“Respect, reality and Ramdin – West Indies are much better at ODI’s!”
Colin E. H. Croft
Right! Interests are massive for this One-Day Series, with the acknowledged fact that, with the re-advent of Christopher Henry Gayle to West Indies team sheet, all three games are, more or less, already sold out. That should surprise no-one. Gayle is a master crowd puller and obvious pleaser!
Only 33, in September next – somehow he seems to have been in international cricket much longer than his debut back in 2000 – Gayle has already played 91 Tests, aggregate 6373 runs, avg. 41.65. How West Indies could have used him for batsmanship, maturity and leadership, in especially Tests Nos. 1 and 2!
More particularly, before these ODI’s v England started, Gayle had 8087 runs from 228 ODI’s, avg. 39.06. Bowling, Gayle has been productive too; 156 wickets in ODI’s, economy rate a handy 4.03.
What Gayle must bring immediately, this ODI series, along with obvious runs, is that afore-mentioned maturity that this team needs desperately. All West Indies’ batsmen should learn as much from him as they can, and as they also tried to do in the Tests, from Shiv Chanderpaul, that other “Father Figure!”
Incidentally, Test No 3, England v West Indies, gave unexpected surprises and pleasures, answering important questions for both teams. Given the terrible weather, neither team could have won, but West Indies brought back pride to its cricket, even ahead when the game ended in the predicted draw!
England now has definite thoughts on its modus operandi for Tests to come against South Africa. They must hope, pray even, dearly, that neither Stuart Broad nor James Anderson gets injured in the interim. Steve Finn and Graeme Onions bowled well, initially, but Tests last for five days, not just for five hours!
That West Indies managed 426, having been 280-8 overnight, should have been personal embarrassment to England’s bowlers – Finn, Onions, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann. By end of West Indies 1st innings, they looked ready to be rotated themselves. What has happened to Swann’s bowling?
That garbage that Onions, Finn and especially Swann and Bresnan served up last Sunday was as much fodder as West Indies had become, and produced, in the first two Tests. I like Onions’ bowling style, but if he and Finn are England’s 2nd tier, then Anderson and Broad must be put in golden, not cotton, wool!
Denesh Ramdin’s 2nd Test hundred; only; in 45 Tests, was obviously due to him heeding Sir Vivian Richards’ well deserved rollicking. Before Test No. 3, Ramdin averaged a paltry 22.28 per innings!
Knowing “Uncle Smokie” to be a very impatient man, I am not surprised that, at Trent Bridge, Sir Viv ‘had a few quiet words about Ramdin’s batsmanship.” Those words were obviously pertinent indeed!
The wicket-keeper-batsman may have taken umbrage at that ‘conversation’, his upheld paper sign – “Yea Viv, talk nah!” – when he was at 100 no., showing how severely puffed he may have been!
I really have no problem with Ramdin’s gesture at all, if, as he suggests, he was just “caught up in the moment!” Obviously, he did spoil his moment of achievement, but that could happen to anyone.
Though I will dispute that respect that Ramdin and his captain, Darren Sammy, suggest that their team has for “former greats”, I would suggest that most critics have never played professional sport, so know very little of severe representative stress and adrenalin rushes. Professional sport is not for babies!
I remember former West Indies cricketer, Joe Solomon, chairman of Guyana’s selectors; 1974-5; suggesting, on Joseph “Reds” Perriera’s radio programme, (I heard it myself!), that “Colin Croft does not even deserve to be called for trials for Guyana, much less to be selected to play for Guyana, and possibly play for West Indies!” The rest of that story is history!
I also remember, after getting 8-29 in only my 2nd Test, v Pakistan, 1977, selected at insistences of West Indies captain Clive Lloyd and West Indies Chairman of Selectors, Michael “Joey” Carew, that the language I used to Solomon’s greeting at Timehri Airport could never have been printed anywhere!
Anyway, calypsonians in Trinidad & Tobago would even now be penning compositions for Carnival 2013, probably to include Ramdin’s and Sir Viv’s tete-a-tete. Whatever Sir Viv said, it changed Ramdin’s attitude to his game. Success, so work done!
Tino Best’s batting was a revelation too. He proved that he could bat properly, as boasted to all, but also showed that England’s much vaunted “rotation policy”, and belief that they are so superior, would have to be severely tweaked again, for England’s own good! Sunil Narine’s Test debut was a damp squib, courtesy of excellent footwork from Kevin Peitersen and, for me, England’s most accomplished “in-trouble” batsman, always the man for any crisis; Ian Bell; a player who always produces runs for England when chips are down! Narine also found out that, unlike T-20’s, batsmen in Test cricket would not try to slog his every delivery out of the ground. In the longer form, he would have to do much more than just high flight and slow turn. In Tests, increased speed of delivery is important, along with those named characteristics.
Aggressive openers Lendl Simmons, who missed the Test series with a broken hand, and Johnson Charles, big-hitting Kieron Pollard, effervescent all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, always athletic and talented all-rounders Dwayne Smith and Andre Russell, augment the remaining players already in England. So, much might not have been given to Gayle recently by West Indies Cricket Board, but all concerned, from fans at Rose Bowl, Kia Oval, and Headingley, to cricket lovers world-wide, would certainly hope that Gayle lives up to expectations, and delivers fully. His massive frame could take on such pressures!
West Indies is certainly a better balanced one-day team than for Tests. Sammy always merits his place here, even if Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, even Kieron Pollard, were also in the team, as each could bowl and bat, as situations demand, and field well too; a genuinely team of good all-rounders.
Tino Best, Ravi Rampaul, who is also better in ODI’s than Tests, and, supposedly, a fully recuperated Fidel Edwards, front West Indies’s fast bowling efforts. Watch out for Russell, who could play Tests regularly, had it not been for previously heavily-discussed captaincy appointment of Darren Sammy. Later this year, ICC World T-20 Championship occurs in Sri Lanka. While there would be only one T-20 featuring England and West Indies this tour, at Trent Bridge, expect both teams to use these 50-over games to try to fine-tune their selections for that Lankan competition. Anything goes this ODI series!
England’s premier bowlers Anderson and Broad are in England’s ODI squad. One, even both, might still be rested again this series. No Kevin Pieterson means Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan re-emerge, Morgan having cooled his heels in the recent IPL. Also, look out for England’s captain, Alastair Cook’s batting!
West Indies would be trying to confirm that they are better at ODI’s and T-20’s, than Tests. With that recent tremendously exciting ODI series against Australia; 2-2 and a tie; and T-20 series also drawn, 1-1; along with Coach Ottis Gibson’s re-confirmation, West Indies would feel that they are ready! Enjoy!