookie / match fixer).  The problem is the team lacked the consistency even in the batting but it would be good enough if we had fast bowlers like the aforementioned.

West Indian Selectors

Apparently, the West Indian selectors and each coach/manager felt the same as I did (“The problem is we lacked the consistency even in the batting but it would be good enough if we had fast bowlers like those“) because they kept selecting 4 pace-bowlers (fast + fast medium or medium-fast)  ad-nauseum. During the next 12 years of mediocrity, 1996-2007, I felt the team was just that… mediocre at best.  I, like many, blamed the team’s performance on things like the West Indian Player’s Assn (WIPA) feud with the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB), the Caribbean divide, distractions from other up-and-coming sports like basketball in the Caribbean, lack of contracts by players to play overseas (English Country Cricket), the rise in the video game industry and the Internet. Each of those had a part to play in the decline along with player indiscipline (not insubordination as some might confuse that to mean) and poor player selection, and failure to develop young players in the latter part of the greats’ careers.

Fast-forward 2008-Present and, while the West Indies have tasted recent success by winning the T-20 World Cup and winning consecutive series against New Zealand, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe, those are the 3 worst teams overall, of all test-playing nations, so we are supposed to win those series.  But, in that span, something became very clear to cricket fans in the Caribbean, of Caribbean descent, and everywhere that West Indian selectors are penny-wise and pound-foolish. They have neglected the best-performing cricketers in the Caribbean, the spinners. Whilst it’s foolish to say these spinners can become what our pace attack of 1970s through mid-90s was, they are clearly the most successful bowlers we have had since 2008.

We have top-class spin bowlers the likes of Sulieman Benn, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Odean Brown, Veerasammy Permaul, and Shane Shillingford, making the Caribbean, for the first time, a spin-bowling region for the first time.  But you wouldn’t know it if you see the team that the West Indian selectors continue to pick which, for the most part, include 4 pace bowlers when Gayle was captain, or 2-4 pace bowlers + Darren Sammy when he is captain.  During that time, they would include 1 spinner on the team.  Benn got a run in tests and ODIs, Nikita Miller got 1 test match and a number of ODIs, Shillingford was discarded after a question about bowling action, and they found the gem Sunil Narine who they have mostly overused as the lone spinner on the team for the most part, with a Permaul here, a Badree there.

Re-Enter Shane Shillingford

While resting Sunil Narine, who truly has been overworked, and not selecting Permaul, they decided to only select Shane Shillingford for the 2 test series against Zimbabwe, this after thrashing winning the ODIs and T-20 International against Zimbabwe before.  This was a great choice because, let me tell you what happened.  I may borrow some style from the great Reggae artist / dub poet Linton “Kewsi” Johnson and his timeless “Sonny’s Lettah“.

Dear Cricket fans of the Caribbean, I do hope that when you read this you will be a bit optimistic. Zimbabwe fans, I don’t know how to tell you this because I made a solemn promise to look out for and promote West Indian cricket whenever I can, unfortunately at the expense of your team and others.

Zimbabwe really did try their best but non-the-less, I am happy to tell you West Indian cricket fans that Zimbabwe was defeated 2-0 by spin. It was the first Test match and Zimbabwe batted first. The West Indies, as always, opened with pace, and backed it up with pace. The fans are watching nonchalantly as Zimbabwe move to 82-2 after 25 overs.

When all of a sudden, Captain Darren Sammy brought out Shane Shillingford, then Marlon Samuels, both armed with spin. Shillingford took the wickets of Mawoyo, Waller, and Chakabva to finish with figures of 3-58 while Samuels finished with figures of 4-13, taking the wickets fo 3 of the last 4 batsmen. It was Zimbabwe all out for 211. The West Indies then went in and made 307, a lead of 96. When Zimbabwe batted again, Sammy wisely brought Shillingford on early with Zimbabwe at 26-1. Cricket fans, Caribbean people, West Indians let me tell you what Shillingford did to Zimbabwe. I’ll tell you what he did to them.

He had Masakadza caught by Sammy from his first ball for 1, he bowled and caught Sibanda for 15, he had Taylor and Waller caught by Powell for 6 and 5 respectively, then he bowled Chakabva for 6. Then he finished up with figures of 6-49 (9-107 match) after getting Cremer caught behind by wicketkeeper Ramdin for 14. The West Indian players had a little giggle, as Zimbabwe gave their last wiggle. Fans, Zimbabwe just couldn’t do anything. They were all out for 107 with a lead of 11. West Indies made 12-1 to win by 9 wickets.

