VEDANT SHARMA | 8 NOVEMBER, 2018
Can the Windies Rewind and Get Back on Track?
Following a meek surrender in the Test series, the Windies team made a big statement at the start of the five-match ODI series, managing to square it after the first three games.
In both Guwahati and Vizag, the Windies batsmen made the Indian bowlers toil and were able to cross the 300-run mark on both occasions quite comprehensively.
It was rare to see the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal dealt with with such authority, especially on pitches which assist spinners. Hetmyer and Hope were time and again able to deposit the ball into the stands, which speaks to a lot more than just their skill and temperament. The duo have been the flagbearers of this batting resurgence from the visitors. The way they stamped their authority was nothing short of a master class.
However, what followed in the latter half of the series and in the two T20 Internationals played so far has been an absolute turnaround. The three-match T20 series has so far been no different with the Indian team managing to get a series win in the first two games itself.
Anyone watching this team closely would agree that the Windies certainly have some big names and promising stars. Their past accomplishments and the current bunch of players would be a perfect tone for any team to jump to the level they deserve – but not in the case of the men in maroon.
The No. 3 and No. 5 batting spots have always been crucial positions, and for any team to either post or chase a score, it's important to have their best batsman play here, largely because they either need to shape the innings or set the pace. Teams that are doing well in the long run have been lucky to have their best players at these two spots.
For India, it's Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, for South Africa its Faf Du Plessis and JP Duminy, for England its Joe Root and Eoin Morgan. Similarly, for the Windies to replicate their performance against India in the first three ODI games, it's important for Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer to believe it's their responsibility to either put big runs on the board or chase a stiff target.
Belief and Temperament
The West Indies have always been lucky to have good talent born in different eras. Perhaps the only reason for the current team not having been as successful as some of the greats who played the game is one of belief and temperament. The team is lacking in belief, and with the World Cup around the corner, it seems to be the best time for players and management to pick all the scattered bricks and place them together.
It will be important for the Windies to capitalise on their efforts so far and play as a unit in the last T20I against India. Going forward, the idea shouldn't be to win every game but to learn and not repeat the mistakes they have already made.
Relationship between Selectors and Players
Before the start of the T20 series, many cricket pundits were of the opinion that as the format gets shorter, it becomes tougher to beat a side like the Windies. However, the team was able to showcase just the opposite of what everyone was expecting.
The defending T20 World Cup champions didn't perform like champions. And the reason for this seems to be the ‘affectionate’ concordance between the board and the players. The two parties aren't on the same page, because of which the team selection is driven less by performances and more by ego.
The Windies players are supposedly the most loved players in the world, and this is one of many reasons every cricket fan wants them to do well on the biggest stage, the international level. It will be interesting to see if they are able to act according to the requirement of the hour.
Can the Windies team rewind to former times and get back on track?