What’s really going on with the West Indies? A quintessential question that has evaded many an answer for the better part of two decades. And while great results, as frequent as rainfall in dry season, have deceived us into believing we have “turned the corner”, we’re always given a rude reality check when they do the incomprehensible – snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
World Cup 2019 has been a show of ups and downs for the regional boys, with the last trough not showing any signs of an upturn if results are anything to go by.
After game 1, everyone was gung ho about the West Indies. After all, dispatching Pakistan with aplomb was a sign of intent. The bosses of the T20 format were here to make a statement. And we all rallied with them. Then came Australia. A team that would headline many fans’ lists of the most hated cricketing rivals, ever. Victory was the only option, but it was not to be. Not everything should be attributed to the West Indies’ performance, to be fair – unlike the umpiring of the day. With 4 reverted decisions and one blatant missed no-ball that inadvertently cost Gayle his wicket, the West Indies was swimming against the tide. The result of that match though, could have been different if their performance was up to par.
The South Africa game started heavily in their favour but rain was the eventual victor. A game that stalled their momentum, no doubt. And since then the downward turn has not seen an end. England outplayed them and so too did Bangladesh. Perhaps the greatest embodiment of the “snatching defeat from victory” adage was the latter. Bangladesh is no pushover and are dubbed a dark horse of World Cup 2019. Even us supporters of the West Indies wanted Shakib al Hasan et al to do well, albeit not against our own team. And while many have become cricketing experts and voiced their opinions, not all should be taken seriously. However, there were some appalling decisions in that game that left us bewildered, even though we perhaps should not have been.
If the “pace in yuh waist” opening duo of Cotterel and Thomas was working for the most part, why the change against the Bangladeshis? Relieving not one, but both opening bowlers of their duties and giving it instead to Gabriel and himself, captain Jason Holder’s strategy was unexplainable. Moreso given that the end result speaks for itself. Was it that he underestimated the opponent, or took it upon himself to bring home the glory? Whatever the reasoning, it did not work! And now is not the time to play games. Well, you get the point.
After five games, it’s three losses and a solitary win. Much like our oil wealth, the early promise of greatness against Pakistan has fizzled away and now it’s all about clutching at straws. Four opponents remain, including favorites India. New Zealand and Sri Lanka will prove their worth, and Afghanistan is not going down, if ever, without a fight. A dogfight for the top four places seems inevitable, but we are hopeful that the boys in maroon can make our hearts swell with pride on D-Day. After all, our hearts need a break from the heartache of past.
Tomorrow, we tackle the Black Caps – New Zealand. Let’s hope it’s a Saturday showdown worthy of its title, and not a sloppy sideshow that we’ve gotten accustomed to.
And while we risk sounding like a grassroots political supporter thrown by the wayside after elections, our support for the Caribbean side will not waiver.
So, let’s rally ’round the West Indies!