Blog by: Rohinee
After the 2-0 whitewash that the West Indian cricket team suffered at the hands of India, the promise of the ODI series seemed to be paling even before the start of the series. The West Indian test team looked to be lack-lustre, without self-confidence and uninspired; a fact that India used to their very advantage. The three-match ODI series thus looked to be an extension of the haplessness of the West Indians, a prospect no cricket fan relished.
The West Indian team suffered from an unexpected loss of value addition to its team with Chris Gayle left injured thanks to his scramble for a non-existent run in the first ODI. Already reeling with a comparatively lesser-impactful side that seemed to wilt under pressure, the onus came to the shoulders of Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Darren Sammy and Darren Bravo to ensure that their team didn’t suffer from additional insult in the ODI series.
Amongst these, it was perhaps Bravo who outshone the rest making 160-runs in the three matches. He was probably the only West Indian batsman who troubled the Indian bowlers the most even as the rest fell without offering any resistance. In his speech following the second test match, the West Indian captain had a lot to say about how the West Indians could learn from the Indians. But looking at the West Indian performance in the ODI series, it felt as though the West Indians were falling short of essential competitiveness from within themselves.
Considering that the West Indians have yet another tour lined up – to New Zealand – immediately following their tour to India, their attitude seemed completely at odds to their professional commitments. In contrast, observing the Indians, it became quite obvious that the Indian team wasn’t really taking its opponents lightly. It was apparent that the team wanted to win the ODI series and take the momentum forward to South Africa where a greater test awaited them.
Complacency wasn’t visible and each member of the squad contributed equally leaving no doubts in the minds of everyone about their superiority on the playing field. The West Indians may still rue about Chris Gayle’s forced absence but fact remains that even without his presence, if the West Indians had managed to come up with enough resistance, they could have given India a much tougher fight.
Following the West Indians’ win in the second ODI at Vizag, excitement seemed to return to the Indo-West Indian cricketing melee but any hopes that one might have harboured about a potential West Indian fight-back was soon lost at the way their batsmen floundered. Thus, though the West Indian bowling ranks consisting of Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine, Jason Holder, Dwayne Bravo and Veeraswamy Permaul may have come up with a distinctly better performance than their batting counterparts, the latter’s inability to provide a good total upped the onus on their shoulders. Suffice to say, that the Indians were able to exploit this loophole in the West Indian ranks to their full advantage.
This series also emphasised the mire that West Indian cricket is entangled in presently. Though the team has won the last T20 World Cup and has several star players representing IPL teams, its performances in two of cricket’s oldest formats are dipping to new lows. While it has often been stated about the West Indians’ attraction towards T20, the failure of the team players to compensate equally in ODIs and tests has definitely impacted the credibility of the team. This has also in turn pulled the team down in the cricketing rankings making them a mediocre squad.
Looking back at the legacy that West Indies has given to the cricketing world, this transformation is a huge letdown, not just for the country’s cricketing future, but also for its past players who were excellent in all forms of the game existing at that point. This lack-lustre series thus is an eye-opener for West Indian cricket. Their cricketing fortunes may not be what it used to be a couple of decades ago, but ensuring that their fortunes are reversed is well within their grasp. All it needs is motivation and the desire and will to change.