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Sunday, December 2, 2012


All of a sudden, the West Indies cricket team has fallen from the summit of success to the valley of failure; and we are beginning to become baffled again.

A few weeks ago, we were basking in the glory of the T20 Championship success; we followed that up with a comprehensive 2-0 Series win in the recently concluded Test series against Bangladesh. The captain felt so confident about continued success that he predicted a 5-0 whitewash in the ongoing ODI series.

But the fortunes have reversed in dramatic fashion; and it is the West Indies facing the prospect of a whitewash in the hands of Bangladesh. We have lost both the first and second ODI's. In the second one we were thrashed by 160 runs - a record for Bangladesh!

West Indies is currently rated number 8 in the ODI world ranking and our standard of play in the current ODI series against Bangladesh is a glowing tribute to that ranking. We were 7 or 8 in the T20 but shocked the cricketing world with success. Consequent upon the Test Series win over Bangladesh, we earned a couple of points but remained at number 8 in the test rankings.

What is the Windies problem? Why is our performance like "wave action"? One moment, we are at the crest crushing everything in our path and the other moment, we are at the trough being unbelievably crushed by even the weakest team. Yes! One moment we play like we are the best in the world and the other moment, we play like “boy scouts” who have never played cricket before.

If you followed the recent test series, you would surely notice that the success of the team in the two test against Bangladesh was built among five batsman and two bowlers: Chanderpaul, Bravo, Powell, Ramdin and Samuel; and Tino Best (and to some extent Veerasammy and Edwards). Only two of the successful batsmen (Samuel & Bravo) were retained for the ODI series and Tino Best - whose bowling "bursts and spurts" posed considerable difficulty to the Bangladeshi batsmen - was inexplicably omitted.

Despite all the “mystery” about his bowling, Narine has been unimpressive so far. Gayle too has not produced; Sammy has been ordinary. To complicate matters, Pollard and Russell - despite their recent sequence of failure - were inexplicably brought into the team.

So where does the problem lie? Is it with the players or selectors? Your judgment is as good as mine!

I want to argue that West Indies performances in the T20 Championship and the Test Series against Bangladesh were just snippets of success of a powerful lineup on paper. The manner in which we crashed in the first two ODI’s must send us back to the drawing board for review, for it is so "un-natural" for a team loaded with such overwhelming talent to be struck by the gravity of failure so easily and suddenly.

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