West Indies batsmen surrender home advantage

Tue, Sep 3, '19

by KRISSANIA YOUNG

Commentary

The West Indies were left to rue their decision-making both on and off the field, as the opportunity to pick up points at home in their first battle of the ICC World Test Championships went abegging in a 2-0 series defeat to India. To say WINDIES batsmen were found wanting (again), would be an understatement. We could list all the cringe-worthy statistics, saying that “we need a new batting line-up”, “enough is enough” and “none of them deserve to wear the shirt”. Still, how realistic is it that the West Indies should name their next Test team with four or five new batsmen? Yes, changes should be made, but could we possibly look to replace the out of sorts Brathwaite, the unacquainted Hetmyer, the barren Hope and the unsettled Campbell all at once? Nope. And this is where the patience of the fans—in understanding the long haul—comes into play.

The possibility of being dropped is a major part of a young player’s development. The elimination of which, breeds complacency; failing both the player and subsequently, the team. In other words, the batting performances we are witnessing is a prime example of the reaping of what you’ve sown. As there is a fine line between keeping a team together—which CWI has done quite well, to be fair—and rewarding non-performances, which they have also been guilty of.

Yet, there is the sad truth that there are not many Regional batsmen knocking down the door to international cricket. Therefore, if Cricket West Indies should choose to be prudent in their handling of our current situation, then the profound truth is that several of these batsmen are going to be getting more chances than they deserve, before being asked to reassess themselves at the Regional level. As, CWI must take it a batsman, or even two batsmen, at a time in their quest to rectify our situation.

A process which, I vote, must be executed by order of priority, or importance, in asking ourselves: from whose form will the West Indies gain the most, from whose development will this team benefit the most, with the fulfilment of whose potential are we most likely to rise in the rankings? Through this method, however, along with the take that the Caribbean system is not producing many quality batsmen, we will find that either Brathwaite, Hope or Hetmyer losing their place in the team will be more about them rediscovering their respective selves, than their replacements having any major impact on the West Indies team.

So… who goes first? I say Brathwaite. Even though the West Indies vice-captain will have a chance to find form before the others, as he sets off for a three-match stint with Championship Division Two side Glamorgan in September. And though one would be sincere in hoping the right-hander does rediscover his confidence in England, if he fails, the West Indies should make an example of him—the biggest fish. Subsequently, batsmen will be thinking that if Brathwaite is dispensable, then so are they.

And if Brathwaite’s replacement takes the opportunity handed to him at the highest level, or if the Bajan himself regains his form at the Regional level, then the West Indies benefits. The same goes for Hope and Hetmyer. Monday morning quarterbacking on a Tuesday? No, because the possibility of this current state was evident even following the series win against England and was highlighted then, as well.

It might not feel like it, but we are moving forward. Now it rests on CWI and their course of action, to determine what we are moving forward as; a bowling unit or as a team. And to the fans? When we see certain names in the squad to Afghanistan in November, remember that yes, the batting order needs a shaking, but with prudence and in a timely manner; not a clean slate.