Why West Indies should be a force to reckon with in Test Cricket

West Indies team posing with the famous Wisden trophy. Source: Windies Cricket

England arrived n the Caribbean in January 2019 on a high and full of confidence as they whitewashed Sri Lanka late 2018 in their own backyard 3-0. West Indies were not given a chance by a couple of former English cricketers before the Test series started, mainly due to the fact that the Windies were humiliated in their last two overseas tours to India and Bangladesh between October to December 2018, as the regional side suffered their first ever innings defeat to Bangladesh in the second Test of that series. It was a tour to forget for the West Indians, but one has to say that the current series being played in the Caribbean just proves that the talent is still existent in this part of the World.

     In the first Test at the famous Kensington Oval in Bridegtown, Barbados the Englishmen were bundled out for a paltry 77 by some good, hostile West Indian bowling. Chin music by the likes of Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph and the highly skilled swing bowling from Kemar Roach, who is in his 10th year of playing international cricket, along with the accuracy of Jason Holder. They then followed this superb bowling performance with a masterful maiden double century by the captain Jason Holder who looked the part with some glorious strokes through the covers and predominantly straight down the ground. Such clever batting was a sure sight for sore eyes in an era where West Indies have managed to struggle against top opposition in the last two decades or so. This superb batting display along with an unbeaten century from his fellow Barbadian Shane Dorwich, set England an impossible 628 to win, and they were bowled out for 246 by Roston Chase’s clever off-spin bowling where he grabbed career best figures of 8 for 60. A stunning 381 run win over the number 3 ranked England team in the 1st Test, was followed up by even more brilliance in the 2nd Test at the Sir Viv Richards Ground in Antigua.

“The pace, hostility and accuracy from the fast bowlers have been evident in the last two years or so and one would ponder that these men can only get better”

     On a pitch deemed difficult for batting, England were rampaged once again by excellent West Indies bowling from the 4 quick bowlers for 187. Then a patient half-century from Darren Bravo gave the Windies a lead of over 100 runs to ensure the match was theirs for the taking. England in reply were bowled out for 132 and a 10-wicket win for the men from the Caribbean ensured the famous Wisden trophy was regained for the first time in a decade. This West Indies side is slowly but surely improving in the purest form of the game………Test Cricket. The pace, hostility and accuracy from the fast bowlers have been evident in the last two years or so and one would ponder that these men can only get better, especially young Alzarri Joseph who is a promising fast bowler from Antigua. Patience is a virtue and these West Indian cricketers have given hope to all their true supporters worldwide. One thing they would have to improve on is the batting on a more consistent basis.

     The nucleus of the batting revolves around Kraigg Braithwaite, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope and Shemron Hetmyer. All young and talented batsmen definitely need to work on their consistency. Just look at Shai Hope who averages 28 with the bat after 29 Test matches. This average does not do justice for a talented cricketer such as himself. Darren Bravo the most experienced Test batsman in the team can provide inspiration and lead the way with his wonderful batting. After all, he is related to one of the best batsmen the World has ever seen (Brian Charles Lara). The regaining of the Wisden trophy should only be a start of good things to come for the regional side. After all, good things come to those who wait and die-hard fans have waited too long for a dominant series performance from these men. The last time the West Indies entered the final Test of a series already won was back in 1994, when England played them in Antigua and were mere spectators of seeing Brian Lara smashing a world record 375 at the time. Supporters have been patient rallying around the team and everyone knows there is no team in World cricket that celebrates a victory like the West Indies. With India due to tour these great islands after the World Cup in July and August, let’s hope the high standards are maintained. Till then we’ll all celebrate this great Test series victory against England.

 


18 thoughts on “Why West Indies should be a force to reckon with in Test Cricket”

  1. Some trees bear fruits on seasons some don’t. West Indies Cricket team only have a few winning seasons. This is just one of the Englishman’s unlucky season. I admire your confidence and faith in supporting the West Indies Cricket team but your hope of West Indies getting better is baseless.

    Sometimes we look at history to forecast the likely future. This is just one of the couple of lucky games West Indies have in their pocket in achieving the Wisden trophy

    Your political promises that their are promising players in the West Indies team will always be promises but have the best players in the West Indies team been the reason for winning series consistently or just warm up matches just as this one West Indies had to face before England experience the fight with the Australian giant in the Ashes.

    And please don’t focus on consistency as it relates to batting, fielding or bowling but rather on winning series consistently or gaining competitive points in international tournaments.

