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Silver lining in West Indies cricket



Editor: Congrats to a disciplined Trinidad and Tobago cricket team for deservedly recapturing the premiere, regional Twenty20 title. There was much to please, despite the gluttonous intent of the WICB marketing thrust to stage two such competitions within six months.{{more}} Indeed, this WICB cash cow was able to showcase the best regional talent on offer.

Money-hounds like Chris Gayle, Dwane Bravo and Kieron Pollard were hardly missed, as pretenders like Darren Bravo, Andre Fletcher and Javon Searles shone like Caribbean beacons. Lara-cloned Darren Bravo, an exciting prospect, gifted with rare batting talent, continues to stake his claim as a future batting superstar. Although the enormous weight of his illustrious mentor might be too heavy for his young and slender shoulders, there is evidence to show that Bravo is on the threshold to greatness.

An improved Windward Islands’ performance must be credited largely to the inspired leadership of Darren Sammy. Being the consummate professional, Sammy was able to up the ante and get the most out of his charges. Successive defeats inflicted on power houses Guyana and Jamaica were no mean feat.

Another plus for the competition was the general improvement in the quality of bowling and fielding. This was evidenced in the reduction in free hits and wides and the number of run-outs forced, due to bowlers bowling to their fields. Death bowling, an important art in Twenty20 cricket, was skilfully displayed by Nelon Pascal, Krishmar Santokie and Javon Searles, who catapulted Yorkers at will, choking batsmen and limiting their scoring options. There was also a general improvement in ground fielding and catching, especially from the Windward Islands’ team. Captain Sammy’s stupendous match-tilting catch to dismiss Christopher Barnwell, in that highly competitive Guyana versus Windwards match, was the highlight.

Nevertheless, poor batting technique, especially against quality spin bowling, continues to plague Caribbean cricket. This was reflected in the high rate of dismissals via the lbw and bowl modes. This does not augur well for the Windies, given that the ICC World Cup is a mere three weeks away. The spinner-friendly wickets in the subcontinent will no doubt test the Windies batsmen’s resolve and surely expose any technical weakness.

Additionally, the regional cricket administrators continue to miss a trick by selecting test dinosaurs as captains of their Twenty20 teams. Cricket relics like Darren Ganga, Wavell and Ryan Hinds and Wilden Cornwall marshalling forces in this fast-paced cricket format, show the conservativeness and lack of vision in West Indies cricket. Ganga, the most over-rated of the pack, continues to conceal his batting and fielding inadequacies under his showmanship/eloquence. Stand-in captain Denesh Ramdin’s expert handling of the TnT cricket team, in last Sunday’s Finals,shows that the captaincy issue is a no brainer.

Windies cricket would be better served by more proactive and visionary men at the helm.

Collin CA$H Haywood