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Don’t even think about it

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I am certain that I am hearing a tinkling somewhere, from some persons in the Windwards, that their senior team is “getting there”.

The whispering seems to have been occasioned by theWindwards’ second place in this year’s West Indies Cricket Board four-day tournament.{{more}}

This was the first time in twenty-six years that the team, under long standing Captain, the much maligned and criticised Rawl Lewis, was able to gain the runner-up spot.

In 1982 and 1983, with the disbanding of the Combined Islands in 1981, the four-island grouping shocked the Caribbean with its repeat performance for those two years.

But there after, it was down hill. The Windwards had taken out the title deed for placing last.

They did so in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001. Inclusive, are periods when they lost all their matches.

A third place in 2004 was the best showing within that period.

But it is often said, that statistics do not lie, but they can be misleading. So, to put things into perspective, the Windwards’ position just emphasizes the weak state of Cricket in the region.

The Windwards placed second in 2009, but lost five of their twelve matches outright. Except for Guyana, whom they beat twice, the other five teams inflicted an outright win on the Windwards.In 1982 and 1983, then only with one round of matches, the Windwards lost one match on both occasions.

In this year’s Tournament, one player, Lewis, who was selected primarily for his bowling and his captaincy, having played all the matches, finished with the highest aggregate, 720 runs. Darren Sammy, from his seven matches and Andre Fletcher, from all nine matches, scored 476 and 433 respectively.

It must be told that Sammy is first and foremost, a fast bowler. He and Devon Smith, were the only ones to get past one hundred. Sammy got 121, and Smith 212. Donwell Hector had the next best individual score, 99.

How then, can one explain why Liam Sebastian, who is supposed to be a front line batsman, appeared in six matches, batted ten times, and had a grand total of 64, a highest score of 21, and an average 6.4 runs.

The only ones who can tell of the wisdom of giving him a place on the team, given his prolonged un-productivity, are selectors Julian Charles, Stanley Hinds, Irvine Shillingford, as well as Manager Lockhart Sebastian and Coach Ian Allen.

What is ironic is that the three selectors and Sebastian, harboured such under par performance, when they were all part of the Windwards’ successes in 1982 and 1983, and know what is hard-nosed Cricket. So have these guys all become soft? Or are there other untold stories?

As for the team’s overall performance, the only occasion when the Windwards got past 400, was its 414 against Guyana. There were three scores above 300, eight above 200, and five completed innings in which they could only get 100 and above.

Of the 21 innings, over 100 runs, there were four century partnerships. This was however negated, as the same number was recorded against the Windwards.

This was just a translation and a transfer of what happens at the annual Windwards competitions, as teams frequently fail to get more than 200.

Caught in a quandary of having to select some ordinary club cricketers, some persons find themselves on the Windwards team, without even having a century to their name at the Windwards level. Sad, but that is just the way it is.

Again it was the team’s bowling that stood out, and was relatively successful.

The various combinations of bowlers only once had a team score in excess of 400 against them. There were four scores in excess of 300; eight over 200, seven over 100, and two under 100.

Off spinner Shane Shillingford, who like Lewis, featured in all twelve matches, was the second highest wicket taker of the tournament with 56, at an average of 19.05. Veteran player Deighton Butler, who played one match fewer, snared 32, at a cost of 22.75 runs apiece.

Nellon Pascal, 25 wickets from eight matches, Sammy 23 from 8, and Lewis 21, were the wicket takers over 20.

Battling though, that front line pacer, Mervyn Matthew was allowed to get six matches, and could have only gotten nine wickets, while the selectors last go to man, their most unwanted, Kenroy Peters, filled the void, in five matches, with a return of 17 wickets to his credit.

So the 2009 tournament is behind, and one can just say the Windwards’ efforts at placing one from the top, just makes it laughable, that the regional team, the once mighty West Indies, wants to believe that it is at a point of recovery. Just take a close look at the overall statistics, then the opposite will be the answer.

This column also wants to reiterate its disapproval of having that “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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