THE descent of West Indies cricket will be tested in the T20 World Cup competition 2022, which blasts off on October 16 with the battle of two groups of the weaker eight teams. The first- and second-placed in both groups will confront the other eight sides that have already qualified through having already accumulated enough points to establish themselves in the top bracket of cricket teams globally.
The tournament to settle top priority in the T20 format will take place in Australia. It is sad to reflect that the West Indies cricket team, championship winners as recently as 2012 and 2016, have taken a nose-dive, plummeting to the depths, to an area where they have to fight with other teams that are referred to as minnows.
These are the minor groups:
1) Sri Lanka, UAE, Namibia, Netherlands.
2) WI, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Ireland.
The top two teams in each group will proceed to the higher bracket of teams, which consists of Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, and South Africa.
Observing West Indies’ performances in the recent past in this format, I wonder whether they have the ability, character and cricket intelligence, plus that all-important attitude which is driven by enthusiasm.
A cameo of the cricketers chosen to represent the Caribbean with the hope of doing well enough to earn the respect of other cricket countries is approached with some trepidation. There is nothing they have done in the recent past to give their diehard supporters an inkling of hope for the future. We all cross our fingers and hope that they play beyond expectations and bring joy to our hearts.
Nicholas Pooran, the captain: A talented cricketer. The captaincy seems to have had a deleterious effect on his effectiveness, which is a pity. Now, he has chosen to keep wicket as well as lead the team. The burden of captaincy would be more than he can bear, let alone the tension associated with batting in a T20 match with little time to settle in and build an innings. His batting form at present is very poor.
Rovman Powell, the vice-captain: An unpredictable performer. The hard-hitting right-handed batsman is an inconsistent player who on his day can demolish any bowling attack, not unlike his skipper. A sharp, quick fielder in the deep with a powerful throw.
Kyle Mayers: A left-hander who opens the batting with tremendous vigour. He is in great form at the moment, judging by his performances in the CPL. He also bowls right-handed slow-medium, and is used sometimes to open the bowling with the new ball.
Evin Lewis: A hard-hitting left-handed batsman who could get the innings off to an attacking start, especially with Mayers at the other end. A bit slow in the outfield, but has improved lately.
Brandon King: A talented right-handed batsman who is better than his inconsistency reveals. A useful fieldsman.
Johnson Charles: One who never quite fulfilled his promise as a right-handed opening batsman. He can also keep wicket to back up his captain. Charles has been in shining form during the CPL which persuaded the selectors to include him in the team.
Shimron Hetmyer: An underperformer. He does not concentrate as much as he should. He’s a multi-talented left-handed batsman and, like Pooran, ought to be scoring many more runs than he does.
Alzarri Joseph: A fast bowler who is really quick and his accuracy has improved.
He could be penetrative if used properly.
Jason Holder: The type of cricketer who maintains the enthusiasm that builds confidence in his teammates. A determined all-rounder who can be a batsman in a crisis and his steady bowling is straightforward. A player any captain would love on his team
Sheldon Cottrell and Odean Smith: Natural talent, but need lots of practice to improve accuracy.
Obed McCoy and Raymon Reifer: The latter showed good batting form recently, but his bowling is of no consequence at this level. McCoy is one to note. They’re both fast-medium left-armers.
Akeal Hosein and Yannic Cariah: Hosein, the left-arm orthodox spinner, has come on appreciably.
Cariah is the selectors’ gamble. A leg-spinning all-rounder, he has the character and cricket intelligence which was first noticed when he led the Emerging Players to victory in 2019 in the WI ODI tournament and recently had an excellent game against NZ.
In summary: they don’t seem to have the self-confidence to win tournaments.