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Can The Caribbean Redeem?

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2015-01-13 02:50:00
Can The Caribbean Redeem?

Amidst series of controversies West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced its 15 member Squad for ICC world Cup 2015. The young West Indian fast bowler Jason Holder has been nominated as the Captain and the 15 members’ squad has excluded immediate past Captain Dwayne Bravo and aggressive middle order batsman Kieron Pollard.

West Indies Squad: Jason Holder (capt),Marlon Samuels (vice-capt),Chris Gayle,Darren Bravo,Lendl Simmons,Dwayne Smith,Andre Russell,Darren Sammy, Jonathan Carter,Denesh Ramdin (wk),Sunil Narine,Sheldon Cottrell,Kemar Roach,Jerome Taylor,Sulieman Benn.

West Indies is a team that can do or undo anything in world cricket. They can roll over any team anywhere in the world on any day .They can also get them pulverized against any opposition at any time.In 1970s and 1980s they were a formidable force in world cricket, The team of late 1970s to mid-eighties was arguably the best in the history of world cricket .Such a lethal combination of fearsome foursome fast bowlers , such a galaxy of attractive stroke play makers , wonderful athletes may not happen in a team ever .They so easily won the first two version of World Cricket –Prudential World Cup played in Whites in England. They also stormed in the final at Lords in 1983.

West Indies to cricket is what Brazil to football. Samba is synonym of Brazilian football, Calypso is that for Caribbean cricket.So many immortal cricket legends West Indies produced over the years .Headley ,Walcott ,Worrel Weeks , Sobers ,Kanhai ,Butcher ,Nurse ,Lloyd ,Lawrence Rowe ,Kallicharan , Greenidge, Haynes , King, Lara , Richardson Hall ,GriffithGibbs, ,Gilchrest ,Ramadhin, Valentine ,  Roberts ,Marshall ,Holding ,Croft ,Garner ,Ambrose ,Walsh –how many one can name . There were so many idols, so many role models .For playing cricket only so many countries share love and passions together.

A lot is going on in West Indies’ cricket at present. Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have been left out of the squad. Bravo and Pollard can walk into any team or playing XI at any time in limited over version of the game on any wicket and environment. They are match winners .Unless they are injured or there are reasons for disciplinary actions ignoring them cannot be considered as smart action.West Indian selector must have genuine reason for omitting them. The team had to abandon a series against India over situation created from payment disputes. Bravo and Pollard was allegedly involved for instigation. But while announcing the squad nothing has been stated about them.

Even without the two the team has enough quality players which can admirably contest the best of the best of world cricket in limited over version of the game. The way they crushed strong South Africans in their back yard in the back to back T 2o matched must serve as wake up call for all opponents in the ensuing world cup. Blaster Chris Gayle is cool killer .He can strike below the belt any bowling attack on his day with his unstoppable array of strokes. At this moment he is the most destructive batsman of world cricket. His partner Dwayne Smith is bit more orthodox but nevertheless aggressive batsman.Lendl Simmonsis another talented option for opening the innings. Vice-Captain Marlon Samuels can be equally explosives as a batsman and can be very effective as a miserly spinner who can be relied upon for taking wickets also.Daren Bravo has the look and style of West Indian legend Brain Lara .Much is expected of him in the middle order.

Captain Jason Holder will have his hands full. It is too soon to judge whether this is the correct move for such a big tournament because he is quite young. And with whatever has been happening off the field, the dressing room will not be a comfortable place to be in. It is plain to see from Chris Gayle’s reaction in South Africa that players are disgruntled.  Natural genius in the Caribbean side need a settled dressing room for performing as an unit .How far this will be possible is anybody’s guess at this moment.

It is very reassuring that X-Factor Sunil Narine is back. Legend Viv Richard was baffled with the way his action was deemed illegal in a domestic tournament because he has been playing in another domestic event for so many years. He questioned the timing of reporting of his bowling action. Viv pointed out that, over the years a lot of players with such – and possibly worse – actions have escaped attention. However, his return is a big boost to West Indies camp.

He is capable of taking wicket on any surface. The best of him will cause headache for all opposition. The success of his team will largely depend on him getting settled into the tournament.

Gayle is back with a bang .The manner he destroyed Proteas in the T20s must have served wake up call for all opposition. It is always a pleasure to watch him bat and see him play for the West Indies, Dwayne Smith is a very talented player and he now has the opportunity to showcase it on a world stage. He is an explosive batsman, a magnificent fielder and can bowl a few overs. There is also Marlon Samuels who is a class batsman and quite handful with his spin and that will also be a bonus for the team. Lendl Simmons is aggressive and Darren Bravo is stylish, and both are good batsmen who will like the hard, bouncy wickets in Australia and New Zealand. Bravo is returning to the side after a long absence and will be looking forward to show his worth. Dinesh Ramdin is a very experienced player and he is now rid of the captaincy burden. If he can find a good run of form, he will prove to be a very handy player.

The bowling unit if not brilliant cannot be taken at all lightly.. Along with Holder, there is Jerome Taylor who is returning to the side. He looks fit and hungry. Kemar Roach is on song is among the quickest bowlers in the world.

With players like Gayle, Samuels, Darren Bravo, Simmons and Narine, West Indies has a crucial mixture of experience along with the desire to prove something. There can be no other target than winning the tournament, of course. They are good fielders, and if they can be disciplined in both batting and bowling, they can go the distance.

West Indies is in Group B alongside with South Africa, India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland and UAE.Many will consider South Africa and India advancing to semifinal from the group. But two unpredictable teams in the group West Indies and Pakistan are also very strong in limited version and must not be ignored .They are quiet capable of beating any side on their day and may spoil the party of favorites.

West Indies could not win any world cup after conceding the final to India in third world cup. They could not even feature in the finals .Who knows this time when they are least expected may surprise many.

BDST: 1349 HRS, JAN 13, 2015

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