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C & W International Limited Over Series in the West Indies - An Assessment

After the 2-match test series between Zimbabwe and the West Indies, the Caribbean will be the stage for an exciting One Day Triangular, with Pakistan joining in as the third team

After the 2-match test series between Zimbabwe and the West Indies, the Caribbean will be the stage for an exciting One Day Triangular, with Pakistan joining in as the third team. The awe inspiring finish of the first test that the Windies won by 35 runs at Port of Spain is a warning for the Windies to sharpen their teeth. Despite a poor performance they won, because they were pitched against No 10 team of the world. Their ouster for 75 runs in the 2nd inning of the test at the hands of minnows Zimbabwe, exposed how brittle the present West Indies batting was. It is said that the age of miracles is not over for West Indies Cricket as long as Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh are around to inspire them. Let us not forget that if they were able to knock Zimbabwe out for 63 runs, such a miraculous feat may not be possible against stronger teams.
There was a time when the Windies ruled the cricket world. They clinched the World Cup honours in 1975 and 1979 and dominated the game thereafter for many years. Nature has its own ways. Like the weather cycle, the cricket cycle also does not run on a fixed track. While other teams of the world rose in stature, the Windies had a fall. The competition became so tough, that after the first two victories, they were not able to lift the trophy again.
Currently the Windies are perhaps at their lowest ebb. They had a disastrous tour of New Zealand, where they lost both tests and all the five one-day internationals. Before the lucky triumph against Zimbabwe, the Windies had lost nine of their previous eleven tests.
The victory against Zimbabwe was a silver lining in the dark clouds hovering over West Indies cricket. Zimbabwe was in control of the match for the first four days. West Indies down and apparently out after setting Zimbabwe only 99 runs to win, knocked the touring side over for 63 to win by 35 runs. Defending a modest total against test cricket's weakest side, it was crunch time for West Indies which they responded with a miraculous triumph. Lately the West Indies also had a captaincy crisis that prompted Brian Lara to resign amidst the speculations of being sacked. He also withdrew from the team causing a big blow to the batting line-up. The miraculous win against Zimbabwe has marked the beginning of Jimmy Adam's career as West Indies new captain. His efforts will concentrate on winning the triangular followed by defeating the Pakistan team in the test series.
Pakistan and West Indies may not be archrivals but one thing is clear that the Windies have always reckoned the trait of unpredictability that distinguishes the Pakistan team from others. Having fought some severe battles against Pakistan, they are fully convinced that the team is capable of springing a surprise that may even go into the annals of history. It may be remembered that during its tour of Pakistan in 1986, Pakistan skittled the West Indies out for a mere 53 runs in the 2nd inning of the 1st test at Faisalabad. The team had giants like Viv Richards, Gorden Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Richie Richardson.
As for Zimbabwe, in one-day cricket they are as good as any team in the world on their day. They possess a galaxy of outstanding players like Heath Streak, Neil Johnson, Henry Olonga, Murray Goodwin and the two Flowers with tenacity and determination as their trump cards. They normally do not give up without a great fight. One cannot take them lightly.
The Pakistan cricket team selected to participate in the triangular is a blend of youth and experience. It does carry the blemish of a disastrous tour of Australia and a series defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka on the home grounds. With Moin Khan and Javed Miandad as new captain and coach, the team is in the process of rejuvenation. Their performance in the Coca Cola Cup at Sharjah, notwithstanding, it will land in the West Indies with fresh vigour and full determination to fight. With the brittleness in batting line up of the other participants, West Indies and Zimbabwe, already exposed, it may be a golden chance for Pakistan's bowling arsenal to strike hard. If Brian Lara returns to the team, the Windies will regain their batting strength, posing a tough challenge to other opponents. The triangular will, therefore, be a tough as well as a very exciting affair.