With the emergence of talented young players like Shai Hope and Heitmeyer, the future of Caribbean cricket is suddenly looking bright.
Cricket’s mega event- the ICC World Cup 2019- is going to held in England next month. And most of the teams have announced their squad for the tournament. That said, when are the West Indies going to do that?
Their fans in the Caribbean and others who adore Calypso cricket are pretty would be pretty excited to see the composition of the team. After all, this isn’t a side that’s done well particularly in the last editions of Cricket’s magnum opus.
Moreover, there’s a reason to think that change is on the cards. Hence, it will probably reflect well on the playing eleven, and the selected fifteen.
The newly appointed CWI President Ricky Skerritt has promised to end the unwanted animosity between some of the star players and the board that had been going for the past few years.
Change, as they say, is the only constant of life and perhaps, it’s about time that the West Indies found some of it too.
Although the younger brigades have done a commendable job recently in the absence of seniors, one reckons, bringing back the experienced campaigners won’t do any harm.
In fact, it will only bolster the confidence of the team.
However, while there’s no reason to doubt the match-winning combination of experienced heads like Gayle, Roach, Holder, and Russell, there’s a thing that clearly stands out.
A sport driven by sheer skill entrusts a lot on one’s mental abilities- right?
Personally, from where I see, what really matters is the attitude of players; doing a sensible thing on the field with discipline and dedication.
Isn’t that what one’s failed to see from a side that has although begun to win Tests, one reckons, it’s still got a long mile to walk in the ODI arena?
Caribbean cricket is all about flair and exhilarating stroke play. This isn’t some intellectual theory. If you are a follower of their great game, a sport that peaked during the era of Sir Viv, found itself uplifted by Lara, and found, thanks to the dexterity and the adaptability of guys like Gayle, a new meaning- there’s more you’d love to know.
Perhaps patience is that virtue every West Indian selected in the 15-member squad would like to draw home.
For starters, the West Indians, who drew level with one of the finest ODI sides at the moment- England- would want to approach the ICC World Cup 2019 the way it is; not as a T20 contest.
Thankfully, they’ve got a few things going for them in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
With Gayle getting better with age and Russell bludgeoning the ball the way we are seeing these days- it augurs well for Windies cricket.
However, that’s 2 individuals from 11. What about the 9? If you’ve seen Jason Holder, who, in the wake of all that he’s done for his team, starting 2017 onward – see his form guide, do the math- is the captain inspirational to say Dhoni’s captain cool (ex-India captain).
He was clearly among the finest bowlers in 2018 and given his bowling average in red ball cricket was exemplary, would boost his confidence heading into 2019’s biggest cricketing stage: the ICC World Cup 2019.
Nearly 1500 ODI runs from 73 innings, including 7 fifties along with 119 scalps from 88 bowling innings should boost his confidence. The Barbadian may not be the world’s leading match-winner but is he the same Jason Holder one saw being pummelled left, right, and center in 2015 World Cup- you can have your say.
Moving on, the West Indies would love to reach the semis. Not that Lara disagrees, given ‘The Prince’ has already said his team being a ‘surprise package’ in ICC World Cup 2019.
True to their potential of disturbing some noted sides- something they did even back in 2015 World Cup where they thrashed Pakistan first up- they’d seem like a dead-end to some.
But for that, one reckons, they have to curb their natural instincts a little as we have seen them over the years capitulating all of a sudden after a great start.
So what are the key ingredients missing from the West Indies order: a few hygiene factors that as a side they absolutely lack, even to this day?
Rotation of strikes, seeing off the good bowlers, and then going for the kill- right?
This will certainly help them to do well.
The kind of hitting abilities its players possess- particularly the likes Hetmyer and the returning Darren Bravo (who perhaps plays one of the finest shots down the ground), now in his second wind- can make up for some barren period during the course of an inning.
Hetmyer shall undergo a litmus test in the form of the ICC World Cup 2019. He’s no ordinary batsman and with 4 ODI hundreds already and a terrific strike-rate of 110, his skills need no introduction. However, the point is, can he keep his cool and rotate the strike when those explosive shots, he’s so accustomed to tailor don’t come?
Runs are made in the middle, not in the change room and to remain in the middle you got to show some patient and resilience.
West Indians may want to note something from one of their finest contemporaries in the ODI arena; see Virat Kohli despite being blessed with tremendous stroke play goes about his game in a cool and thoughtful manner. Implicit in his style is running hard between the wickets. Very rarely does he try to create something out of nothing and looks organized as a batsman.
Can the West Indians follow suit?
Probably, you’d wonder, someone like a Hope could be expected to play the sheet-anchor role.
That told, how does the bowling department look?
Coming back to bowling- Roach, and Gabriel- are looking sharp. Roach, 114 scalps from 80 bowling outings and having a decade worth of ODI experience would be tipped as the strike bowler.
You’d expect him to be at his miserly best with Gabriel lending him the support we’ve seen so brilliantly in Tests, even as this is some completely different ball-game.
Moreover, there’s Oshane Thomas and Alzarri Joseph, who, if selected in any playing-XI can exert pressure and lend a lot of firepowers, their imposing frames notwithstanding.
But they have to be right on the money to provide early breakthroughs for the team.
Windies badly need a quality spinner as Bishoo has been off-color in recent times and Ashley Nurse, despite some handy recent performances, seems to lack the skill to dismiss quality players.
So let’s see what would the fabric of the team for the coveted trophy.
I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best
How about you?