West Indies

Even hours after the conclusion of the contest, one must be rubbing his eyes after what happened in Harare on June 27. Maybe utterly underrated to say, what a game it was.

This game was nothing but a slap on the critics that felt that all the attention in this contemporary age warped by an incessantness of T20 had little space of proper one day cricket.

As a cricket fan, you live for these kinds of games.

But the West Indies may have almost died experiencing the madness and ultimately, the helplessness of it all.

Undoubtedly, it must be the same for a fan who has been watching this sport from the time when the West Indies were the stalwarts of the game, and no team could dare to face their fierce fast bowlers and destructive batting.

And now, things aren’t going West Indies’ way, or one can say the Caribbeans are not doing things right. After scoring a mammoth total of 375, with some destructive batting displays from Brandon King, Johnson Charles, and Nicholas Pooran, Netherlands were nowhere near victory, at least after the first innings.

But the Dutch snatched the victory with Logan Van Beek shining with both bat and ball in the Super Over.

In the qualifiers, where we have teams like Netherlands, Oman, USA, and Ireland, who are known as associate teams, a team like West Indies losing two games shows nothing but their inconsistency, inability and inaccuracy in finding the right combinations.

Not that players from this team are not capable of winning matches, but it feels like they lack experience even after playing so many years of competitive cricket.

What is really wrong with Caribbean cricket?

From winning two World Cups, we are on a road where we could see a World Cup without the West Indies team. Not to forget the two T20 World Cup triumphs of the Caribbeans and then not a spot for them in the T20 World Cup 2022.

Somewhere in the past, the stalwarts have lost their essence, and one can blame their board for keeping players like Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and others away from the game.

But it’s been years now, and they haven’t been able to build a team. What could be the reason?

Is it the intent that these guys are lacking? Well, Jason Holder wouldn’t have pulled off that stunning catch on the final ball that ultimately led to the Super Over if it was about intent. But he wouldn’t have gone for a boundary on each ball of the Super Over either.

Or is it the pressure of living up to the legacy of the greats, Vivian Richards, Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and also the players from the destructive era of the Windies cricket such as Kieron Pollard, Daren Sammy and Chris Gayle? Well, this eleven doesn’t look like a World Cup team barring Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran, who are having an amazing time in the middle.

Also, Alzarri Joseph appears to be the only fast bowler a batter could get chills from, whereas previously, there was a slew of seamers who only needed to mark the run-up in order to shake the batter’s legs. With Keemo Paul Romario Shepherd or even Jason Holder, it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Cricket West Indies should draw inspiration from a team like Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, who were nowhere near the Caribbeans some time ago and are dominating the Caribbeans now. Even in the T20 World Cup last year, West Indies couldn’t able to make it to the league stage and were out of the competition in the qualifiers. And nothing seems to be different in these qualifiers as well.

Although, We have had some great displays of batting from Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran, who are the top scorers and only ton-makers of the Windies team. They still have a chance to qualify, but a slim one, as now they depend on how the other teams play.

It feels great to see the way associate teams approach the game and want to win every game. Every day a new player is coming and performing for these teams, whether it’s Sikandar Raza from Zimbabwe or Logan Van Beek from the Netherlands. And this is where the West Indies are behind.

And if you go back to the last World Cup, Carlos Brathwaite’s ton against New Zealand would define the word “intent” for you. Although the Windies ended up on a losing side but the margin was just five runs.

One can’t really see a great team like West Indies (not the team but the legacy) drowning, which had the best intent and standard of playing competitive cricket.

Well, there must be someone in the dressing room to remind these players what it means to represent their country and how a player should give his all to not only win the game but also create a sense of dominance, which is what they were known for.

But the point is, what are they even doing in this competition if they are to be reminded of what it takes to win a game? With teams like Scotland, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands playing so well and perhaps out of their skin, it comes back on the Windies if they deserve to be playing even the qualifiers or not. 

They wish to qualify for the India-bound ODI World Cup is known. Everyone is aware of that. But just how badly do they seek it?


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