Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Orville Higgins | Don’t get carried away with Windies win

Published:Saturday | June 1, 2019 | 12:00 AM
West Indies’ Chris Gayle plays a shot for four runs during the side’s ICC World Cup opening match against Pakistan at Trent Bridge cricket ground in Nottingham, England yesterday.

After the Windies had that very commendable 2-2 draw with England in their one-day international (ODI) series earlier this year, a new wave of optimism and belief crept into many Caribbean people, including many of my own friends.

A lot of them have the Windies as dark horses to win the ICC World Cup competition now under way in England and Wales. I have been called a killjoy when I have stated that I don’t share their enthusiasm about the Windies’ chance.

The raw facts say that the Windies have not won an ODI series in four years.

We have not won an away ODI series against any creditable opposition for eight years. We suffered the ignominy of having to qualify for the tournament.

Ordinary ODI side

The truth is we have been a very ordinary one-day side for a long time. To suggest that the Windies now suddenly have a chance to win the World Cup because they did well against the high-riding England is more about emotional wishing than any objective cricket analysis. The Windies can go on to win. Upsets happen in sports. After all, Leicester did win the English Premier League, but no objective assessment can give the Windies a realistic chance.

The Windies’ mauling of Pakistan in their opening World Cup game yesterday has made more Caribbean people feel we genuinely have a chance. Again, I advise caution.

Pakistan, like the Windies themselves, blow very hot and cold. They have struggled in recent ODIs and the Windies win must be seen as nothing more than us beating a team that was clearly ill equipped for the contest. Pakistan’s response to our short pitched bowling was embarrassing to say the least. The better teams will not look so inept.

Even though the Windies got the 105 needed in quick time, there is still cause for concern. Chris Gayle is a valuable member of the team. That goes without saying.

His inability to take quick singles, however, could be slightly disconcerting for Shai Hope, the team’s best ODI player. Hope is at his best when he starts by rotating the strike and pushing for ones and twos.

Batting with Gayle, he will have to adjust his style and that could mean he over-attacks too early, as he did yesterday.

The form of Darren Bravo is now reaching crisis levels. How much longer can we persist with a man who is clearly struggling? Even though Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer took us home, at times they appeared too erratic and fidgety for my liking. Both Gayle and Andre Russell are injury concerns, and it might be a good thing that we have almost a week before the next game against Australia, to give them time to heal.

So yes, the team started well, but let us not get carried away. It’s a long tournament.

It is still early days yet.