The West Indies, sitting firmly in the driver’s seat in the T20I series currently being held at St. Lucia, are about as close to beating Australia (5-match series) as is Vernon Springer in completing yet another thoroughly examined and carefully conceived thought piece on the game in the Caribbean.
Over the years, his analysis and vision for the West Indies has found him commentate, offer analysis on radio, and podcast the close nuances of the West Indies cricket in both- whether the team snatches loss from the jaws of victory or registers a commanding, muscular win in quintessential Calypso flavour.
There have been numerous shows where he’s been invited to speak over the state of affairs of a team that, since the onset of 2016, has been in a massive rebuilding phase, a time that’s birthed promising talents on highest cricketing pedestal- think Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, and Nicholas Pooran.
At the same time, he’s invited countless guests within and around the Caribbean to shed light on a team that usually happens to be everyone’s second favourite, outside of support of one’s own nation.
Though, one’s not sure if an Aaron Finch-led Australia would want to call the West Indies that.
An analyst like few others, one who won’t refrain from calling a spade a spade and direct plaudits where it’s due, Vernon Springer wears multiple hats, is a seasoned expert who hates wearing the arrogant hat of a man who’s ‘dunnit all and knows all,’ and has has a few things to say in the light of the recent West Indies showing.
This comes at a time where West Indies have shown clinical performances of the highest class and standard, something we don’t tend to associate very often with a side that has made a compulsive habit of beginning on a high only going on to lose the rhythm.
Think the famous First Test win over England in 2020 where Blackwood and Holder came to the fore and the events that followed.
Don’t forget the recently-concluded T20 series, where the West Indies, who at one stage were 1-nil up on the Proteas, only went on to lose the series to the visitors.
Truth be told, one cannot possibly recount when was the last time where West Indies completed successive T20I wins over an opponent that’s second to none in all departments of the gam.
While it may be a side that, at present, lacks the services of three of the fervent smashers of the white-ball in Smith, Warner, and Maxwell, one cannot discount West Indies prowess in having held the upperhand over bowlers of the repute of a Starc, Hazlewood and Zampa.
What we’ve seen so far have been four fascinating highlights from a team that’s playing largely like a collective, one that augurs well- from a team spirit point of view- ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Hetmyer’s return to form, the left-hander scoring his 2nd T20I fifty after going minus the milestone in eleven consecutive games and five series.
Bravo’s excellent return to batting form and consistent bowling efforts, the former exemplified by his 47 off just 34 in the recent T20 international.
Obed McCoy’s career-best T20 figures of 4 for 26 in the opening game, a bowler who’s growing in confidence and stature with every passing game.
And finally, young Nicholas Pooran commanding the leadership affairs at a young age, a learning process that shall hopefully hold him in good stead in the years to follow.
All the above have impressed Vernon Springer, who recently celebrated his birthday on July 4. That being said, the St. Kitts and Nevis-born also threw caution to the winds, in explaining what the team must focus on ahead of a contest that could be both- a series deciding as well as momentum-changing event for the men in maroon.
In an exclusive interaction with Caught At Point, here’s what Mr. Springer highlighted:
“In terms of the West Indies on their T20 performance, despite having lost to the Proteas, they’re following a clinical approach now. We could see that a number of areas in improvement have come to light. Given the coaching staff with Phil Simmons’ insights and Pollard’s experience, the West Indies would be looking forward to building a peak-performance team.”
Though, just how does one make a team like that, I asked, to which Mr. Vernon Springer replied with usual calmness in his analysis, “For that to happen, one would have to evaluate the 4 Cs that are required. Now these are- Composure, Confidence, Commitment and Concentration. So far, we’ve seen commitment and confidence from players as even in the absence of captain Pollard, the emergence of a new leader has fetched fine results.
The concentration level, however, in terms of the opening pair is still an area of concern from where I see,” Mr. Springer noted before finally concluding that the composure of the bowling unit is something one has to admire.
“The likes of Hayden Walsh Jr. and Obed McCoy have been standouts. The West Indies, heading into game three, must continue to pile on the pressure as when you are building a team on its peak strength, you have to focus on discipline.” he’d state.
At the end of the day, if the West Indies do happen to win the series against Australia, they will succeed in sending a huge message to Pakistan (who, one should remember roasted a star-less WI three years ago), just ahead of the world cup.
May form and fire be on the side of the West Indies, without the team losing out on the 4Cs as he suggested.