THE “MIGHTY” DOWNFALL - The Caribbean Catastrophe

Take a brief look at what is going wrong with WI Test endeavors, what are the bright spots in the Team and their inevitable and impeccable dominance in the T20 format of Cricket.


The West Indies team was undoubtedly one of the strongest teams the world had ever seen. They dominated both the Test and ODI cricket. The world has spectacled many legends hailing from the WI. To name some are Sir Garfield Sobers, Brian Lara, Clive Lloyd, Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Curtly Ambrose, Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh, and Sir Viv Richards. Indeed, they have all been inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame- the most prestigious fame which had ever enticed a cricketer!
But, now let’s speculate the current scenario of the ‘Mighty-windies’. As of 5 October 2016, The West Indian cricket team is ranked 8th in Tests, 9th in ODIs and 4th in T20Is - ICC.
The devalued and gloomy numbers above there, signify the downfall in a dramatic fashion.


PROBABLE REASONS:



Improper Functioning Cricket Board:: As a frequent spot of controversies, WICB had yet again attracted cricketing world’s attention when Darren Sammy and Co. gave their opinions on the deteriorating and weak support from the Board. “There is a desperate need for the remodeling of WICB”- they said. There have been many priceless gems in the WI, and indeed many more can upspring from the WI soil, if the WICB supports their team with lucrative contracts, deserving salaries and proper services.
Incomplete Infrastructure: There is a strong demand for better-quality of pitches. Because the more better the pitches will be, the more better the batsmen turn out to be, Practice will be conducted in an efficient & effective way- which is the most integral aspect of any sports team. Practice do polishes the players and make them future ready.
 Improper practice and cricket infrastructure have led to Improper Talent Acquisition which causes burden over the board when the veterans misfire. Also, there should be a backup of suitable number of cricketers, as there is always a need to train the youngsters for the sake of future cricketing prospects.
The practice facilities also have to be remodeled. More academies, more clubs, and associations have to be established in order to grasp the talent from the grass-root level until the shining tenure the cricketer will one day acquire.


Phill Simmons during a Press conference, 2016,


Phil Simmons, the West Indies head coach, has expressed concern over the inconsistent nature of the team's performances over the course of the Test series recently played- "Things like our pitches and our practice facilities need to be better, a lot better, in order to produce players, not just fast bowlers as we're lacking now, but batsmen, because the better the pitches the better batsmen show themselves. Little things like that we need to put in place. The gap between [Test cricket] and our cricket needs to be filled, whether it can be done with an academy, which we don't have right now, A-team cricket, which we have one [series] a year, we should have two to three a year. Something has to be done to fill that gap, you know? We're missing a few things.Other measures, he said, would include improving the facilities all around the region."- Simmons states


BRIGHTER SIDE:

Though the Windies have had catastrophic decline in Tests, their control seemed inevitable in limited overs cricket. Not convincingly as such in ODI’s, but the world acknowledges their dominance in T20’s. Let’s have a brief look over the stats and info which speak all but truth.
ODI Restoration:
In the west-indies team, there are many star-studded superstars who have proved their mettle all round the globe. But what keeps their fate slender is their inconsistency!
Though to name some of the West-Indies ODI Star-Batsmen , There is the all-rounder-Keiron Pollard, The world’s fiercest ball hitter and unstoppable athlete- Andre Russell, The all famous -Chris Gayle, The concrete- Marlon Samuels, The future-Carlos Braithwaite, The brandisher-Andre Fletcher, The bold opener-Johsnon Charles, The magician-Sunil Narine, The surprise-leggie-Devendra Bishoo, The left-orthodox tower -Suleiman Benn, The young speedster- Jerome Taylor, The slingshot-Shannon Gabriel, there is a plethora of talent in WI.
 But being the format which itself is an amalgam of patience and explosion; Skill and Power, the Windies are finding a hard time to switch and keep juggling with the mentalities. With proper guidance and experience, it would seemingly uplift the condition positively of the ODI deterioration.


