Roston Chase
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As I write this article, I certainly run the risk of offending tens of thousands of West Indies fans who may perhaps be thinking that am trying to act sarcastic by praising Roston Chase whilst their team lost. And did so rather shabbily. It got thrashed at home. Although, I may have over-calculated the number of spectators for perhaps there could have been no more than 10 odd people watching the action- or the lack of it should I say- on Day 3 where the West Indian humiliation was rendered complete.

With 2 full days remaining in the game, how are the hosts going to spend their time? Order room service in the hotel or jump into the pool to hide their tears, if any?

Imagination is free of cost.

But let’s take into stock why this St. Lucia loss is a humiliating one. For starters, West Indies are ranked above South Africa (7th) in the ICC Test rankings. They entered the series at the back of an exhilarating series win over Bangladesh, having won not at home, but in testing sub-continental conditions.

Moreover, of those who played in the South African side, not a single Protea had ever played in the Caribbean before.

Finally and the biggest reason of them all- it was an innings defeat suffered by the West Indies, who with every game they lose present a case more evident than before that theirs is a template that’s pursuing entertainment not ‘tough man cricket,’ if that makes any sense.

Picture for a second the three consecutive boundaries by Kyle Mayers, who perhaps still not satisfied by milking Nortje for 12 went for a stroke he could simply have avoided. The end result? He offered a regulation catch in the slips.

But the hopeless cricket tragic and the endlessly optimistic one is such that he’d still try to figure out some positive from a one-sided contest that seemingly offered none.

And that positive, at least to my untrained cricket eye, is Roston Chase.

Wanna know why?

The last that Roston Chase played any form of competitive Test cricket was almost a year back.

But in a rather ordinary outing in Her Majesty’s country, his last four innings produced no more than 73 runs.

He’d succeeded in scoring a solitary fifty of these last four attempts, but on a low point, lasted for no more than 156 deliveries cumulatively speaking.

For a batsman who had hit a fighting Test century in 2016, Jamaica to hold his team to a respectable draw, before firing two amazing centuries against Pakistan in the 2017-18 home season, this wasn’t quality performance (it lacked fight).

Nor was the fact that Roston Chase soon found himself dropped after the 2020 English tour, having been pushed aside for the Bangladesh series.

And then, immediately after being drafted back into the team for the game the side would much rather forget- but learn from- Chase departed after making just 8.

Though, he showed signs of hanging in there. The 54-deliveries he faced were the most by any West Indian in a teary-inducing scorecard that read 97 all out.

Next up?

Facing the very existential threat of an inning defeat, Roston Chase ended up compiling 62 runs in the end.

So how were they important.

A simple fact. Imagine if he’d been out for a duck, then the West Indies total would have ended simply at 100.

It would then have only been a fool’s errand to call scoring 3 more runs than the first inning knockout – improvement.

But instead, Roston Chase appeared the only batsman who seemed ever in any sort of control.

He left the deliveries well outside off and didn’t offer needless shots when the likes of Blackwood- vice captain- was constantly seen attempting a swing and a miss.

Though, unfortunately succeeding in offering an airy shot to mid-off, the fielder stationed in specifically for the lofted drive by newly-appointed captain Dean Elgar.

But nothing of those unacceptable risks were found at Chase’ end, who was content at playing a bit of Chanderpaul.

And while his knock didn’t amount to a dazzling century or a very glitzy fifty, you understand the importance of those 62 runs collected carefully, when you see the next best score by a batsman in the West Indies line up.

Powell made 14 and that was that.

A shocker for the intrepid Windies fan who could still wake up tomorrow morning thinking the team will bounce back strongly- and why should anyone stop him- is that Hope, Powell, Blackwood, Brathwaite, Holder collectively accounted for 50 runs.

Roston Chase, and am reiterating, made 62 on his own.

Another reason to give Roston Chase a pat on the back is that he hung in there for 156 deliveries, indicating true patience if not a ‘man-of-steel’ like grind. With his straight drives, the glances, the on-drives, he seemed ready for a big one before he committed harakiri by playing a Maharaj one that turned into him.

Though, what did his teammates manage?

They collectively lasted for 230 deliveries. Remember, that’s nine batsmen together.

So while the sun wasn’t actually shining for the hosts, Chase with his effort, at least, ensured there was something, just a tiny little fraction of hope for the West Indies.


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