Allenís short career symbolic of West Indiesí future in ODIs

Wed, Jul 3, '19


WI World Cup

Another game, another defeat. West Indies’ penultimate game, of what has been a disastrous tournament, followed the script of their campaign. It was one which extended their ‘almost’ diaries, as the Caribbean men once again came close, but predictably, fell short in a bid for only their second win of their 9-game old tournament. 

The men in maroon, minus Kemar Roach, put on a lukewarm bowling display after inserting Sri Lanka, allowing the Lions to set a challenging target of 338. 

It is fair to say that the West Indies’ reply was a right stutter (even with the Hetmyer/Gayle and Holder/Pooran partnerships) and that they never really started ‘batting’ until Nicholas Pooran and Fabian Allen came together. This team has produced one or two brilliant individual innings and a few decent partnerships in this tournament. However, on the basis of teamwork, the 83-run 8th wicket stand between Pooran and Allen has been the most impressive display from Holder’s men since they bounced Pakistan out for 105 in their tournament-opener at Trent Bridge. 

While Allen might have dominated the stand with proper, low-risk, intelligent cricket stroke plays, he was shepherded by Pooran. So refreshing it was to see West Indian batsmen in the middle of the pitch between deliveries, concocting as per the situation of the game; as opposed to waltzing down the wicket in-between overs, bumping fists out of habit, waiting for the start of the next over.

There were whispers, pats on backs, pats on heads and reminders from the non-striker to his partner as to the number of deliveries that remained in the over. And although the pair were together for 83 runs; it was evidence of the above mentioned which made it a partnership–not the fact that they happened to be at the crease while 83 runs were scored. 

And for the other WINDIES batsmen who “leave young babies in the dressing room” , or continuously “place pots on fire” just before walking out to the middle; the Pooran innings showed just how much time there is in an ODI innings. The left-hander came in at number 5 in the 16th over at 71/3, chasing 339, with the required run rate at 7.67. He had time to have a frustratingly torrid start to his innings, recover from that, while losing three partners before leading the fourth (Allen) in shifting the game back into his team’s favour. He watched Allen get to his maiden ODI half century, lose Allen, get past his maiden ODI century and get out with 17 deliveries remaining in the innings and WINDIES needing 31 runs to with. 

Before Matthews bowled that wicket-taking delivery at the start of the 18th over, the West Indies were in a winning position. By producing the likes of Hetmyer, Pooran, Lewis and others, the West Indies might run out of wickets (with the way they bat), but not time. Never time.

It was a day where everything just came together for young Nicholas Pooran. Had one been paying attention to him during this World Cup, they would have seen it coming. He was threatening; threatening does not mean he scored a big half century and got out on 99 on a previous occasion. And of course, he too has had his issues in this tournament. However, he had shown glimpses, prior to the century, of a temperament we were led to believe he did not possess. 

If anyone ever doubted that winning is truly a habit, they had better reconsider. How many times has the West Indies found themselves in winning positions, no sooner to give it away? Whereas, when Championship teams find themselves catching a whiff of blood, they go for the kill. 

One being introduced to Fabian Allen at the international level must have heard that he could hold a bat. However, for those who were familiar with the all-rounder at the regional level, they would have known that he could also whirl the willow. Still, the maturity shown by the Jamaican on Monday, might have surprised both parties. More importantly, though, is the symbolism of Allen’s innings: he took eight ODIs to get past 10 runs in a single innings. Might this be the epitome of what this West Indies team (and even more so what this team will look like after the World Cup) needs–time?