Thursday, October 27, 2011

WICB and West Indies living in denial

West Indies are fresh off a series victory against Bangladesh and have achieved that feat away from home. Bangladesh is known to be a tough opponent in their backyard but after losing a series to Zimbabwe a loss to West Indies was almost inevitable. A West Indian cricket fan would have hoped for some records to be broken but the one that was achieved would not have brought a smile on the face of anyone from the caribbean islands. West Indies posted their second lowest total ever in the final one day international against Bangladesh- a meagre 61 runs!
Now before I continue, it would be worth noting that this article is not an exaggerated reaction of the events that occurred in the final ODI but simply a look into what West Indies has to face in the coming months. If West Indies cannot withstand Bangladesh’s bowling attack for a single day then they are bound to struggle in the upcoming Tests where the challenge will continue for five days. What’s worse is that if West Indies cannot withstand Bangladesh then they do not stand much of a chance against India in the upcoming Test series. In my mind there are just two names that pop up as an answer to these forthcoming problems, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo.
To think that these two talented cricketers are not required and that young blood is the only way forward would be thinking on the lines of the West Indies Cricket Board. Frankly to live with such thoughts is the equivalent of living in a fool’s paradise. There is no way West Indies can even afford to ignore players of such quality. There was a time when the WICB could be picky and choosy but that was when there was a Viv Richards or a Clive Lloyd certainly not now.
West Indies are no longer the force they used to be, an obvious fact that the WICB must know and more importantly must be willing to face. To throw in a few numbers to prove my point, in the last three years West Indies has not registered a single Test victory outside the caribbean islands. A glance at the stats beyond the three year mark will show that West Indies have recorded just one overseas win out of the 20 Test matches that they have played away from home. This amounts to an appalling 0.09 win-loss ratio. So how then will two men solve a problem that is so grave?
For starters, the one man I named is in the form of his life and to top it all this form has been seen in the subcontinent conditions, the same place West Indies has to play at now, albeit courtesy some T20 cricket. Chris Gayle has been scoring at a blistering rate and more importantly has played quite a few long innings in the shortest format of the game. There is no doubt that his services can be used to good effect in the longest version and in fact his selection in the shorter formats should be a no brainer. Well actually a man who has scored 13 centuries, 33 half centuries and a highest of 333 should walk into the playing eleven of any Test team. Unfortunately the WICB seem to think differently and do not seem to be willing to put egos aside. A clash between the player and the board has led to West Indies losing one of its greatest talents at the moment- a match winner to say the least. Really the WICB must realize that on this occasion the player is bigger than the board. Instead of living in denial the board should really try and resolve the issue at the earliest which according to me is now!
Gayle’s case is clearly an ego clash between the player and the board but then what is stopping the board from selecting Dwayne Bravo? Someone’s got to be blind not to pick a talent like him, a man who can wield the willow and use the cherry cleverly. In my opinion Dwayne is actually better than the man leading this West Indies outfit- Darren Sammy. His batting is surely far superior than the skipper’s, Sammy has a highest of just 48 in Tests and yet he can lead the side whereas 13 half centuries and a highest of 113 is not enough for Dwayne to simply find a place. That is simply bizarre! If West Indies want Sammy to be there leader based on his bowling prowess then so be it, but someone has got to make way for a talented cricketer like Dwayne and there is simply no logical reason as to why he must be left out.
With a poor Test record in the last five years and a tough task ahead West Indies are going to find it very tough to prosper with the current side. I honestly do not see them improving on their record of one away Test victory in five years unless they include class players like Gayle and Dwayne. The WICB needs to awaken from its slumber and needs to start making the right moves. If I was a WICB selector I would take a good hard look at the mirror and ask my self if the decisions being taken out there by my board and I are the right ones.
Shashreek Roy for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Shashreek on Twitter @shashreek

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