West Indies March 3, 2010

West Indies' house of quicksand

Just how bad was the Twenty20 between Zimbabwe and West Indies
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Sure, Adrian Barath got a century on debut against Australia but Zimbabwea's mighty army of ravenous spinners made short work of him © The Nation
 

Just how bad was the Twenty20 game between West Indies and Zimbabwe? There is as yet no internationally agreed scale by which we can measure cricket awfulness, so instead we must rely on the judgement of the experts. Alec Stewart played for England in the 1990s and so clearly knows a thing or two about staggering ineptitude. He declared Sunday’s game the worst international cricket he has ever seen. I think that says it all.

Both sides were equally dreadful, but in slightly different ways. Zimbabwe spent their first dozen overs swinging and missing, like blindfolded lumberjacks trying to locate something woody. They worked their way through The Book of Thwackery, exhibiting every variation of scything, lunging and groping that you could wish to see on a cricket field. Mr Stewart said it belonged on the village green. It wasn’t that good.

At 40 for 4 after 12 overs, it was all over and the Zimbabwean in the box, Neil Johnson, was expressing disappointment that at this rate, we would not get to see Keiron Pollard bat. But his companion, the legendary Tony Cozier, had been here before, on two or three dozen occasions.

“This is West Indies we’re talking about,” he said, “Let’s not get too far ahead.”

The man is a prophet.

Zimbabwe were noisy, keen and had the word “faith” sewn onto their tomato red jerseys. More importantly, they had spinners, dozens of them.

The spin bowler is the natural predator of the modern West Indian batsman. Apparently, even modest trundlers wreak havoc in Caribbean regional cricket. If Gareth Batty had been born in Port-of-Spain, he’d be on his 100th international cap by now. I understand that Kieron Pollard’s agent has insisted on a clause in his Mumbai Indians contract, exempting him from having to face anyone bowling slower than 70mph.

They tried charging down the pitch. They tried hitting them in the air. They tried missing the ball completely in the hope that it might catch Tatenda Taibu by surprise and sneak past for four byes. They didn’t so much collapse like a house of cards as sink slowly into oblivion like a house constructed on quicksand. At the end of game, the echo of booing drifted across the home ground of the second best Twenty20 team in the world. First Bangladesh, now Zimbabwe. Is there anyone left to lose to?

Bob Willis would have loved the carnival of comedy in Trinidad. Instead, he was stuck in Bangladesh, watching comparatively good cricket. But being a professional, he can adapt his curmudgeonly style to any conditions. I turned on late for Tuesday’s game but within 60 seconds he had already worked in two complaints. First, he bemoaned the effect of the new fielding restrictions on one-day bowlers’ economy rates. Then Stuart Broad had the misfortune to drop a sitter. "Playground stuff,” sighed Bob, keeping his own personal moan rate at a healthy two per over.

This game also produced the best banner of the year so far: “Tigers are hungry. Cook, go to kitchen.” Genius.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • al casey on June 29, 2010, 22:23 GMT

    a bunch of guys in an inning failing cannot add up to a win. you cann't tell batsmen or bowlers that they need to do better, you need to ask for specifics from each player and then ask the team for more. If individuals keep failing then adjustments need to be made. If you cann't get your job done, then get people who can do better.

  • SAMUEL BOODHAN on June 9, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    WEST INDIES CRICKET TEAM------------when they 're good, they're very ,very good,and when they're bad they're horrid..........

  • rohit Zachariah on May 29, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    Im a huge fan of Windies cricket but unfortunately, the team has their way of always disappointing fans. They are by far the team with the WORST ethic. When they play, its like they got no interest in what they're doing. In my opinion,each one should racked on their heads, so they can realise they are representing the Caribbean and their legends.

  • Disillusioned on May 26, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    I'm not surprised with the performances in this match (especially from the West Indian Team); they must without doubt be the most unintelligent (i.e. duncest) cricket team in history. Their ineptitude has now become so accepted that they no longer disappoint. Despite this I am and probably will remain (call me a glutton for punishment) an avid West Indian supporter but the past decade has been the worst. This so-called cricket team (the term being used advisedly) has learnt nothing and are an embarrassment to cricket loving Caribbean peoples who grew up with the likes of Worrell, Sobers, Kanhai, Richards et al. How Keiran Pollard can command the amount of money he earns from the IPL is a mystery - during the Twenty 20 World Cup match against the Sri Lankans he was exceptionally painful to watch batting against Mendis and Murali. I would bet that Otis Gibson is wondering why he left the cosy job he had with the English cricket team. I really don't see an end to this any time soon!

