West Indies
source: AFP

The West Indies are no longer world beaters. That’s no secret and there’s no suddenness to this. That said, is there a sense of urgency from their end to change their status quo in cricket?

Whether as die-hard fans of the Caribbean cricket or simply, critics who wished the West Indies played better, maybe it’s time to ask the question few are asking and not with much intensity either:

Doesn’t it seem that their transition period never ends, and that the only consistent thing about them is their inconsistency?

In spite of all of these underlying problems, this team is still loved by people all over the world and gladly so.

In the ongoing 2022 T20 World Cup, when they defeated Zimbabwe in a do or die encounter, it brought joy to legions of fans and so many people in the Caribbean.

Hardly a doubt about it.

Although they won handsomely, they looked at sea during the early part of the match and were headed for another humiliation until Rovman Powell‘s lusty blows in the closing stages of their innings saved them.

But the real hero was young fast bowler Alzarri Joseph whom Windies have always pinned hopes from Under 19 days came to the party by thwarting back the Zimbabweans who started their chase aggressively and looked all set to overhaul the stiff target in a canter. Windies are experiencing a torrid time in T20s for quite some time, but this win should boost their confidence.

While in today’s era teams want to chase, taking strike first would help the batsmen who are short of runs, which was the right decision made by the leader Nicholas Pooran, who’s otherwise been so wrong with the bat.

But their impetuousness for hitting big shots right from the go created panic in the dressing room as Windies lost half of their side for 97 runs on the board. Nothing to take away from Zimbabwe’s bowlers but Caribbean batsmen looked in hurry and played some poor strokes which brought their downfall.

Among the things that doesn’t quite seem right from the contests that’ve happened so far is Evin Lewis.

For someone who would latch on to shorter deliveries without much ado, Lewis has been darting the ball to where the fielders are in the outfield.

Having not hit a couple of sixes in any innings, which is after all, such an Evin Lewis trait, it seems as though something is amiss.

Luckily, for the 19th October contest, skipper Pooran and all-rounder Json Holder chipped back to the bowler as they were giving catching practice.

These two guys had to stand up and be counted because these two are proper batsmen who have the technique to grind accumulate and at the same to cut loose when it’s needed.

For Zimbabwe, Sikandar Raza, the talented all-rounder was the pick of the bowler as he took 3 wickets for just 19 runs. With Akeal Hosein and Rovman Powell almost batting out all the overs, it was a test for them both to improve their game against spinners. They both forged a very vital partnership of 47 which enabled the Jamaican to strike two sixes in the last over to propel his team to 153 runs.

Such kind of consolidation is needed from these batsmen who aren’t short of talent but they should be sensible in understanding the match situation. Windies should settle for 60/2 in 10 overs rather than 100/5 as keeping wickets in hand will always help them to post a huge total. Now that they have kept their hopes alive in the tournament fans must be hoping for more such performances from them.

West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran is one of talented T20 players around but he hasn’t done anything to talk about- or has he? Not that the things were any different for the batsman who failed horribly against New Zealand and Australia earlier.

Even in the 2022 IPL, he was found to be below par and if Windies have to go further in this tournament then he lead by example, little cameo won’t do any good for the team. Players at the top of the order should be little patient as stand and deliver stuff might bring them some quick runs but it could spell dooms for them as well.

Though all of that said, here’s what was perhaps the biggest gaffe in yesterday’s contest and does seem like a food for thought for the team in what lies ahead:

Is Kyle Mayers, still growing in stature in international cricket, a fearsome and by that count, the most pivotal opening ball bowler for the West Indies?

Alzarri Joseph should have given the ball at first. but some strange tactics from Pooran helped Zimbabweans’ to start off their chase briskly but the young fast bowler showed his class to pick two quick wickets and pegged back the opponents of fast furious bowling.

He was rightly adjudged the man of the match for his fine spell. As tougher opponents won’t give them an inch to claw back to the game, the Windies can’t take things for granted. They should keep improving their game.

As tougher opponents won’t give them an inch to claw back to the game, the West Indies can’t take things for granted. They should keep improving their game, for which there’s little or no time left considering yet another do or die is tomorrow- versus Ireland.


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