Jun 30, 2013 Sports Comments Off on “West Indies v India v Sri Lanka – Another opportunity for West Indies to impress and improve!”
Colin E. H. Croft
Perfect! When making comebacks after serious malfunctions, very good re-starts are vastly important.
West Indies ODI captain Dwayne Bravo, at the preview for West Indies v India v Sri Lanka Tri-Series, did suggest; “We will try to do better,” easily his most sensible comment after Champions Trophy 2013’s exit.
Judging from that first game v Sri Lanka last Friday, it seems captain and team are on a mission to impress. Given West Indians’ ability for selective amnesia, I do not think that they really have to try too hard!
Also, since there had not been not one single public word from Head Coach Ottis Gibson, no explanation whatsoever from captain Dwayne Bravo, not even a normally educated offering from team manager Richie Richardson, about that shambolic debacle in England, perhaps the team wanted to show actions!.
After all, England’s Coach, Ashley Giles, seriously distressed, openly voiced his and team’s vast disappointment at not taking opportunities to win their first ever 50-overs international competition.
South Africa’s coach, Gary Kirsten, went further, downright castigating his charges as “chokers”, a moniker his players absolutely detest. SA only mustered 175, not even batting 50 overs, to lose to India by seven wickets, with seventy-five deliveries remaining – as bad a beating as possible in ODI’s – in their CT2013 semi-final.
Australia went further still. Taking pride, chagrin, history and downright embarrassment, not to mention massive disappointment as defending champions, aboard, they sacked Head Coach Mickey Arthur!
One reason given by Aussie CEO James Sutherland for this decision was that team on-field performances must be paramount and acceptable.
West Indies must have heard that speech too!
As a cricket contest, Sri Lanka were seriously disappointing. In an eleven-man team, they still seem to be much too dependent on just two premier batsman, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. With another exciting stalwart, Tilikeratne Dilshan, missing; injured; it is as if the remaining two world beaters do not make runs, then the team fails. Captain Angelo Matthews tried, but needed much help!
Sunil Narine bowled really well. Most ODI bowlers would take 10-0-40-4 anytime. Actually, he always does when pitches give him additional assistance with bounce, as Sabina Park almost always will. But stifling an always enterprising Sri Lanka to a laborious 208? That was really shocking from the Tigers!
Narine used guile, speed, variety and bounce well, but not that well. Mathews and team must be quite embarrassed. After all, they were handily placed for at least 275, with 15 overs yet to come, at 151-5.
Upal Tharanga, Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal and Mathews all made double figures, two half centuries for “Jaya” and Angelo, the aggregate for these five being 170. The rest just made dribble!
Chris Gayle’s 109, at that continuing excellent strike rate of at least 100%, could not have come at a better time. He has been singularly lacking in recent runs for West Indies. He really needed this big innings!
So, is that all that there is from Sri Lanka? I really believe not. Quickly, they are going to have to regroup. I respect them well enough to know that they are much too proud a cricketing nation to allow this!
Anyway, from a cricketing perspective, there is nothing at stake in this Tri-series, except bragging rights, and making some ‘green’, but West Indies’ timing could be useful, especially for the next several months.
By winning this first game, and hopefully winning the majority of this series, to eventually playing in the final in Trinidad & Tobago next week, the home team could be on a slight roll, with hopeful momentum.
Yes, with much cricket ensuing after this Tri-Series – West Indies v Pakistan, inaugural Caribbean Premier League and Champions League 2013, then New Zealand v West Indies, that immediate launch at Sabina Park could very well have been the start of, pardon the pun, a long, good run of any green!
Also, considering that India, C-T 2013 winners, are ranked No. 1, and Sri Lanka, semi-finalists, are ranked No. 5, West Indies, ranked No. 8, just ahead of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Netherlands and Kenya, has no-where else to go but up from here. This series is a great way to start that promised elevation.
No-one, I am sure, would contemplate anything further down that slope, and while we will not take anything for granted, not at all, not with West Indies cricket, such a good start to this series is a relatively good omen. That is what representatives do; provide these pleasures to those whom they represent!
When West Indies won the first game with a whopping 12.1 overs still to be bowled, they may even have sent some shivers into India’s timbers. Home advantage is probably at least a 12th man, if not better!
My favorite present West Indies player, Marlon Samuels, who had an easy day last Friday, had suggested that West Indies is going places.
There can be no excuses for West Indies to be better now, especially after such a confident, winning start. Today’s game against India will tell tales for the very supporting crowds. Enjoy!
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