  • metman on April 29, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    Hey.what is Ramdin doing in a West Indies team.What has he done on the last five west indies encounters?Fletcher is not a credible wicketkeeper.Why was the most promising opening batsman and wicketkeeper in the West Indies sent to college instead of on the A team tour to Bangadesh.You dont learn and improve your cricket in a classroom.Those selectors should be sent to a cricket jail whenever the West Indies are playing.They are the worst lot ,especially the one from Jamaica

  • Sankar on April 23, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    Come on, T20 is anyone's game. Don't be too harsh on WI. They might pleasantly surprise us yet! One erratic over from a bowler or lucky swiping does it. Can anyone safely predict 2010 T20 winner?

  • john green on March 13, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    Ten overs into the match i sent a text to Ottis Gibson ....Well done , nice win !!!.....

    Now i feel bad , should have taken on board Tony Coziers comment .

  • Dennis on March 12, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    To Doug Newsam Benn 4-2-6-4 -- 1.50 Zim 11 for 4 Cremer 4-0-11-3 -- 2.75 Man of the Match

    Why was Benn given special mention? He should have been Man of the Match. His impact on the match was greater than Cremer's. If the Bowlers after Benn did nothing that's not his fault! Or are you being blinded by the taunting which he got in Australia? Wasn't Johnson doing the same thing to another cricketer in NZ? Take your head out of the clouds and give a man his due!

  • trinikiwi on March 11, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    Calculate the time lapse between when the West Indies left Australia, arrived in the Caribbean, and the start of the T20. This match should not have been played so soon after they returned to the Caribbean after an Aussie tour. The several long haul flights and the jet lag due to the absurd time difference takes a toll, even on the fittest person. I make frequent trips from down under to the Caribbean and one arrives shattered, needing a few days to get oriented in time and space. Professional athletes always give themselves enough time to acclimatise. We have a right to be critical. But we should make sure we see the whole picture. This was not the worse cricket game ever, it was the worse cricket scheduling ever.

  • Dollaville on March 10, 2010, 0:32 GMT

    This is all rubbish,... who cares what Alec Stewart thought of the game?... he was nothing special bk in the day anyways,... both teams bowled well in the match,... and Zim fought hard to post that total in tough conditions. Most teams would have given up hope but not Zim

  • al casey on June 29, 2010, 22:23 GMT

    a bunch of guys in an inning failing cannot add up to a win. you cann't tell batsmen or bowlers that they need to do better, you need to ask for specifics from each player and then ask the team for more. If individuals keep failing then adjustments need to be made. If you cann't get your job done, then get people who can do better.

  • SAMUEL BOODHAN on June 9, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    WEST INDIES CRICKET TEAM------------when they 're good, they're very ,very good,and when they're bad they're horrid..........

  • rohit Zachariah on May 29, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    Im a huge fan of Windies cricket but unfortunately, the team has their way of always disappointing fans. They are by far the team with the WORST ethic. When they play, its like they got no interest in what they're doing. In my opinion,each one should racked on their heads, so they can realise they are representing the Caribbean and their legends.

  • Disillusioned on May 26, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    I'm not surprised with the performances in this match (especially from the West Indian Team); they must without doubt be the most unintelligent (i.e. duncest) cricket team in history. Their ineptitude has now become so accepted that they no longer disappoint. Despite this I am and probably will remain (call me a glutton for punishment) an avid West Indian supporter but the past decade has been the worst. This so-called cricket team (the term being used advisedly) has learnt nothing and are an embarrassment to cricket loving Caribbean peoples who grew up with the likes of Worrell, Sobers, Kanhai, Richards et al. How Keiran Pollard can command the amount of money he earns from the IPL is a mystery - during the Twenty 20 World Cup match against the Sri Lankans he was exceptionally painful to watch batting against Mendis and Murali. I would bet that Otis Gibson is wondering why he left the cosy job he had with the English cricket team. I really don't see an end to this any time soon!

