The real difference between the West Indies cricket and that in India lies in what makes headlines in the two regions.
So while the Jamaican press created a furore over Chris Gayle being axed, we were reporting (nearly at the same time) on how the Indians are axing themselves. While the seniors there were trying to hang by the faintest of lines to prove their already proven cricketing talents, the Dhoni's and Sachin's here were pleading for mercy, respite and rest from the sport (exaggeration liberally used).
Take Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The duo must have been cursing their ancestors for moving to the Caribbean's, especially so before the May series against Pakistan when their future in the side was at the mercy of the West Indies Cricket Board. If only they would have gotten a chance to play for the Indian team, their records would have been enough to, possibly of course, keep their names enshrined in the Board of Control for Cricket in India's media release on team selection for tours.
Instead, for all their laurels they were made to cool their already cold heels in the tropical waters they might already be so used too in Guyana - for the limited overs series. Not that Chanderpaul in the first and Sarwan in both Tests could do much once included in the side apart from possibly keeping the crowd at Providence happy at seeing their local-stars and keeping the stones at home.
Yes, some fans in the region have been blogging what they consider as WICB's divisive policies to play local veterans in local matches only. Alas what are they but amateurs. They still need to learn the art of the religious sect called fan-following begun by Kolkatans in India to honour their prince, especially the one-finger ceremony outside buses.
And while they are at it, they might as well get their Jamaican brotha's. For Mr Christopher Henry Gayle has been itching his Board in all the wrong places and (surprisingly only to him) has still been blissfully ignored pending an explanation for his outbursts. The latest on that piece of development is that the orange cap holder of IPL 4 has received the backing of West Indies Players Association.
The last time we (I) remember hearing about the Indian Players Association was when a wage/contract related issue crept up some years back. This association however could possibly have risen in arms again to back Indian players, although the reasons would have been much different. "Forbid our cricketers from cricket, says Players Association," would have been the headline had the Indian Board decided to disallow Dhoni, Tendulkar, Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Zaheer (pheww) from skipping the series half-way across the globe.
In fact putting support from associations aside, the trio of Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan ought to just take the next flight to Kolkata in protest once the series starts and spend some quality time with the ever-resilient Dada. Who knows we may as well get a team called the Omitted XI in the process. As for the actual two teams, let the better one win and the other one sulk their sorrows in deep-strong Caribbean breezers, Jamaican rum and Dominican salsa.
Post script: The Omitted XI is as follows (do make your recommendations in the comments section)
Sourav Ganguly (captain)
Kamran Akmal (wkt)
Lasith Malinga (only in Tests)
12th man: Joginder Sharma
Coach: Greg Chappell
Bowling coach: Waqar Younis
Batting coach: Navjot Singh Sidhu
Team Manager: Lalit Modi
Assistant Team Manager: Sanjay Dixit
Team Physio: Mandira Bedi (only limited consultations will be allowed)
Yoga Trainer: Shilpa Shetty