West Indies Cricket December 26, 2008

The rise of West Indies?

From Gopal Rangachary, India While the cricketing world spent the last week rejoicing at the end of Australia's era of domination, and celebrating the definitive Tendulkar innings, a quite extraordinary set of events were quietly unfolding

From Gopal Rangachary, India
While the cricketing world spent the last week rejoicing at the end of Australia's era of domination, and celebrating the definitive Tendulkar innings, a quite extraordinary set of events were quietly unfolding themselves in Napier, New Zealand. No - it wasnt that Chanderpaul got a first ball duck, or that Chris Gayle batted 5 sessions - but that the Test match, and hence the Test series ended in a draw.

Well - the basement battle between two uninspiring sides ended in a draw. Nothing to write home about you would think. But, especially if you were Tony Cozier or one of the long suffering West Indies cricket journalists, this was a red letter day. For the first time in 13 years, and after 17 series (since the English summer of 1995), West Indies were NOT beaten in an overseas Test series ( of course let's leave the pseudo Tests against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh out). To put this in perspective, for the entire duration of Saurav Ganguly's Test career, West Indies lost every overseas tour they went on.

Chanderpaul is the only West Indies player to have tasted anything but defeat in this period. A closer reading is even more depressing. In the 60 matches that were played across those 17 series, West Indies won just 4, drew 6 ( of which 4 were rain-affected) and lost the other 50 matches. What is most mind-numbing is to recall that West Indies were unbeaten in 27 test series in the preceding 15 years (1980-1995). They fell off a particularly steep cliff didn't they?

There have been a few false dawns in these dark days of West Indies cricket - particularly at home. They have won Test series against Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka , England and New Zealand, and shared one with Australia. Despite the Perth heroics of de Villiers & Co., they still hold the record for the highest 4th innings target chased. Lara has played several memorable innings, Chanderpaul many valiant ones, Courtney Walsh became the leading wicket taker in world cricket and even Chris Gayle has a Test triple hundred. However, with the West Indies, it has seemed every step forward was inevitably followed by three longer ones backward.

That said, there is some reason for cautious optimism in the Chris Gayle era - A first ever Test win in South Africa, a drawn Test series against a decent SL side, a Test series against Australia which was much more competitive than was anticipated, and now this drawn one in New Zealand . Of course the backdrop to this has been the Bradmanesque efforts of the under-appreciated Chanderpaul in this period, but there have been other signs of life - Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor are a handy bowling partnership, Dwayne Bravo is enthusiastic and talented, and the fielding and the general way that the West Indies seem to be going about their business has significantly improved.

There are many areas to fix though, scarcely a series goes by without wrangling between Digicel and Cable and Wireless (although the toxic West Indies Players Association and the obnoxious Dinanath Ramnarine seem to have evaporated), Allen Stanford has funded the game, but muddied the waters, and the regional infighting seems to grow in inverse proportion to the team's performance on the field. Darren Powell shouldn't see the inside of a Test ground again, and surely there must be someone other than Dinesh Ramdin and Carlton Baugh. Chris Gayle needs to find an opening batsman who will be a partner rather than a one-night stand. However this draw against a mediocre New Zealand side may just be the beginning of the era of the era of West Indies submission.

If only that maniac, John Bracewell had been around as NZ coach, the West Indies may even have won it.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on May 15, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    i would like to see west indies develop more cricket nations in to thier domestic comp.take soccer suriname has produced edgar davids and patrick klivert and guadalope has produced thiery henre,if the west indies could tap into the bahamas,cuba,haiti,belize,suriname,caymen islands,guadalope,suriname,saint marten and other islands that competed in the samford 20/20 comp,these countries would never be able to compete on thier own,but in a combined west indies comp they you never know you might find a new curtley ambrose or brian lara.you would need to develop a school program and build new stadiums and with in a coulpe of years you would seen the game grow in the carribean built your player base.i would also like to see a combined pacific islands team consisting of fiji,samoa,cook island,vanuatu,new calandonia and other islands this way your making a second kind island combined team which im sure will play the game with island flair

  • testli5504537 on January 23, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    Do any of you people follow west indies cricket. To say that Sarwan is a batsman is a person who dont see wasted talent and oportunities. Mike states Nash is too old, but we need him and Chanders to teach the great young talent we have coming. I(f you know west indies cricket try this team : C. Gayle , A. Barath , Cleary (U-19) Brathwaite(U-19), Perkins, 2 Bravos , Ramdin (for lack of a better choice) Edward, Taylor, Roach and about six to ten other youngsters that will put de Windies back on top in less than 3 yrs. Sounds Naive, just wait and see you got it here on Cricinfo first.