So Zimbabwe licked their wounds but didn’t cry, at least not openly. They had another opportunity coming up to square the season and salvage some pride in the Caribbean.  After all they were seriously wounded by spin but they were still alive not dead. Openly they were ready to take on the West Indies and whatever spin attack brought. Behind the scenes, we doubt they had anything in their arsenal to counter this tricky and wicked West Indian spin attack. But, there was no way they were going to scream “murder!”.

West Indian cricket fans, don’t fret, don’t get depressed nor downhearted. Be of good courage, Shane Shillingford again arrived in the 2nd test. In the 2nd Test it was Zimbabwe 175 in the first innings with Shillingford 5-59 and Samuels 3-15.  Then, after the West Indies’ reply of 381 (Gayle 101, Chanderpaul 108, resurgent Ramdin 86), Zimbabwe crumbled at Sammy’s new found spin attack, scoring 141 all out. This time it was Shillingford 5-34 (10-93 match figures) and Samuels 3-35 (6-50 match figures). West Indies won by an inning and 65 runs.

Next Move Selectors

In the 2-match series, Shillingford took 19 wickets for 200 runs, an unheralded feat by any West Indian bowler in a 2-match stretch ever!  That includes the great pace attacks that dominated Test and one-day cricket for decades.  The spinner-and-a-half (Shillingford full time and Marlon part-time) attack was responsible for 28 of the 40 Zimbabwe wickets. Can you imagine that!  It’s almost unfathomable.

My recommendation to the West Indian selectors is that, until the spinners prove non-productive or the pace attack surpasses spin in the Caribbean, there should ALWAYS be at least 2 spinners in the final 11.  At the moment, the main 2 are obviously Sunil Narine and Shane Shillingford. What an attack that would be, when they get backed up by part-time slow-bowlers Samuels and Gayle!  Not to mention, when either Shillingford or Narine needs to be rested, you can bring in Nikita Miller, or Sulieman Benn, or Veerasammy Permaul or Odean Brown.  Selectors, the point is you have choice spinners in the Caribbean who have proven over the past 5 years to be your best bowlers.  SELECT THEM. Then coach Gibson and Captain Sammy, USE THEM.  It will help your attempt to rise in the ranks of the 3 formats of the game (Test, ODI, T20I).

#Champs2013 goes to Calabar and Holmwood Tech

Calabar shrugged off 2011 Winners Jamaica College and 30-time winners Kingston College (KC) to pull away from a close start to win the ISSA 2013 Boys Championships at the National Stadium yesterday.  In the ISSA Girls Championships, it was Holmwood Technical coming from 48 points down on the final day to defeat their main rivals Edwin-Allen who dethroned them last year.

In a Champs where we saw 30 records broken (19 by boys and 11 by girls), it was electric and viewed by many as the best Boys and Girls Championships of all time, whatever the reason was for so many records.  Some think it’s because Champs was moved forward 2 weeks, others think it’s new commitment, and a few wondered about the timing mechanism.  There’s one issue with the latter, which is that a few field events were broken also, not just the many track (time-based) records.

There were a bit of controversy before the Champs because of 2 outstanding athletes barred from competing because of not meeting the minimum academic standards but, otherwise, things went well.  In terms of the feeds for overseas people, they were confusing and worked well most of Saturday. However, the servers died at the start of the relays.  Better planning need to be put into this, not last-minute as it appeared this year.

Congratulations to Calabar High School (CBar or Rabalac).  Also congratulations to Holmwood Technical.

Boys Championships 2013 – Results
Calabar High School – 299
Jamaica College – 258.5
Kingston College – 247.5
Wolmers’ Boys School – 121
St. Jago – 107
Girls Championships 2013 – Results
Holmwood Technica – 310.5
Edwin Allen Highl – 305.5
St Jago – 208
Vere Technical – 202
Hydel – 157.5

Say your piece.  Talk to me nuh.

Jamaican Lottery Scams?

The worst thing a country wants to be implicated in is the crimes and alleged crimes of a few criminals.  We have heard of the Jamaican Posse in New York decades ago, the Jamaican criminals in England in recent history, the high murder rate in Jamaica.  Now Jamaica is in the news again and this time the blow could be long-lasting.  This time it’s the “Jamaican Lottery Scams”.

Jamaican Lottery Scams?

What are these so-called Jamaican Lottery Scams?  An expose on CBS TV in the United States (can be viewed at illuminated how a few criminals in Jamaica picked up and adapted the so-called Nigerian Scam ( in order to defraud people of their money, or as Mr @csharpe puts it, “to separate people from their money“.

These scams work in the following way:

1. Criminal in Jamaica (allegedly many of these criminals are from Western Jamaica) obtains a list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of elderly people from USA by whatever means.

