September 18, 2020

West Indies battle on regardless


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colin croftBy Colin EH Croft From Guardian Digital T&T

At the time of writing this article 48 hours ago, 11 of the scheduled 14 national squads for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 had been declared. West Indies’ squad was not among them!

Yet, somehow, individuals already seem to know that at least two of WI’s ODI stalwarts, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, both of T&T, had been omitted from WI’s squad for that competition.

It is nigh impossible to hide anything or anyone anymore, but how could that have happened?

Common sense suggests that either e-mailed selectors’ discussions had been intercepted; “hacked”—to use the technological term, or alleged omitted players had been notified, then divulged said information to friends and agents, or that WI’s selectors had unknowingly published their plans for WI’s CWC squad.

That ‘twittered’ observation from former West Indies Players Association (Wipa) president Dininath Ramnarine, who prides himself on integrity, a former WI leg-spinner whose career ended after not being selected to tour South Africa (SA) in 2003, has left WI cricket in yet another strange state of dizziness.

What is wrong with this picture? Will the sniping in West Indies cricket never end?

A new year has started. Intrigue in WI cricket continues. Yet, WI should be relatively happy, per the present SA tour, with preparations for its overall cricket for 2015.

Already recuperating from its 2-0 loss in the Test series, WI, via Chris Gayle, just beat SA in Twenty20 No 1. Expect similar results in the second and third too, since T20’s is WI’s most productive cricketing format.

Gayle, who missed the Test series due to injury, has started the shorter series well with that dynamic, muscular 77, an innings that included the fastest WI T20 fifty, five four’s, eight sixes, from only 31 deliveries faced. Yet WI struggled somewhat to get SA’s 165-4, ending at 168-6 in 19.2 overs.

WI and the entire cricket world are now hoping, holding their collective breaths, keeping fingers and toes crossed, that Gayle not only survives five ODI’s in SA too, but will be fit enough to also play, fire and contribute very well for WI in the World Cup, which will run for six weeks, containing 49 games!

So, that just completed Test series versus SA was not as bad on WI as many had predicted. SA did win, but a few WI players did themselves and their futures in representative teams some positives too.

Bowling was WI’s biggest liability in that Test series against SA, as WI’s bowlers did not manage to dismiss SA twice in any of the three Test matches, while SA had massive scores of 552-5d, 417-8d, 421 and 124-2.

Jerome Taylor, senior-most fast bowler, and oldest, aged 30, was especially disappointing. He looked terribly jaded, with no pace or aggression, even after a supposed long rest and recuperation from injury.

Taylor delivered 83.1 overs in three Tests, only four bowling innings, deluging 323 runs, economy rate 3.9, way too high for Test cricket, while getting only three wickets, a strike rate of an astronomical one wicket every 27 plus overs, averaging 107.33 runs per wicket. That is seriously poor form and returns!

Similarly putrid was Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s Test series. Ninety-one (91) runs, five innings, one innings alone 50 not out; innings No 2, Test No 3; average 18.20, was as underwhelming as anyone has ever seen Chanderpaul perform. Never did he seem settled against the pace and occasional spin of SA’s bowlers.

WI’s batting, overall, was not that great either. No innings got to 350, in five tries, the highest, only once over 300, being 329. But Marlon Samuels, Kraigg Brathwaite and Leon Johnson certainly stood out!

Extremely positive was Samuels’ team-topping aggregate and average, 268 runs, five innings, one century, one half-century; average 53.60. His maturity, shouldering his team’s batting responsibilities, shone through. He seemed to be continuing from that aborted series in India last year.

Brathwaite’s efforts were heartening if not as accomplished as expected. One hundred and eighty-three (183) runs, one century, five innings, average 36.60, all give hope for better when he plays his next Test series versus England. With SA’s pitches not as quick or bouncy as expected, Brathwaite should probably have been more productive.

Johnson, on his first tour as a senior WI player, was the biggest positive of WI’s Test effort against SA. He definitely looked the part, unperturbed by SA’s bowlers’ reputations, confident in his own abilities.

Five innings, 168 runs, only one half century, average 33.60, all suggest consistency without being spectacular, but Johnson also suffered from general WI’s batsmen’s malaise; 30’s, 40’s and 50’s seem to be enough. In Test cricket, hardly does anyone notice that a batsman had made a half century.

Denesh Ramdin’s captaincy was neither good nor bad, as his batsmen and especially his bowlers let him down badly. Regardless of how innovative he might have thought of being, he did not have the team to even expand SA. Hopefully, versus England and Australia later this year, Ramdin could have a better squad.

Now, WI are more in their element in SA; T20’s and ODI’s. Look out for more fireworks too! Enjoy!
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Related story:

Gayle slams selectors over Bravo, Pollard omissions

Galemain_3003924bBy Nagraj Gollapudi From espncricketinfo

After hammering a match-winning 90 that helped West Indies win the Twenty20 series against South Africa, Chris Gayle launched a scathing attack on the West Indies Cricket Board and the Clive Lloyd-led selection panel for dropping the senior pair of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the ODI series and the World Cup. Repeatedly labelling the move as “ridiculous”, Gayle felt it was a case of “victimisation” against the two Trinidadian allrounders.

“How can those two guys not be in the team?” Gayle, who is the first current player to raise his voice against the omissions, said during the post-match media conference at Wanderers. “To me it got to be like victimisation when you look at it towards those two guys. Come on, guys. It is just ridiculous. Come on. Ridiculous. Really hurt. Ridiculous. Honestly, it throw me off. We can only talk. We can express our feelings, which I’m doing at this point in time. The squad already is announced. It is just sad.

“It is a big batting line-up when you look at our team. But it’s just disappointing when you look at the 50-over format – we won’t be at our strongest,” Gayle said. “We don’t have our strongest team without Pollard, nor Bravo. So that is actually sad for us. It is a really big blow for us to actually lose two key players, two key allrounders as well, very good in the outfield. I don’t know what’s the history behind it, but it is a ridiculous selection from my point of view.”

On Saturday, the WICB announced the 15-man World Cup squad to be led by Jason Holder with Marlon Samuels as vice-captain. There was no mention about Bravo and Pollard, who had been earlier been ignored for the ODI series against South Africa. Gayle, whose blazing starts were instrumental to West Indies chasing big totals in successive matches, including the highest successful Twenty20 chase on Sunday, said he was glad he could dedicate the series victory to Bravo and Pollard.

“I don’t know where our cricket is actually going to …where we are heading with this sort of situation. But it is really sad. Actually we won the [Twenty20] series with our best team and now there will be changes, with two of our biggest players in ODI cricket not involved in the 50-over format and the World Cup. It really hurts but I’m really, really glad that we won the series for Pollard and Bravo.”

Gayle’s blunt attack came a day after the WICB released a list of 12 players granted central contracts. That list did not include Gayle, who said he could only express disillusionment over the the omissions at this stage, but smelt Bravo and Pollard paying a price. Although Gayle did not mention it directly, he was referring to the India tour last October when Bravo, as ODI captain, led the boycott against the WICB and the West Indies Players’ Association over a contracts dispute and pulled out of the tour.

What astonished Gayle further, he revealed, was when Bravo told him that the selectors’ vision was focused on re-building the team. “Bravo said to me, to be honest with you, the team they selected for the World Cup is actually to re-build for the next World Cup, which I can’t understand. Basically what they are telling us: we are not going to win the World Cup [but] build for the next World Cup which is really ridiculous.”

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See alsi iNews Cayman related stories published today (Jan 15) “West Indies a mirror of society” at:

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