Jan 15, 2016 Sports
What cricket means to West Indians – Part 13
By Sean Devers
The ongoing contract dispute between the WICB and WIPA resulted in a depleted team,
minus all but three of the original players selected for the tour, being selected for the two-test series in Sri Lanka.
Lara, Sarwan and Gayle were among those who refused to sign their contracts causing the WICB to pick a third string team after some of the senior players in the ‘A’ team which was also in Sri Lanka, refused to sign their contracts.
However, the senior team manager Tony Howard arrived in Sri Lanka ahead of the team and after meeting with the ‘A’ team players got eight of them to join the senior team. The senior squad was announced in the middle of the 2nd ‘A’ team Test causing friction in the team and disrupting a side which had won the first ‘A’ team ‘Test’.
Skipper Chanderpaul, Denish Ramdin and Daren Powell of those originally selected signed their contracts but Chanderpaul was accused of being ‘selfish’ by WIPA. He defended his decision by saying that his job was to play cricket and that was all he wanted to do.
It was not surprising that the team lost both of their test matches in Sri Lanka despite an impressive bowling performance from the make shift side. Also on that tour, Guyana’s opener Ryan Ramdass became the 264th player to make his test debut for the West Indies and the 56th West Indian test debutant at that time since Sherwin Campbell played his first test in 1995. This has been Ramdass’ only test to date.
FULL STRENGHT SIDE JOURNEY DOWN UNDER
With the senior players, including Lara, Sarwan and Gayle, back in the squad, the West Indies, with Chanderpaul retained as skipper and Sarwan appointed Vice-Captain, journeyed ‘down under’ for a three-test series in November 2005 hoping to capitalize on Australia’s recent defeat to England in the Ashes series.
Another uninspiring performance resulted in the West Indies losing the first test by 379 runs in four days as Ricky Ponting scored centuries in each innings of the match for the ruthless Aussies.
While Devon Smith scored a first innings half-century and Lara (1st innings) and Chanderpaul (2nd innings) appeared to be unlucky to be given out LBW, the West Indies were totally outclassed in every department of the game.
West Indies lost the second test by nine wickets as a record West Indies seventh wicket partnership away from home of 182 runs between the two youngest members of the team (22-year-old Dwayne Bravo & 20-year-old Dinesh Ramdin) forced the match into the first session of the final day.
Bravo hit his second test ton (113) while Ramdin made 71 after Lara, on 45 was erroneously given out by the umpire for the third time in four innings in the series. The lower order fight back was encouraging but the paltry 149 in the first innings after electing to bat was really the beginning of the end for the Caribbean side.
LARA IS TEST CRICKET’S LEADING RUN SCORER
The final Test off the 2005 series at Adelaide will be remembered for the magnificent double century from the incomparable Lara who passed Alan Border’s 11, 174 runs to become the leading scorer in the history of Test cricket.
Bravo showed his all-round worth with a five-wicket haul while Ramdin again looked good both in front and behind the stumps. The Caribbean team showed spurts of fight and passion associated with their predecessors but lacked their consistency as they crashed to another big defeat; losing by 10 wickets with nearly two sessions to spare.
Although unimaginative captaincy and the lack of consistent performances from the players resulted in a 3-nil series defeat to the best team in the world. The sweetness of the Australian triumph was however diluted by a succession of umpiring errors, most of which went against the West Indies.
WEST INDIES SINK TO ALL-TIME LOW OF EIGHT SUCESSIVE TEST DEFEATS
When West Indies lost by 10 wickets in the second test in New Zealand, the team had lost a record eight consecutive test matches and it appeared that there was nothing skipper Chanderpaul and his all-Australian coaching staff could do to arrest the terminal decay destroying West Indies cricket.
Since test cricket was first played in 1877 only modern day minnows Zimbabwe (11) and Bangladesh (21) have lost more than eight consecutive test matches.
The West Indies defeat at the Basin Reserve in March 2006 ensured the once proud Caribbean side joined England (who lost successive eight test matches 85 years before) and South Africa who lost eight straight tests between 1889 and 1898) as the only other sides to lose eight tests in a row.
A 148-run first wicket partnership between Gayle and the re-called Daren Ganga was wasted as the West Indies lost the first test as Shane Bond only needed two balls to Lara to dismiss him twice in the match. His second innings first ball duck; bowled behind his back, was only the third time that the batting maestro had been dismissed first ball in a test innings. At age 31, Ian Bradshaw became the 265th West Indian test player when he made his debut in the first test of the 2006 New Zealand tour.
Chanderpaul, looking increasingly out of his dept as a leader, seemed under real physiological pressure and his second innings demise in the second test for 35 was his 13th consecutive test innings without a half-century. His square-on stance and deteriorating technique against high paced balls leaving him outside off stump were concerns for the left-hander.
The beleaguered skipper, nursing an injured ankle, was run out in almost comical circumstances in the final test which rain helped the West Indies draw. Chanderpaul was caught ball watching as Morton played the ball to mid-on and found himself and Morton heading for the non-strikers end when Chanderpaul realized that he could not beat the throw to the strikers’ end.
T.V replays were called for to determine which batsman reached his ground first and Chanderpaul was eventually sent packing for two. In 1998-99 West Indies lost six consecutive matches (five against South Africa and one against Australia) while in 2000-01 they lost seven in a row (two to England and five to Australia).
The eight straight defeats in 2005-06 was unprecedented and condemned Chanderpaul to the holder of an unwanted record of being the first West Indian captain to lose eight consecutive test matches.
How they lost eight in a row: 136-run defeat to Pakistan (Kingston), Six wicket defeat to Sri Lanka (Colombo), 240-run defeat to Sri Lanka (Kandy), 379-run defeat to Australia (Brisbane), Nine wicket defeat to Australia (Hobart), Seven wicket defeat to Australia (Adelaide), 27-run defeat to New Zealand (Auckland), 10-wicket defeat to New Zealand (Wellington).
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