Twice in two games, West Indies were in with a great chance of upsetting South Africa in the T20 series being played in their own backyard. However, on both occasions, they squandered the opportunity, and were left licking their wounds.
This is nothing new to Caribbean cricket, and their unlucky fans, who have to be part of this ignominy time and again. This, indeed, has been the story of Windies cricket for the past decade and a half. And, under the current circumstances, there is very little chance of things improving in the future.
The major problem with West Indies cricket is no so much of talent as it of attitude. As skipper Chris Gayle said after the loss in the second match, the players need to look into themselves and try to redeem themselves.
This wont be easy though as the players have got used to making losing a seriously consistent habit, and mostly from a winning position. There is too much of negativity and lack of confidence around the squad.
What else can explain the inability of their batsmen to chase down 137 and 120 in a T20 game? True, the pitches weren’t exactly the best for T20 cricket. Still, both targets were achievable, more so since they are playing in home conditions.
Coming to the players there is too much dependence on Gayle, another throwback to the 90s when Brian Lara was the sole warrior for the side, and West Indies more often than not needed him to perform miraculous feats to achieve wins.
Despite his experience, Gayle is nowhere near the class of Lara, and lacks his consistency as well, which makes matters far more worse. Thus, every time he fails, the West Indies look like a bunch of players from a minnow side, and slide to embarrassing lows.
The disaster in the T20 World Cup was a glaringly reminder, and the way they have started in the ongoing serious against the Proteas gives one a strong sense of déjà vu.
The saddest part of West Indies never-ending decline is that there is dearth of talent as such in the side, but somehow they just cannot get their act together, or rather are not wholeheartedly dedicated to the cause of reviving their team’s fortunes.
Take the case of Dwayne Bravo. The genuine all-rounder, in spite of all the experienced gained over the years, hasn’t quite turned out to be the match-winner he truly can, and one West Indies desperately need, apart from Gayle. This is not to say that he hasn’t been performing consistently.
He has been among the better performers for his side in recent years. However, he is yet to take the lead to the next level. He is destined for greater things, but keeps falling short just like in the last match, where he top-scored but couldn’t secure the elusive win for his side.
Bravo is not the only one to be blamed for yet another Windies debacle though. The skipper Gayle himself needs to start look beyond batting and inspire some confidence in his rather inexperienced mates. And, for this, he will need the full backing of senior teammates like Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan.
All the infighting within the team and issues with the board need to be put on the back burner for a start. What West Indies need most is eleven players who are cent per cent dedicated to the cause of winning. The results might still not come. But, at least the beleaguered fans will be able to appreciate the effort that was put in.
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