TEST Resurrection:

The Wall of the team- Kraigg Braithwaite, The stylish southpaw- Darren Bravo {which hails down from the blood-lines of Brain lara}, The all-rounder- Roston Chase, The technical explosive middle-order- Jermaine Blackwood, The captain having the reins of the white-shirts - Jason Holder, etc are the distinguished part of the transforming Windies test cricketing team.
The recent test series against India and Pakistan have indeed retrofitted their hops for the betterment of Windies Test cricket in the future. The performance of the team is a bit luke-warm in nature. But as similar to Sri-lanka’s team, which has been heavily studded by the youngsters due to the retirements of veterans Jayawardene & Sangakarra, WI team also is going through the same transformation period. Considering the Youth Factor in the team {which points to one highlighted factor: Lack of experience}, WI will have to hold their expectations until the team attains required experience in the hardest and longest format of the game. Brian Lara, Curley Ambrose, etc. and the cricketing world has always cherished the WI team in Tests. They now have imbibed faith amongst the players, and lets’ hope for the most optimistic outcome as the world loves this team!


T20 Prowess:

Not all things are miserable though, their impeccable ascend in the T20’s {- the utmost popular format of cricket} has arguably made them the KINGS of T20’s.
When Twenty20 cricket began to be contested with its full force beginning with the 2007 World Twenty20 in South Africa, the West Indies began to develop and realize their potential. They initiated to experiment and swiftly grasped the reins of dominance in this format.
After a subtle observation, we come to the matter of fact that -The West Indian batsmen has emphasized on Power rather than technical skill- an adaption which has rewarded them handsomely after getting crowned at the ICC T20 WC 2016 INDIA.
Clearing the boundary ropes never looked so onefold, when these big shots had their large-timber in the hand. Baam! T20 format is arguably all about Power and the Windies thankfully has a genuine powerhouse which has been unleashing dynamites since the format’s inception. There is indeed a long-list of spearheads which have taken WI team to a paramount level of exhibiting T20 power.
Due to their glittering proficiency in this renowned format, they have been awarded most lucrative contracts ranging from IPL, PSL, BPL, BBL, etc.


T20 WINS and CUPS:

At the 2012 World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, the Windies thrashed Australia in the semifinals and then beat the hosts by 32 runs to win their third ICC world championship and their first since Richards, Holding, Lloyd and Co. had won the 1979 World Cup.
In the 2016 World Twenty20, they beat host India in the semifinals after a scintillating successful chase and were still cheered back at their hotel by local and traveling fans as they advanced to face England in the final, which they won by four wickets after the mighty Carlos Brathwaite hit four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes with 19 runs required off the final over. In contrast to being 8th in the ICC Test Rankings and 9th in the ICC ODI Rankings, the Windies entered the match as 2nd in the ICC T20 rankings behind only India. But in coming future, they do have the vacancy there at the top- thanks to their hard-hitters, pace-bowlers, agile fielding athleticism, and handy-spinners.
In the ICC T20 WC 2016, West Indies recorded a historic milestone. They clinched all 3 spots of winners in the T20 format. The U-19 Youth team, The Women’s’ Team and The Men’s’ Team, all three were crowned as winners in the ICC WT20 India 2016. This clearly signifies their upcoming endeavors will be nothing – but a heavy package of wins!


WHAT THE WORLD SAYS:



Pakistan’s Test Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq has shown disappointment over the downfall of once-mighty West Indies after Pakistan achieved a series-clinching win in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Pakistan thumped West Indies by 133 runs on the fifth and final day to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
The defeat is West Indies’ 19th in their last 29 Tests since November 2013, having won only four and drawn the remaining six. It is in total contrast to the West Indies team of the 1980s, when under Clive Lloyd’s captaincy they were an indomitable force at international level, going undefeated in 27 Tests from January 1982 to December 1984.
Misbah commented with a note of sigh as he stated “That’s bit disappointing and if you see their strength in international cricket they were always a force but now they are having a downfall. They are a young side with some players performing well in bits and pieces at the moment. They will become a good side but at the moment they are lacking experience.”


WHAT THE WI SKIPPER SAYS:



Jason Holder has now faced eight defeats in 11 Tests as captain but he feels there are signs of improvement. “It is a young and inexperienced squad so it will take some time to get the results we have been looking for. We have been in the position of inconsistency for the last number of years so I don’t feel any pressure,” said Holder, who was appointed captain last year.
He further stated “I am here to do a job and I am trying to do as best as possible. It’s almost a decade since we have been struggling. We are in a situation where we are trying to get things right.
It will take some time for these boys to get nourished and developed and we have to give them that opportunity to do so. If you have watched our cricket for the last couple of months then we have shown signs of improvement. Everyone wants to see a strong West Indies side like we had in the past. Right now it’s really a big disappointing factor for all of their fans.”



Unanimously, the cricket fans wish for the West Indies-who always have entertained with their scintillating performances; a Bright, Prestigious and Successful endeavor in the world’s most popular sport- Cricket!




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