West Indies: More Resilience, More Application Needed and Rather Urgently!
West Indies had a disastrous start to the India ODIs [AP]
As yet another one day series defeat stares right at them, with the Test series having already been lost, what can the hosts West Indies do differently to avoid the embarrassment that may well be searching for them at Barbados?
Purely, from a historical perspective and considering their most recent game's outcome that was held here, Barbados offers a touch of hope to Shai Hope and the rest of his men.
Not much of a sojourn For West Indies
Can the likes of Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope himself dig deep and find some undiscovered traces of resilience within?
Can the newcomer-to-international-cricket, Alick Athanaze, who wasted no time whatsoever in becoming the highest scorer for his Team upon his Test debut (47 at Dominica), continue the positive intent with which he bats whilst not falling for the love for playing dashingly?
There’s so much to learn here at Barbados. Trinidad, most recently, was the scene of a draw that the Kraigg Brathwaite-led team really desperately sought. While the rain gods played their part on the fifth and final day, it can't be denied that the team perceptibly shaken up by the previous Test's miserable defeat, hung in there and accumulated valuable runs (in the first inning). All of which came to good stead.
Is there a lesson in perseverance as seen in Kraigg's team to be learnt by Hope's contingent? The West Indies team that barely managed to bat 100 overs in all at Dominica batted resolutely for nearly 116 overs at Trinidad, which defied the Indian attack.
In the most recent one-day defeat, experienced at the same venue, the West Indies suffered a new low; they were bowled out inside 23 overs.
The 114 all out- the damaging blow should serve as a gruesome warning of what not to repeat at Sir Sobers' land. While the formats have changed, what quite hasn't is the pressing matter concerning the outcome of the contests.
However, the West Indies will not really lose anything further in earning another one day series defeat. That's the truth.
Sufficient damage has already been done. Lest it is forgotten, they are already out of the qualification bid for the ODI World Cup of 2023. And that's the inconvenient truth.
The two-time winners of ICC's premier white-ball event, a team famous for playing aggressively and dominantly is today, but a pale shadow of its former glorious self.
Against that narrative, another one day series loss, at the back of the heartbreak experienced at Zimbabwe, will do no good but only further inflict a trauma of sorts that the Caribbean side may never fully recover from or if not, then maybe not at the earliest. If consistency and purposefulness have ever been so urgently sought, then now is the time.
It was heartening and somewhat even disappointing to see Shai Hope score 43 of his team's 114 runs in the last game. Had the others solemnly resolved to not apply themselves? Is the classic cricketing template of trying one's level best before meeting the fate of a contest no longer relevant?
Frankly, if there's even a little ounce of concern or thought that affects the likes of Mayers, then they'd wisely never repeat the torrid mistake of attempting a big airy strike without even reading the conditions well.
At the same time, the likes of Hetmyer, established in the IPL, but modestly impressive in national duties given the ODI average of 35, would do well to not repeat a sweep stroke whilst exposing his stumps.
And maybe the most important factor of them all would be to apply one's mind and think before going all ballistic out there. The lack of talent is still not as concerning as what one may think about a team that's grown habitual of sheer underperformance.
But it's application and doing something as basic as being patient that matters, and so very much at the moment. The West Indies still have someone like Shai Hope. The returning Hetmyer offers fresh promise in the absence of big names- Pooran and Holder. Mayers is no longer new to the game. We've seen glimpses of Brandon King coming into his own.
It's a very beautiful and captivating sight in the sport though maybe not nearly as fascinating as debating who's the best among the Fab Four- a topic that if debated any further may likely cause insomnia, though out of sheer repetitiveness of the subject.
Then there's a fine troika of Seales, Joseph and Thomas, should the latter play
Surely, there'll always be surprising decisions such as not even picking the most successful spinner from the Caribbean since 2021- Akeal Hosein. The Trinidadian, for no fault of his, wasn't even picked in the reserves for these games versus India.
But nothing can be as gut wrenching, an expression used by Mr. Ian Bishop upon seeing the Scotts overrule the Windies earlier, as yet another West Indies debacle without any attempt to hold the fort.
What do you say?