Nah, nah, nah, all you Trini posters, don't try that. You can't blame this one on Toco. Shannon Gabriel wasn't born there and certainly he wasn't born in Mocho, Jamaica, either. These two small rural districts, Caribbean folklore tells us, are not known as the birthplaces of Rhodes Scholars.
So why then did West Indies No. 11 batsman, in the third and deciding Test against Pakistan in Dominica, do what he did? On the last ball of the penultimate over, facing the world's best legspinner (Yasir Shah), he tried to "vup" him out of the ground into a neighbouring island. He thus left century maker Roston Chase stranded at the other end, handing Pakistan their first ever series victory in the Caribbean after almost 60 years.
Look out for his defenders---and there may be still a few in the media----to offer the following excuses:
(a) he was trying to be a hero and win the match, never mind that we were 101 runs behind and one over left;
(b) with the constantly changing laws of the game, he honestly believed what he had been told by the bus driver on the way to the ground, namely that hitting a six now counted as a nine;
(c) he thought the Man-of-the-Match award went to the batter who could hit the longest six;
(d) he had visions of replacing the ailing and fading Tiger Woods on the PGA circuit
(e) all of the above
Gabriel's "vup" reminds me so much of Tino Best's finest hours...on the field that is. A couple years back Best came in a No. 11 for Barbados in a 50 over final at Sabina Park. Scores tied. Eight overs to get the winning run. And how did Best contrive to get it ? Run out, attempting a suicidal single. But at least Best has a highest Test score of 95, something Gabriel can't even dream of. And how did Best try to proceed to his maiden century ? By trying to hit the ball from Edgebaston ground to the Bull Ring in the heart of Birmingham.