Matter of pride for struggling West Indies

03 Jun 2011 by Vishal Chandan in India vs West Indies 2011
Suresh Raina & Darren Sammy

Suresh Raina & Darren Sammy

India already reached West Indies a couple of days back but the hype around it isn’t the same as the expectations. Shocked, right? West Indies team has gone from being the example of dominance to being casted as the side easy to beat.

West Indies – India matches have always been one to look forward to. West Indies dominated world cricket for almost more than a decade during the late seventies and early eighties until India defeated them in the final of world cup in 1983. An unbeatable side, West Indies beaten by an underdog in the final of a world cup was an unimaginable but a sight to look at and a splendid clash anticipated in the upcoming years.

Except for Sunil Gavaskar, who played well above the expectations when it came to playing against West Indies playing splendid cover shots and hooks, the West Indian pacemen which included legends like Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and many others demoralized the Indian batting line-ups along with Amarnath who was an exceptional player of pace. Brain Lara’s comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar were nothing but comparisons between two players filled with talent and idiosyncrasies which drove them to practice all day long to become what they are. Sir Vivian Richard can never be count out whether whichever is the country playing against him.

Though this clash went on faltering and never could live upto its expectations as it went by, as the West Indian side kept on losing its dominance. They went from riches to rags by the time the 20th century started. And with Lara’s retirement and West Indies not producing enough fast-paced battery that can actually inflict fear in the minds of people, the matches between hasn’t been able to create much excitement in the second half of the last decade atleast.

On top of that, West Indies Cricket Boards (WICB) hasn’t been able to work well. Their constant fights with WIPA and consistently not being to be able to take proper decisions & get in players who would be able to change the phase of cricket in country. Them being clueless about how to take the game forward in the country and trying new approaches like youngsters being the core part of the team by axing the senior players, led to the destruction of the team. Axing players like Shivnaraine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan & row of fights over club v/s country with Chris Gayle have had a major impact on the game of cricket in the country.

While West Indies was one of the major concern and a team to defeat, time hasn’t remained the same since years. Even most of the Indian senior players have decided to opt out of the squad to tour West Indies even though it’s just for the ODIs. All the senior players including Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni and India’s pace spearhead Zaheer Khan. Though I don’t blame these players for missing the tours as it has been extremely tight schedule, as they’ve had back to back tours including the South African series, WORLD CUP and IPL and even the fact that it’s good to give the youngsters international exposure atleast in front of weaker teams.

Though the West Indian side does look like a struggling side but with cricket, uncertainties are always possible. But West Indian side do show some promises with the names of Darren Bravo who certainly just look like a re-incarnation of Brain Lara. Along with him are Darren Sammy and Devendra Bishoo too looking quite promising. But with Chris Gayle’s ouster, who has been in top form in the just concluded IPL, from the 1st two ODIs atleast, it would have been a decision tough to make.

Indians are geared up too for the series with Suresh Raina leading up front. West Indies team would be approaching this series to be played basically for pride because of the way senior international players have approached the series against them along with an opportunity for youngsters to step up and take the responsibility. However, for Indians it is basically an opportunity to test their pool of players. A clash between the depleted Indian side and a struggling West Indian side, it’s going to be a treat to watch.


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