“Good cricket by West Indies and Australia, but what about the rules?”
Colin E. H. Croft
Note, please, that Australia’s Head Coach, Mickey Arthur, reminded, when his team arrived weeks ago
for T-20-I’s and ODI’s, that “West Indies should not be underestimated!” The former South African Head Coach was so correct that, unbelievably, West Indies could share the Test series too, later this week!
That is no mean feat. Few expected West Indies to be in this pleasant position against what was supposed to have been a ‘superior’ team in all aspects and formats of the game. They shared T-20-I’s 1-1, and ODI’s 2-2, with one tied. Now, all West Indies must do to draw the Test series is win Test No. 3!
Illustratively, the only truly seasoned West Indies players selected so far, from those available, are the indomitable Shiv Chanderpaul, and still persevering, if unbelievably unlucky, Fidel Edwards. Wrapped around these are players who all try hard, some who seem confused, and a few who are below par!
I hope that no-one is being carried away with these ordinary but encouraging achievements, as this Australian 2012 touring team to West Indies may have massive reputations – all hype – but no real bite! Like West Indies, except for some seasoned performers, they too have been below what is expected!
The veterans, Australia’s Michael Hussey and West Indies’ Chanderpaul, have been so far ahead of the rest of their respective teams that all in each team should simply observe them at the crease, then, at least, try to concentrate and focus on jobs at hand, as they do. Mike and Shiv have been phenomenal!
In that magnificent Test No. 1, in Barbados, which Australia won, by three wickets, Chanderpaul made 103 and 12; Hussey 48 and 32. In Test No. 2, QPO, when both teams were in serious trouble at specific times in the game, the “old men” prospered as if they only really thrived on and relished the challenge!
When Hussey came to the crease; 1st innings, QPO; Australia were wobbling at 167-4. When he made his first error, dismissed for 73, his team was a respectable 297-7.
He must have known that a 1st innings score over 300 could, possibly would, be a match-winning innings. Hussey batted brilliantly!
Chanderpaul’s and West Indies’ case was worse. “Tiger” came to the crease with West Indies on their knees; 38-3. When he too was flummoxed into his error, by Nathan Lyon, he had made 94, West Indies within striking distance of Australia’s 311, at 231-6. Unfortunately, his team soon capitulated badly too!
Hussey and Chanderpaul have proved their almost invincibility, effectiveness, usefulness and value as only few anywhere in world cricket can do. Kemar Roach and Ben Hilfenhuis have also done quite well, with the ball, for their respective teams. At least these relative youths are showing their mettle too!
Roach is fast approaching cult status. Getting ten wickets at QPO is not at all easy to do. Only few West Indians have achieved that. Roach always looks purposeful, focused and determined. While some question his languid, lethargic approach to the bowling crease, his missiles normally strike home well!
Hilfenhuis is different, depending much more on normal swing, especially on these lifeless West Indies pitches – if you are a fast bowler – to get batsmen out.
With leaden feet, West Indies top order batsmen have, time and again, been badly found out against sustained swing, even if Hilfenhuis is not that quick!
So, I am convinced that International Cricket Council comprises of personnel who had no toys as youths! Their much publicized and terribly maligned Decision Review System, (DRS), unless fully – I mean 100% – implemented, with all of its components, simply – there is no other way to put this – does not work!
Worse than that is that Match Officials seem fully outwitted, or is that dimwitted, by their own importance. How could any presiding match official decide that, if this so super DRS is not operational, that the damned cricket should not go on? Where does cricket get these arrogant incompetents from?
As former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding said on commentary for Test No 2, Queen’s Park Oval, “Test cricket has been played since 1877/78, with West Indies playing from 1928. How come match officials cannot start a game-day on time because of mal-functioning of a tool invented in 2008?”
How indeed! Imagine this then! You are travelling over some ‘pond’ – Atlantic, Indian or Pacific Ocean, or even Caribbean Sea – when Captain or Co-Pilot of your Boeing 777, or type which Caribbean Airlines will soon use to fly to London, in June; Boeing 767; informs that one of the two main engines had failed!
Do you think that the flight crew would simply suggest then that “we all gon now dead?” Far from that! Training and experience kick in, sequences that begun with single-engine aircraft up to big jets. Not always easily, they do what they must do.
They fly the aircraft, on one engine, until they can land safely!
How dare these idiots that run international cricket decide that they, as impudent as they are, could not start cricket, on time, with the sun sizzling down, because there was no electricity to run the minimal parts of the DRS system used at QPO? What gives these people the right to desecrate cricket at all thus?
Umpires have been doing their duty, from clubs and schools, to Test cricket, for eons. While it does take some time to respect and trust international umpires, most are fully respected and trusted, as most players know that, regardless, umpires are trying their best, even if they sometimes make mistakes too!
For high-lighting the very obvious limitations of precious, present DRS system, as used for West Indies v Australia, West Indies Head Coach Ottis Gibson has been fined – punished – for telling the ICC that their system does not work. There really is some merit to that saying that “the law is an ass!” Or is that ICC?
As a great friend of mine who captains B-777’s regularly over ‘ponds’, suggested, “If I ran my flights as ICC runs world cricket, I and many would be dead every week!” Enough said! It really is quite stupid that ICC chooses to ‘punish’ cricketing personnel who actually try to bring this game from disrepute!
Anyway, we can only hope that Windsor Park in Dominica provides a sparkling track, with consistent bounce and speed. West Indian spinners, none of them, are presently good enough to dismiss this Australian team twice in one game, so let the more successful fast bowlers have some help, please!
West Indies batsmen need more consistency than they have produced. Darren Bravo and perhaps recently reprieved Narsingh Deonarine have had starts, but not continuing on. The younger top order batsmen have all struggled, while captain Darren Sammy should, by now, realize that swiping is dumb!
Test No. 3 may again come down to Chanderpaul and Hussey for respective teams, but if West Indies could win this final Test, it would bode well for immediate and distant future too, since it would indicate that resilience, team unity and understand game parameters are getting into their minds well. Enjoy!