Takeaways from Windies' series win in Dhaka

Wed, Dec 26, '18

by KRISSANIA YOUNG

Commentary

West Indies’ 50-run win over Bangladesh in the 3rd T20I on Saturday to give the visitors a 2-1 series win, meant that the men in maroon ran out winners in a T20I series for the first time since 2017. With the feeling that Windies was able to field a near full-strength XI of their current T20I squad, all things considered (with the controversies), comes the realization that the “future” is nearer to being the “present” than it really is to being in the “future”. Where does this then leave the fans? We could continue the relentless lobby for the inclusion of ‘senior players’, or go, “ha! we don’t need them anymore”. Or, the third option—where we just revel in the fact that, either way, we will become similar to other fan bases; knowing that the nature of the pool of players is such that, regardless, we will have high quality players representing us and just have a bit of a debate amongst ourselves when our favourites are left out of squad selection; all in the hope that we will be winning in the meantime, of course. So, we can rest easy as it seems Windies stills has the blueprint to remain competitive, not based solely on this series win, in the shortest format of the game after all.

Following a 16-ball half-century in the first T20I against Bangladesh, which placed him 3rd in the history books in terms of fastest T20I fifties– many were left wondering if Shai Hope was a “one hit wonder”. However, he also had scores of 88 runs from 45 deliveries, 25 from 16, 43 from 35, 42 from 34 and 34 from 24 that put him on track to 8th place in the CPL18 top-scores list. Along with his performances in this series, if one is an incident, two is coincidence and three is a pattern–then what is eight? Ladies and gentlemen, it is safe to say that Shai Hope is not a fluke.

Welcome back to Evin Lewis, who, after a lean spell of form, gave us a sharp reminder of why he is an important piece of this Windies puzzle. Lewis, we must remember did not play a major part in the 2016 World T20 win, therefore, along with Hope, he is as much a part of this ‘new look’ Windies Twenty20 set up as the youngsters. After a controversial withdrawal from the limited-overs squad to India, there was not much faith shown in the left-hander in terms of his desire to represent the West Indies. However, after stating his elation to don Windies colours once more, via social media, Lewis gave a lesson in batting in Dhaka which stands as a signal to those of us who were quick to give his seat on the plane to England to Shai Hope; reminding us that he is still very much first choice to open the batting alongside Chris Gayle next year.

As we continue to find joy in the current crop of young players, the contributions of one particular individual continues to fly under the radar—Fabian Allen. The left-arm spinner has been a steady contributor to Windies’ attack in T20Is after making his debut in India, so much so that he has not been left out of the XI since then. The Jamaican has not been making any headlines yet, but his bowling has become a feature of Brathwaite’s men in these last two series and being introduced into the attack when the Bangladeshis were cruising towards their target and subsequently a series win; claiming two wickets in two deliveries, initiating the fight back was just a testament of what he has been doing all along,

Keemo Paul’s match-winning performance is the epiphany of why we should give these youngsters not just “a chance”, but also time. This is the Keemo Paul that Caribbean fans should be expecting on a consistent basis in the years to come—such intelligence; the variations, the lack of respect for “big names”, running in, in intense situations without feeling any pressure. These are the characteristics which demand the respect of his captains. Paul will not be picking up five-wicket hauls in every other game, but the wickets will just highlight what he has the ability do—change the game.

No one is labelling these young players better than the ‘senior players’, but believe it or not, the reform of Windies T20I set up is well and truly under way and the proof is in the pudding. However, it will be interesting to see how things unfold in the new year; as the dates stand, the Indian Premier League will clash with the start of the final preparations for the 2019 Cricket World Cup–a tri-series in Ireland. Therefore, many wondering thoughts will be laid to rest concerning the priorities of these players when we witness, at that time, who is willing to deny themselves and fly out to represent the West Indies.

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