  • metman on April 29, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    Hey.what is Ramdin doing in a West Indies team.What has he done on the last five west indies encounters?Fletcher is not a credible wicketkeeper.Why was the most promising opening batsman and wicketkeeper in the West Indies sent to college instead of on the A team tour to Bangadesh.You dont learn and improve your cricket in a classroom.Those selectors should be sent to a cricket jail whenever the West Indies are playing.They are the worst lot ,especially the one from Jamaica

  • Sankar on April 23, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    Come on, T20 is anyone's game. Don't be too harsh on WI. They might pleasantly surprise us yet! One erratic over from a bowler or lucky swiping does it. Can anyone safely predict 2010 T20 winner?

  • john green on March 13, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    Ten overs into the match i sent a text to Ottis Gibson ....Well done , nice win !!!.....

    Now i feel bad , should have taken on board Tony Coziers comment .

  • Dennis on March 12, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    To Doug Newsam Benn 4-2-6-4 -- 1.50 Zim 11 for 4 Cremer 4-0-11-3 -- 2.75 Man of the Match

    Why was Benn given special mention? He should have been Man of the Match. His impact on the match was greater than Cremer's. If the Bowlers after Benn did nothing that's not his fault! Or are you being blinded by the taunting which he got in Australia? Wasn't Johnson doing the same thing to another cricketer in NZ? Take your head out of the clouds and give a man his due!

  • trinikiwi on March 11, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    Calculate the time lapse between when the West Indies left Australia, arrived in the Caribbean, and the start of the T20. This match should not have been played so soon after they returned to the Caribbean after an Aussie tour. The several long haul flights and the jet lag due to the absurd time difference takes a toll, even on the fittest person. I make frequent trips from down under to the Caribbean and one arrives shattered, needing a few days to get oriented in time and space. Professional athletes always give themselves enough time to acclimatise. We have a right to be critical. But we should make sure we see the whole picture. This was not the worse cricket game ever, it was the worse cricket scheduling ever.

  • Dollaville on March 10, 2010, 0:32 GMT

    This is all rubbish,... who cares what Alec Stewart thought of the game?... he was nothing special bk in the day anyways,... both teams bowled well in the match,... and Zim fought hard to post that total in tough conditions. Most teams would have given up hope but not Zim

  • Rajin on March 9, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    I agree,that was the worst t20i i have ever seen but having said that the "the oval" pitch isn't the best for limited overs cricket.Infact caribbean pitches isn't what it used to be.

  • mindispower on March 9, 2010, 1:20 GMT

    Mmmm, would rather have had an encouraging article, as difficults that might have been....

  • ray mitchell on March 8, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    One thing i learned in life as a person in charge of a team or even and organisation, dont blame human resource. Encourage them to know what is to be done. can you picture technology back then when WI were on top in world cricket? what would the blogs be like from other veiwers of the various cricketing world? Well i will want the critics of west indies cricket to know that winning is a cycle to those who forget the basics. The basic is dont ever listen to the media and people who have a bias or favoritism. Get out there and do your job the way you know it. I have never seen Sir VIV bat but from what the media have showed me its like he never look like a pollard or a dwayne smith (i aint comparing.Nothing in the basic of anything in modern times is different from the old.The modern coaches mainly from australia have brought the psychology of the game to the west indians, but that cant help if you dont teach a man the basic.Cause psychology can even be a piece of cloth from steve waugh

  • Waste Indian on March 6, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    Heh you ain't understand me from Guyana, dem boys just losing to kill

  • nkosilathi dlamini on March 5, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    Well Done boys!!!! I am so proud to see Zimbabwe winning again! All thanks to our talented cricketers.Its so nice to see that they have learnt the art of cricket and they are winning again.Thanks to Heath Streak,Alistair Campbell,Dave Houghton for the good job they are doing.I will like to wish Alan Butcher the new Zimbabwe cricket coach all the best in his new post.It will be great to see Grant Flower back into Zimbabwe cricket again.As for the West Indies I just like to say hey you win some and you lose some.Hopefully you will lose the series 4 - 1.

  • lawrence on March 5, 2010, 12:59 GMT

    am from zimbabwe..great article..lol...thats nice stuff..it made me laugh..pple were lookin at me giggling at me computer..especially the way you described zimbabwean batsmen...lol....

