Fine margins between competing now and CWC 2019 preparations

Fri, Mar 8, '19


Windies v England

Out of the drive-in volcano and into the stratovolcano for Windies, as the team travels a final time on this tour to St. Kitts and Nevis, where both the remaining T20Is will be played at Warner Park. The hosts will be vying to keep the three-match series alive after going down to England by four wickets in the first game on Tuesday. After witnessing the team’s shortcomings in the first T20I, surely those asking (prior to the start of the series) ‘what could retaining the ODI squad for the T20Is aid?’ have been enlightened.

It was a game reminiscent of the first ODI between the two teams at the Kensington Oval in Barbados last month; the hosts laid the perfect foundation to launch at the back end of the innings, but at the appointed hour, with supposed ‘finishers’ at the crease, the West Indies capitulated in an all-too-familiar fashion.

Similarly, at the Daren Sammy Stadium on Tuesday evening, when the hosts should have capitalized on the foundation laid by a Pooran/Bravo partnership, those in this team who have the ability to finish an innings, once again, fell short in their efforts.
Taking nothing away from England, however, who, being blessed with expert now-a-days limited overs bowlers such as; Tom Curran, Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes, not unlike in Barbados, got their variations out as soon as was necessary to keep Windies below a competitive total (respective to pitch conditions).

In keeping with the theme of repeating mistakes made at Kensington; in a T20I, in the year 2019, how deep into the England innings was it before a Windies bowler produced a slower delivery, or a cutter, a slower bouncer, or a wide yorker?

And so, it must be asked: is there a West Indies fan out there still not understanding the tasks set out to be accomplished by keeping this squad together? What about those who questioned the claim, at the start of the ODI series, that of those who will miss out as a result of injury (Evin Lewis, Rovman Powell and Keemo Paul) Paul would be the biggest miss to this Windies team?

Ironically, for all the (deserved) stick given to Carlos Brathwaite, he has been the one most-inclined to acknowledge how the limited overs versions of cricket have evolved and break out the variations.

Now, with the news of Obed McCoy’s inclusion in the squad for the remaining matches and his variarions, who could complain if he replaces Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite or even Oshane Thomas? However, this is not just the West Indies trying to win a series but also preparing for CWC 2019. So, there would be absolutely no sense in excluding players like Thomas. Additionally, where would the justice be in dropping Allen? He didn’t misuse himself last time out; that’s on Holder’s shoulders. Herein lies the dilemma for the West Indies — finding the very fine line between the decisions which may get them back into this series and those which aid their hopes of being competitive come May.

Amidst all of this, Sheldon Cottrell and Nicholas Pooran stood tall – once again taking the chance afforded them, which is such a pleasant surprise in this era of West Indies Cricket.

There should be no worries regarding Jason Holder, who had an off night with the skipper’s cap on. The Holder we’ve come to know is sure to be back and on top of his game on Friday evening. Keeping in mind that the West Indies has never lost a T20I at Warner Park.