Jarrod Kimber

Better win than be second favourites

I once mindlessly suggested to my father that it was a shame to see the Windies struggling

Jarrod Kimber
Jarrod Kimber
Kemar Roach rattled England's top order, England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, 4th day, May 20, 2012

It's when England build a partnership that West Indies will be tested  •  PA Photos

I once mindlessly suggested to my father that it was a shame to see the Windies struggling. That was followed by him abusing me for a long time about how you shouldn’t feel sorry for them, as they happily beat up on everyone when they had that chance. His scars were still raw.
But that attitude seems to be disappearing in recent times. The Windies are fast becoming the second favourite team of cricket fans, especially to those who never saw them pummel their country’s batsmen inside their heads.
They’ve been a perfect second side of late. They have exciting young cricketers, mystery bowlers, mini Lara, a talented young quick, and they’re not likely to beat your team in a Test match.
Not that they don’t get close.
At home against India, they worked themselves into several good positions only to end up losing or drawing. And against Australia they played well only to fall apart when they needed to be at their best.
Yet again, they’ve snuck up on a better side and find themselves with a good chance of winning the Test. Rudi Webster, the former Windies psychologist, recently said they don’t know how to win. To beat England when they’re chasing less than 200 on a solid batting pitch at home, you need to really back yourself.
The two wickets were promising. But there is little to lose in a four over session that is essentially being played with Hammer Horror type lighting. It is when England puts on a partnership of any note or as they close in on the total that the Windies will be under real pressure.
Will they do everything they can to win this match, or will they just put in another effort that annoys the opposition before they eventually fold?
It’s nice to be everyone’s second favourite team, but it’s better to win a few matches. They may never be universally feared or hated again, but it would be nice if they could do more than just temporarily annoy fans, and on occasions like this, really ruin the mood of a few like my dad.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com