    Save the essay writing and cut and erase the story and dig deeper into the reality of West Indies Cricket. Wake up and smell the Englishman’s tea it was just a warm up match against WI where Australia will burn their tea into ashes this coming July-August, 2019.

    1. Thanks for your honest opinion Martin. West Indies have been inconsistent no doubt especially with their batting performances but one has to keep optimistic that the relationship between the players & administration is improving somewhat unlike in the last 20 years or so. Maybe that improved relationship transferred onto the field of play in the recent test series as the players looked more relaxed. But West Indies must continue to build on this platform series victory. For now, the die-hard supporters will bask in this thoroughly deserved glory of a test series victory over a main power-house team such as England who were ranked 3rd before the series began in Barbados. Now they are ranked 5th. Keep on reading and thanks again for your thoughts on the gentleman’s game.

  2. When it comes down to it, both Martin and Aakash have smashing and interesting points. On the one hand, you can see that the West Indies is not to be trifled with. On the other, it could be a lucky one-off. The problem here now is all about momentum and motivation.

    In the Olden days, the players were motivated by being the best. An all black team beating England at their own game; taking on all comers and sending them back with bruises.

    Fast forward to the 2000’s where money was the motivation (not saying that the players didn’t want to play if they weren’t being paid), but the WICB made changes that dampen the way we played the game.

    Post 2010 and we are now at the bottom end of the teams, where only the T20’s (something that was introduced by a Texan who didn’t even know that cricket was a game and not only the insect) really showed promise in the teams.

    The problem with West Indian cricket is that we always lay off after some time. West Indies could have gone for the White-Wash in this series if they had kept their momentum, but thought “We already have the Trophy, so there is no need to fight THIS hard…”. This is the kind of mentality that slows down the pacing of West Indian cricket. It’s really about who wants it more; which team wants the win, the series, the bragging rights, to be at the top. The Boys need to regain the drive that made our cricket top class.

    However, that drive needs to come from many sources and not just players or coaches. The WICB need to give the encouragement to the young players and stop playing favorites and politics with the game. If they do not manage this properly, we would only have “lucky breaks” to win a few games and eventually we may even be the laughing stocks of the cricketing fraternity.

    1. Thanks for your comment Julio. Yes it all boils down to which team wants victory more. Hopefully this young West Indian team can create a legacy for themselves unlike previous WI teams in the last 15 years or so. Mentality is the key because the talent is always there.

  3. I admit it does seem like the future is brighter than the recent past for windies cricket.. However I heard the phrase “turned the corner” so many times now it sounds like “crying wolf”. When shall see.

    1. Yes Quincy, the phrase “turned the corner” is rather annoying from the general public. For West Indies to be a champion team, they need to build on this recent test series victory over the Englishmen. Big year in cricket with World Cup in May & then the mighty Indian team tours West Indies in July. It will take a hell of an effort for West Indies to defeat them but definitely not impossible. We shall see indeed! Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Too many on and off the field problems for West indies cricket to be a force to be reckoned with in test cricket.
    Test Cricket it self is having it’s issues to be a force to be reckoned with in such a fast pace modern Era. …but will leave that for another article

    On the field I don’t think in my opinion that west indies have a strong squad. They don’t have a pool of players to choose from that are up to international standards (or can perform at a high level over a period of time). Its been almost 2 decade west indies have been on the decline with the occasional surprise.

    Secondly west indies players don’t have the discipline to produce results consistently. Many disciplinary issues over the years…half of which is published in the media and the other half…swept under the rug.

    My third point is west indies don’t usually feild a balance team…strong batting weak bowling…. poor feilding…or weak batting …average feilding. …good bowling. …..but you could count on them to fail in one of the above area consistently.

    Point number four is the players usually lack consistency and commitment…some players score a big hundred and follow up with poor scores after.
    Some players choose to make the big bucks in franchise cricket rather that represent their contry

    Offthe field
    Board issues
    Competition from the
    T20
    Loss of public interest
    Poor regional structure in place to produce test cricketers
    Financial issues
    Management issues
    Marketing issues
    Poor decision making when it comes to selecting players
    Underutilized infrastructure

    1. I agree somewhat with a few of your points. West Indies never field their strongest team due to their star players running off to the popular T20 leagues globally. Discipline is another downfall in West Indies cricket because everyone knows they lack it more often than not, but having said that, this test series victory shows the Windies are capable of producing enthralling cricket. Only time will tell Sterling. Thanks for your comments.

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