2. Criminal then calls the elderly persons in the USA pretending to be with a sweepstakes company within the USA.

3. Criminal tells elderly persons they’ve won money.

4. Criminals tell the elderly that in order to get the prize, the person just has to pay a fee, which they are told is for processing, or taxes.

One elderly woman of 79 years reported that she was scammed out of $30,000 USD over a 7-month period.

The Plagues The Criminals have brought on Jamaica

We have seen the Cash Plus ponzi scheme and other schemes/ scams over the years in Jamaica that many people overseas were indifferent to.  However, when violence erupts or murder rate increases in tourist destinations, large countries like the United States does pay attention and does report it to their citizens.  Now that citizens have been defrauded by a few criminals, the entire Jamaica suffers the consequences.  Why?  This story is going out and around like wild fire. Not only that but United States senators have made comments about Jamaica’s main source of income, TOURISM.

According to these US officials, Jamaica should spend as much money on stopping these criminals from defrauding it’s citizens and other crimes as it does on trying to get US citizens to Jamaican shores, boosting Jamaican tourism.  In fact they had $$$ figures about how much US citizens add to Jamaican tourism.

The Good Must Suffer for the Bad

We live in a world where, if you don’t have the handle of the knife you have the blade.  If you have the blade, the good must suffer for the bad, even if the bad represents a fraction of a fraction of a percentage.

Let’s face it.  The crimes perpetrated by these criminals are heinous, despicable, and certainly not condoned by law-biding citizens like me.  However, what steps does Jamaica take to eliminate this sort of thing?  Obviously, the United States wants the perpetrators extradited.  That extradition law has been the source of polarizing views in Jamaica and the Caribbean over the past few years in particular.

The feeling on one side is that the extradition law is one-sided, favoring the large countries like the USA.  However, the other side feels like if Jamaican citizens are committing crimes on foreign soil or against foreigners, they should be extradited and dealt with by the authorities of that foreign country.

Either way, that’s not the main point.  The main point is that the reputation of the country gets dragged down the gutter by these unscrupulous criminals who are only in it for themselves and do not think about what it does to their community, parish, and country.


One comment on a prominent Caribbean newspaper’s web site was from one identifying him/herself as “Voice of Reason” who basically flipped the script on the US officials, saying:

“Whilst I think scammers should feel the full force of the law and be made to pay for their crimes. I would also like the USA to do something about the guns from their country which make their way onto our shores, I do not think they are doing enough about that. Whilst their priority is rightly to protect their citizens my priority is to protect the sovereignty of Jamaica and is citizens from falling victim to American bullets. One hand should wash the other!!!”

A response on the same site was from an individual with the initials C.E who retorted:

Straying from the topic? This topic is not about ‘fair and balanced’. In a nut-shell, we must find these criminal fraudsters, extortioners, identity thieves, and extradite them through our Courts. The U.S. is our (Jamaica) bread and butter, so we must cut the rhetoric and act expeditiously.

I agree with C.E. First we should act quickly to bring these criminals to justice. Have them repay every penny they have stolen.  If they cannot then face the consequences.  Then, after cleaning up and dissuading other criminals from following suit, we can talk about the gun problem which has been a problem in Jamaica for decades and decades.

What do you think?  Talk to me nuh.

ISSA Boys and Girls Champs 2013

ISSA Boys and Girls Championships 2013

Click to create your school’s group. Make sure you are logged in using FB or Twitter account or create an account. It’s free.

Ardenne, Campion College, Edwin Allen, Immaculate Conception (ICHS), Kingston College, and others already represent here along with thousands of members from Jamaica and other countries.
Hey Jamaicans around the world, people from Caribbean neighbors, and definitely North Americans, the annual Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys and Girls Athletic Championships (“Champs”) is scheduled for Mar 13 to 16, 2013 at Jamaica National Stadium in Independence Park, Kingston.

Please take the polls below and then continue to read.

Who will win Boys Champs 2013

  • Calabar (2012 champs) (37%, 25 Votes)
  • Kingston College (KC) - (many-time champs) (37%, 25 Votes)
  • Jamaica College (JC) (10%, 7 Votes)
  • Wolmers Boys (7%, 5 Votes)
  • Munro (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Another school (4%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 68

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Who will win Girls Champs 2013

  • Edwin-Allen (2012 runaway champs) (38%, 30 Votes)
  • Holmwood (many time champs) (27%, 21 Votes)
  • St Jago (15%, 12 Votes)
  • Another school (9%, 7 Votes)
  • Vere Technical (8%, 6 Votes)
  • Hydel (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Wolmers Girls (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 78

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