Windies 2017 hurt, heartache and headaches

Sat, Dec 30, '17

by WADE GIBBONS

Commentary

If it were possible for the eminent Dr Richard Allsopp to update his seminal Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage from beyond the grave, one could not be surprised if one turned to Page 216 and saw inscribed as an explanation to the word “embarrassing” – the current West Indies cricket team.

2017 for the West Indies might have started with great expectations. But this was no feel-good Dickensian prose. Shai Hope and Roston Chase might have momentarily conjured up images of Pip, but as December closed West Indies cricket was still deeply immersed in the reality of hard times. It became almost painful to listen to captain Jason Holder search for positives in defeat after defeat and repeat the same rhetoric that is synonymous with sporting failure.

The West Indies started their international campaign with a 0-3 One-Day International series loss to England in March in the Caribbean. They followed this up with losses to Pakistan in Tests (1-2), ODIs (1-2) and T20Is (1-3) between March and May in the Caribbean. They managed to defeat improving minnows Afghanistan 3-0 in a T20I series in June but the gap between the two sides was more accurately assessed when they drew the ODI series 1-1. In June the team – and the rest of the Caribbean – suffered the ignominy of participating in the Champions Trophy in England in front of their televisions after failing to qualify. By year-end, a similar cloud hung over the team’s participation in the 2019 ICC World Cup in England.

India visited the Caribbean for an ODI series in June and found, as other visitors have, that home advantage for the West Indies team had long become an aberration. The Indians duly won 3-1 with West Indies having the scant consolation of victory in a one-off T20I.