  • Jonny Boy on March 5, 2010, 11:12 GMT

    Granted, it wasn't exactly a pretty batting performance, but give the Zimbabweans some credit.

    They bowled well. Their strategy worked.

    For a country that has been and is still being raped of experience and young talent, they have been doing rather well . . . . to be honest.

    I agree with Shankar's comments above.

  • uday on March 4, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    just as you mentioned T20 is swinging wildly and missing.the team that misses more loses.But something has to be done to make batting more challenging.

  • Saket on March 4, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    Andrew, great article.... couldn't stop laughing... my wife thought cricket was FINALLY driving me nuts....keep it up!!!

  • Munkeymomo on March 3, 2010, 22:40 GMT

    I totally agree with Shankar, I really enjoyed watching the game (would have preferred it if the west indies had come a bit closer) and really enjoyed watching Ray Price (second best bowler in ODIs in the world apparently) and Graeme Cremer (a young lad I've wanted to see bowl for awhile now)as Zim are very rarely on TV anymore, I cant wait to see what tomorrow brings!

  • David on March 3, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    Uh, Shankar, Sachin scored 200 against South Africa. Close to Australia but not really the same place. Actually, not very close to Australia, either.

  • Robin Ford on March 3, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    I am ashamed as a West Indian to write this comment, but I must. I did not watch the match, preferred to work on the outside and go to the beach instead. Did not listen either. At 10pm, I ventured to peep on the Cricinfo site and peeped at the result. I was shocked. Zimbabwe shocked West Indies. My heart fluttered I just could not believe my eyes. I have been watching Cricket for a long time and still play a little cricket, but this is astrocious. Words cannot describe how West Indians feel. This team just have no PRIDE or fighting SPIRIT. They have no head or understanding for the game. I wish Ottis Gibson all of the best, but he is working with persons who have absolutely no clue about cricket or how to adjust to situations, and that is the main problem. The talent is there, but not the application. So sad, so very sad.

  • SANJAY NAITHANI on March 3, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    tigers are hungry ,Cook,go to kitchen " that was really funny....

  • Doug Newsam on March 3, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    Great article. So descriptive of the farce. Tony does know his team well, very well. He has even stopped traveling all the way to Oz to watch their rubbish performances, after each one of which they are going to 'put it behind them and move forward'. How many times have we heard that hackneyed cliché from Lara and his successors! What did Benn do to earn special mention? Take some wickets without squabbling with one of the batsmen? Oh yes, that is rather unusual. Let's see what the rest of the games bring.

  • setu on March 3, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    "tigers are hungry ,Cook,go to kitchen " :) :) i am still laughing ...thanks for the good laugh!!

  • NBRADEE on March 3, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    Remember the ICC Champions Trophy won in 2004 by a team that lost everything it had played before that game in England that summer? Hopefully this is the strategy in place before we host the World T20...

  • Nick on March 3, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    Andrew i think its time to write somthing on NZ CRICKET TEAM! how the hell they keep getting injured :S in 1st odi Oram got injured, b4 the match start Vettori got injured. Ryder will be injured fo the rest fo his lif ei guess. After Bond retired from test cricket, NZ got new bowler McKey and he got injured as well and then they replace him with new fast bowler and he got injred too lmaoooo i think they do it on purpose cuz they just dont wanna play fo blackcaps :P

  • Shankar on March 3, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    I beg to differ with Andrew and one of my personal favourite Eng player, Alec. This was one of the best T20s ever to have been played. Being an Indian, I've become fed up of watching bowlers being slaughtered mercilessly on lifeless pitches day in and day out.(I wonder y they even waste money on a curator - all the need to do is shave a patch of 22 yards somewhere in the middle of the ground on the morning of the match). It all culminated in a farcical manner when Sachin alone scored 200 in the recent ODI vs Aus. What next? 250 in ODI or team scores of 400 regularly? might as well play with a bowling machine and spare the bowlers the energy. IMO, the WC 2011 will turn out to b the worst one ever without even a single team score of less then 200?? Whatever happened to the gud ol' days of low scoring ODIs. Nothing can match the excitement of a team scoring 120/150 and defending it.