  • testli5504537 on December 23, 2009, 2:41 GMT

    i was suprised how well they did in the last 2 tests in australia. perhaps should've won at least one. Roach looks a good prospect should combine well with taylor and edwards when they're fit. Barath looks a talent as an opening bat, though obvisously they need to replace chanderpaul, nash (good series against aus - but would be fair to say a 'limited' batsmen) and maybe sarwan - looked ordinary in 2 tests he played here, in the near future. also not sure bravo is good enough at number 6 bat, scored a hundred against aus in adelaide but only 74 runs in 5 other innings. Hear Kevin Pollard goes alright in 20/20 cricket for trinidad not sure if he could come into the test team.

  • testli5504537 on July 15, 2009, 21:59 GMT

    Drawing a test series nagainst a side whose combined test experience is probably less than that of one player e.g. Gayle on the West Indies side. Frankly West Indies had too many players... Gayle, Chanders, Sarwan, even Edwards .... who are more experienced than the oppsoition. West Indies should have won and easily too !!!! I cannot see West Indies rising any time in the near future. Some of the selections baffle me...e.g. Dale Richards (age 32) even Nash ( age 31 ) ...I mean how many years can you get oyut of these men ? three maybe four and then you're looking for players to fill the breach. The relegation of Rampaul to the status of an occasional fast bowler for ODIs. The constant use of D.Powell who at age 29 is always referred to as a developing fast bowler by a certain revered regional commentator. I am sorry but at that age you should be DEVELOPED !!!! Finally there is the need for a GOOD spinner. Not Benn, who is only useful when there is some bounce on the wicket !!

  • testli5504537 on March 1, 2009, 5:20 GMT

    West Indies have dominated world cricket for decades even in an era when decisions on the field or the selection process were not made entirely on merits. Such days will return, it’s a matter of separating the wheat from the chaff.

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2009, 4:20 GMT

    i do see sign of improvement and I think that we should pull some talent from the under 19 West Indies youth team.

  • testli5504537 on January 1, 2009, 19:58 GMT

    It should also be noted that the west indies players needs to change their attitude. For some reason some of their players seem to possess a too much arrogance.Those who saw the Powell/McCallum incident would know what I am talking about.With a bowling average of 46 and a mere 79 wickets, Powell seems to think that no one should hit him for a boundary. Strangely enough Powell does not seem to think that it is probably due to his bad bowling but instead decides to argue with the batman or even pelt the ball at the batman. When a bowler is struggling, he ought to concentrate on his bowling, not chide the batman. I believe intimidating the batman only works when the batman is struggling. Not vice versa. and off course their is a limit. Fidel Edwards and Tino Best to a lesser extent has displayed this sort of behavior. What is worst is that these bowlers contribute nothing when batting. There are only 4 batmen in the WI Team(Gayle, Chanders, Sarwan and Bravo)If these batmen fail all is los

  • testli5504537 on January 1, 2009, 3:41 GMT

    I think what the West Indies need to do is stop being stuck in the past. Their current crop of fast bowlers are good but not in the league of Walsh, Ambrose or Holding...there's no point trying to emulate those guys - the current crop aren't tall enough for a start. What's more, West Indies pitches aren't really conducive to fast bowling anymore (not that any wicket except Barbados ever was, but they've gotten slower for sure). They're going to have to adapt to the modern ways - trying to pitch the ball up, swing it and get wickets. They also need decent spinners...any team with not-so-great quicks needs a more balanced attack, with good spinners. As far the batting is concerned, Chanderpaul, Gayle and Sarwan form a good lineup, but they need real good backup from the others - in other words people who're willing to get stuck in and play the long innings. There's no good trying to emulate Viv Richards...only Viv could play like that. Self-realization is the key for WI cricket right now

  • testli5504537 on December 31, 2008, 17:05 GMT

    If the West Indies were to rise to the top it will take a miracle. As a West Indian, it is very difficult to see our team on top given the type of cricket that is being played. The probelem with the West Indies is that they are stuck in the 1980's. The West Indies were a great team back then but even that team would not survive in this era. The so called "Calypso cricket" worked because of the quality of bowling back then. West Indies batsmen always tried to dominate by batting aggresively. That attitude has not changed but they now face more discipline bowling attacks.

  • testli5504537 on December 28, 2008, 9:05 GMT

    While I would love to see a resurgent Windies, I wouldn't read too much into their ongoing series against what has got to be the weakest New Zealand side in many years. Remember that it was not too long ago that Pakistan beat the Windies very convincingly in an ODI series.

    I do think there has been some improvement in the Windies side over the past 2-3 years, at least when compared to some of the teams they put out in the early 2000s which frankly could be quite terrible. But the fact remains that Windies remains stuck in the 7th-8th position in the Test rankings and it's hard to see them challenging Pakistan or England, let alone some of the stronger sides out there.

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