How WINDIES fell into the 'ditch' that is second-to-last place

Tue, Jul 9, '19


WI World Cup

Prior to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, the West Indies were—quite seriously—being touted as dark horses for the 50-over tournament. However, there were—admittedly, in hindsight—too many uncertainties, within the team itself, for the Jason Holder-led team to go all the way. Even more so, considering the difficulty with which other teams, which operate at a higher level of competitiveness, such as New Zealand and England, encountered before securing their semi-final spots. 

On paper, the West Indies possessed world-class players and talents; on the day, however, whenever the conditions and situations these players and talents were required to negate, were anything less than ideal, they were unable to negotiate successfully. Therefore, the West Indies' only win, for the first eight games of their campaign, came on a bouncy wicket, where their go-to--short pitch bowling--was rewarded; which resulted in a short-lived and pressure-free run chase. 

It did not help the players' cause that those individuals in decision-making positions, were resorting to courses of action that harmed their chances of victory, even before the team went beyond the boundary rope to compete.

Quite often, there are questions posed regarding the cricketing intelligence (to be mild), or the lack thereof, of West Indian players. Even more so, following this miserable World Cup campaign. Are there no such queries for the coaching staff? 

Hetmyer ran himself out again. But, Floyd Reifer selected Brathwaite and Russell to go along with Holder in a playing XI… multiple times .

Pooran got out playing a rash shot, once more .Well, Floyd Reifer selected Kemar Roach for only four of a possible eight (Roach was ill for the Sri Lanka game) games in the tournament; with the Bajan not playing a full game until WINDIES' sixth game of the tournament, as his first game was called off due to rain. 

Thomas continues to bowl short. While Reifer and his staff selected an XI that had a hobbling Andre Russell--who he previously stated would primarily be used as a batting all-rounder at the World Cup, due to the injury to his knee--as a fifth bowler versus Bangladesh. With Russell expected to bowl ten overs.

While, Brathwaite has come in for criticism concerning his bowling, the reliable Ian Bishop has stated, over commentary, that Brathwaite is seen as one of the better death-bowlers in the squad by the West Indies. Which would explain his continued inclusion during the earlier stages of the tournament.

Sidestepping the fact that the West Indies selectors bypassed more effective death-bowlers in the Caribbean and focusing on the fact that Brathwaite has proven to be less than potent in either powerplay 1 or 2: the all-rounder is 31 years old (this month), he made his One-Day International debut in 2011 (playing 41 games since then), possessing the same skills now, that he did then. Therefore, there is indeed a struggle in the comprehension as to when Brathwaite mastered the death, so much so, that he is selected solely to bowl in the final powerplay--which is what happened toward the end of the tournament as it became more evident the lack of a threat he posed anywhere else in the innings.

And as for Shannon Gabriel; I am reserving judgment, at least until the squad for the ODI leg of India's tour of the Caribbean is released. Reason being, if a man who had not played an ODI since 2017 was brought to a World Cup to play ahead of the team's main bowler, leading up to the tournament (Roach) and is then discarded for the ODI series which immediately follows the World Cup, then I will be in need of conviction that the West Indies has a clear vision as to where they are going and what they are doing.

We question the decision-making of our players, but from where I sit "blind a lead blind".