  • Barath Rajgopaul on March 3, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    West Indian collpases are legendary at any time and can compare favourably with English and Pakistani collpases. Even the mighty Australians have a sneaking tendency to collapse (remember the Botham's Ashes which prompted Alan Border to reincarnate himself as Mr.Grumpy!!)and hence it was no real surprise that Tony Cosier remarked on his team being the West Indies so not to get too far ahead. Enjoyed your post Andrew.

  • Varun on March 3, 2010, 8:20 GMT

    "Alec Stewart played for England in the 1990s and so clearly knows a thing or two about staggering ineptitude."....hehe...

  • vithu on March 3, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    another one for lol-ing.. thanx andrew!

    btw, shouldn't we spare some credit to the bowlers on either side?? at least Benn?

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  • vithu on March 3, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    another one for lol-ing.. thanx andrew!

    btw, shouldn't we spare some credit to the bowlers on either side?? at least Benn?

  • Varun on March 3, 2010, 8:20 GMT

    "Alec Stewart played for England in the 1990s and so clearly knows a thing or two about staggering ineptitude."....hehe...

  • Barath Rajgopaul on March 3, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    West Indian collpases are legendary at any time and can compare favourably with English and Pakistani collpases. Even the mighty Australians have a sneaking tendency to collapse (remember the Botham's Ashes which prompted Alan Border to reincarnate himself as Mr.Grumpy!!)and hence it was no real surprise that Tony Cosier remarked on his team being the West Indies so not to get too far ahead. Enjoyed your post Andrew.

  • Shankar on March 3, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    I beg to differ with Andrew and one of my personal favourite Eng player, Alec. This was one of the best T20s ever to have been played. Being an Indian, I've become fed up of watching bowlers being slaughtered mercilessly on lifeless pitches day in and day out.(I wonder y they even waste money on a curator - all the need to do is shave a patch of 22 yards somewhere in the middle of the ground on the morning of the match). It all culminated in a farcical manner when Sachin alone scored 200 in the recent ODI vs Aus. What next? 250 in ODI or team scores of 400 regularly? might as well play with a bowling machine and spare the bowlers the energy. IMO, the WC 2011 will turn out to b the worst one ever without even a single team score of less then 200?? Whatever happened to the gud ol' days of low scoring ODIs. Nothing can match the excitement of a team scoring 120/150 and defending it.

  • Nick on March 3, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    Andrew i think its time to write somthing on NZ CRICKET TEAM! how the hell they keep getting injured :S in 1st odi Oram got injured, b4 the match start Vettori got injured. Ryder will be injured fo the rest fo his lif ei guess. After Bond retired from test cricket, NZ got new bowler McKey and he got injured as well and then they replace him with new fast bowler and he got injred too lmaoooo i think they do it on purpose cuz they just dont wanna play fo blackcaps :P

  • NBRADEE on March 3, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    Remember the ICC Champions Trophy won in 2004 by a team that lost everything it had played before that game in England that summer? Hopefully this is the strategy in place before we host the World T20...

  • setu on March 3, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    "tigers are hungry ,Cook,go to kitchen " :) :) i am still laughing ...thanks for the good laugh!!

  • Doug Newsam on March 3, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    Great article. So descriptive of the farce. Tony does know his team well, very well. He has even stopped traveling all the way to Oz to watch their rubbish performances, after each one of which they are going to 'put it behind them and move forward'. How many times have we heard that hackneyed cliché from Lara and his successors! What did Benn do to earn special mention? Take some wickets without squabbling with one of the batsmen? Oh yes, that is rather unusual. Let's see what the rest of the games bring.

  • SANJAY NAITHANI on March 3, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    tigers are hungry ,Cook,go to kitchen " that was really funny....

  • Robin Ford on March 3, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    I am ashamed as a West Indian to write this comment, but I must. I did not watch the match, preferred to work on the outside and go to the beach instead. Did not listen either. At 10pm, I ventured to peep on the Cricinfo site and peeped at the result. I was shocked. Zimbabwe shocked West Indies. My heart fluttered I just could not believe my eyes. I have been watching Cricket for a long time and still play a little cricket, but this is astrocious. Words cannot describe how West Indians feel. This team just have no PRIDE or fighting SPIRIT. They have no head or understanding for the game. I wish Ottis Gibson all of the best, but he is working with persons who have absolutely no clue about cricket or how to adjust to situations, and that is the main problem. The talent is there, but not the application. So sad, so very sad.