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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 21 - Friday, May 17, 2002
West Indies Cricket on the Rebound?

by: Thomson Fontaine
Cricket fans throughout the Caribbean are beginning to actively publicly debate what they have been too afraid to mention in the past, the possibility that the West Indies Cricket team, is finally on the rebound. After a prolonged period of seeming to be at the bottom of world cricket (with memorable defeats at the hands of Kenya and Bangladesh), the future is suddenly looking much brighter for the Windies.

The West Indies is currently ranked at number six in the world behind Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and England, and ahead of Pakistan, India and Zimbabwe. The most recent performance of the West Indies has left even the most skeptical of fans feeling optimistic. For one thing, they appear to have found a way to score runs.

In the current series against India, both Captain Carl Hooper and Shivnarine Chanderpaul have scored three centuries in five innings. Hooper having scored a brilliant double century in Guyana followed it up with consecutive centuries in Barbados and Antigua. Chanderpaul have rediscovered the joy of scoring runs and have run out of partners in no less than 3 out of his five innings.

Another very encouraging and hopeful sign is the batting of Sarwan. The twenty year old Guyanese, batting at the number three spot has shown a remarkable calmness and competency, and one gets the feeling from watching him bat that it is only a matter of time before he begins to get the big hundreds. He has done a lot to anchor the batting. Although Lara has not exactly cut loose in this series, there is always the chance that he will get back to the form he exhibited in Sri Lanka when he faced down Muralitharan, arguably the best spin bowler in the world and scored runs at will.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign in the perceived comeback of the West Indies is the fact that there are finally bowlers who seem capable of bowling out a side. The four-pronged pace attack of Merv Dillon, Cameron Cuffy, Adam Sanford, and Pedro Collins have begun to come together in a way that offers much hope. The inclusion of debutant Sanford has been a pleasant and welcome surprise (see Issue 20). All four bowlers have demonstrated good potential and when they bowled out India for 102 in Barbados, the first West Indian victory in over 15 tests was virtually assured.

Admittedly, there is still a long way to go if West Indies is to regain supremacy in world cricket. The opening pair has been a spot of bother for the West Indies since Greenidge and Haynes retired in the eighties. While Gayle seems set, finding a suitable partner has been more difficult. Williams, Garrick, and Hinds have all been inconsistent. Maybe its time to bring in the young Grenadian Dervon Smith and have him open the batting.

Wicket keeping woes continue to plague the West Indies and the absence of a solid wicket-keeper batsman has contributed immeasurably to the woes of the West Indies. Although Jacobs scored a century against the Indians in Antigua, this can easily be discounted since no less than four other batsmen scored centuries, and with a pitch as docile as that one turned out to be, anyone could have scored.

The West Indies sorely needs a batsman capable of keeping wickets. Someone who can score the odd fifties and the occasional hundred, cement the middle order and provide some protection to the long West Indies tail.

So on average, things are looking better. A lot better than it looked one year ago. In the current series, two tests have been drawn, and each team has won one. This sets up a thrilling encounter in the final test series scheduled for Jamaica from May 18-22, as both teams will be playing for bragging rights. For the West Indies though a win in Jamaica would provide much more than that. It would set the tone for future encounters and begin to get the attention of the thousands of fans who have tuned out West Indies cricket. It would also signal that the comeback is real. With the cricket World Cup approaching, the West Indies could not have chosen a better time to begin this long climb upward from virtually the cellar position in world cricket.

Volume No. 1 Issue No. 21
Dominica Faces Structural Adjustment
Rosie Douglas Foundation Donates over $150,000
Dominican Artist Exhibits Exquisite Work
The Roseau Cooperative Credit Union
Analysis of Events at Home
West Indies Cricket on the Rebound

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