March 3, 2010

West Indies

West Indies' house of quicksand

Andrew Hughes

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

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Posted by 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.

Posted by 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..........

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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!

Posted by 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

Posted by 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?

Posted by 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 .

Posted by 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!

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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

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Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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