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HEADLINE: Takeaways from England?s tour of the Caribbean; CWC 2019 edition 2019-03-15 23:36:14 

It has been tough going assessing a disrupted West Indies as they prepare for the Cricket World Cup; when one thing or the other has continuously kept potential starters out of the line-up over the last eight months. However, we did manage to make several observations from teams fielded from the available resources.

Firstly, what could prevent a fit Evin Lewis from being named in the World Cup squad? Not even a lack of form, it seems. Certainly not Kieran Powell, Chandrapaul Hemraj or John Campbell making even a whispered claim for the opening position while the left-hander was unavailable for whatever reasons.

To say ‘no Chris Gayle, no runs’ is the easiest ‘analysis’ of the Windies batting display during the England tour. However, there was no Gayle on the Indian subcontinent when batsmen (Hetmyer and Hope), from this same line-up, gave several fairly decent accounts of themselves. But as has been, what we can now call, the innate issue with the West Indies – Hope and Hetmyer were a far cry from consistent during this tour.

However, if the West Indies has any hopes of being competitive in anywise at the World Cup, there is need to stress the importance of consistency from Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer. There was genuine excitement for what Hope would bring to the just-concluded limited overs leg of the England series, but following an impressive 64 in the first ODI and a steady 33 in the second, the right-hander did not look himself. Still, we keep in mind that Hope was in good nick on the previous two tours (of India and Bangladesh),remaining hopeful this series was a mandatory ‘bad patch’ (could we label him ‘out of form’ based on a handful of matches?) and that following this break, we’ll see an in-form Shai Hope when the Tri-Series comes around.

There is less optimism in Rovman Powell’s case, as there is a very realistic possibility that he might have lost his seat on that plane to Europe. Powell, who has had an almost uncontested place in the West Indies team since the World Cup Qualifiers, in March of last year, failed to make the ‘finisher’ position his own, prior to England’s tour of the Caribbean. There were those of us willing the Jamaican on, to make hay while the sun shined; that is, making himself indispensable to this team while he was preferred to Brathwaite or while the likes of Russell was unavailable. However, it is a sad truth that the talent we know the right-hander possesses has, to date, seldom come to fruition on the international stage.

Now, with Russell being Windies’ number one choice as finisher and based on Brathwaite’s recent displays with the ball in the just-concluded tour, bumping him up to number two; Powell suddenly finds himself down the pecking order. There is still hope, if a fit Rovman Powell should have a last roll of the dice when the tri-nation series among Bangladesh, Ireland and the West Indies bowls off just before the World Cup; where both Russell and Brathwaite should be involved in IPL 2019 as CWI seems determined not to request players to cut their IPL tournament short to be involved.

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