Tour and tournament reports

West Indies vs Pakistan 2021

A review of West Indies vs Pakistan in 2021

Craig Cozier
Kraigg Brathwaite held the West Indies innings together during his time at the crease, West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Kingston, 5th day, August 24, 2021

Kraigg Brathwaite held West Indies' innings together  •  Getty Images

Twenty20 internationals (4): West Indies 0, Pakistan 1
Test matches (2): West Indies 1 (12pts), Pakistan 1 (12pts)
West Indies' busy year continued with a visit from Pakistan, who won the disrupted T20 series and shared the spoils in the two Tests. At first glance, that seemed a satisfactory haul, but the visitors were left to reflect on their tour with a tinge of regret, after losing the First Test by one wicket.
The white-ball leg had been marred by foul weather - no surprise in the heart of the Caribbean's rainy season. Pakistan won the only game that reached a conclusion, but the series was hardly ideal preparation for the T20 World Cup. Five matches had been planned, but a Covid scare during the Australians' recent visit to the Caribbean meant the first was cancelled, before rain spoiled three of the others.
The Tests, part of the new 2021-23 World Championship cycle, were spared the worst of the weather, and followed a similar pattern to Pakistan's previous tours: close, competitive, compelling. On their last visit, four years earlier, then-skipper Misbah-ul-Haq bade farewell to international cricket with a memorable last-gasp victory in Dominica to secure a 2-1 series win. Misbah returned as head coach, and his charges showed great spirit to fight back from defeat in the First Test to win the Second. Dropped catches in the tense final stages of that opening match had cost them, as West Indies held on for their third one-wicket victory - the 15th in all Tests.
Both games were played at Sabina Park in Jamaica, where the seamers relished sporting pitches and were helped by a high standard of catching in the cordon. Fragile batting resulted in low-scoring contests - but the team that batted marginally better emerged victorious in both. A steely 97 by captain Kraigg Brathwaite and an aggressive second-innings 55 by Jermaine Blackwood were the cornerstones of West Indies' victory in a dramatic opener.
Fawad Alam's unbeaten 124 then provided a winning platform - alongside Babar Azam's 75 - in the second match. Left-armer Shaheen Shah Afridi was a constant menace, making good use of his height, pace, bounce and swing, with new ball and old, and claiming the series award for 18 wickets at 11.
For West Indies, Jayden Seales might not yet possess all Afridi's gifts but, in only his second series, and not yet 20, he led the home attack with 11 wickets, including a maiden five-for. Kemar Roach and Jason Holder also did well with the ball, while their batting was crucial in the First Test.
The tour marked the end of Misbah's spell as coach. He missed the final day of the series after a positive Covid test, which forced him to extend his stay in Jamaica to fulfil a ten-day quarantine period. The tough grind of bubble life and its challenges were among the factors he cited in his resignation after two years in the job. Bowling coach Waqar Younis - another with a year left on his contract - also stepped down, giving the Pakistan board's new chairman Ramiz Raja a clean slate when he took over shortly afterwards.