Fellow Gleaner columnist and radio talk show host Orville Higgins has been strident and consistent in articulating the theory that the loss of the passion for Test cricket across the Caribbean is the main reason for the demise of the once powerful and all-conquering team. Higgins opines that both the players and the people across the region no longer love the game of cricket the way they did back in the glory days, thus the players don’t do enough hard work to improve the level of their performances, and so the team itself continues to struggle to be competitive and consistent. This lack of passion, it is argued, has trickled down to the fans who are not given enough incentive to go out and watch cricket the way they used to, with the net effect being the steady and disastrous decline of West Indies cricket. While agreeing that the passion is gone, my question is: Where is the personal pride and professionalism of the players? One does not have to be passionate to have personal pride and professionalism, and as these players continue to be part of a team that slumps to spineless and record-setting defeat after record-setting defeat, where is the Caribbean pride and the hurt that would typically embarrass a West Indian to the point where that inner quest for respect and adulation would kick him into the pursuance of the necessary actions needed to lift one out of this shameful quagmire? WIMPY AND UNPROFESSIONAL Passion or no passion, the current crop of players are shameless. If it is that they really do lack passion, they are then wimpy and unprofessional. Look at their latest surrender in the first Test mauling by Australia. There were several moments during the game when players looked disconnected and distant as if they wished they were somewhere else. The timidity with which they rolled over in less than three days suggests that they had very little regard for personal or team excellence. There was one poignant incident when captain Jason Holder was batting in the first innings, with the Windies on the ropes at five down for just over 100 runs and still in arrears of over 400 runs. Holder, as the leader at the crease and with only the bowlers to come, was hit high on the pad. The umpire gave him out lbw. Holder had a little glance at non-striker Darren Bravo and then walked off. The television replays showed that the ball was heading high over the stumps by about six inches, yet the captain chose not to use his available review. That is the kind of ‘competitive softness’ that permeates the mentality of the current crop of players. Long gone are the ruthless competitors, who placed premium value on personal performances. That has nothing to do with passion. None of those champions of the golden era would ‘give themselves out’ in the heat of battle if there was the option back then of the Decision Review System. If it were just a matter of a loss of passion, then it would be much more understandable why the players and the results continue to be as disastrous as they are. But the way the players and the team continue to fold, especially in Test cricket, the embarrassing and gutless performances point to the crucial absence of personal and collective pride and shows that they have no respect for the people of the region that they represent. That is why many West Indians, me included, have absolutely no sympathy or respect for this shameless and gutless bunch. Passion or no passion, MAN MUST HAVE PRIDE.