Last Friday night, the West Indies allowed New Zealand to make a whopping 393 runs.
Martin Guptill surpassed our very own, Chris Gayle’s record of 215 made earlier in the tournament, to hit the highest world cup score, a smashing 237 runs not out. Credit must be given to Guptill’s magnificent performance, hitting all of 137 runs off of his last 52 balls, whether balls were bowled short or long, but our bowling and fielding was poor. Guptill got time to settle into long partnerships and Marlon Samuels dropped a crucial catch to get rid of him. Those catches you do not miss. They stood up and watched many balls roll to the boundary. We often fail to get dirty and dive to stop balls like other teams, harming us in the long run. The result for New Zealand was 393/6 (50 overs).
West Indies ended their innings at 250 all out in just 30.3 overs. Gayle made an exciting but short-lived 61 runs, then wickets crumbled even faster. New Zealand won by 143 runs. On top of that, Jamaica is not the only one with a ‘Bolt’. New Zealand’s fast bowler, Trent Boult is at his peak, as he took 4 early wickets. Sadly, Gayle and to a small extent Jonathan Carter, were the only threats New Zealand faced and they knew it. So, what was our strategy? Clearly the wrong one. Great effort was shown by the West Indies where batting was concerned because the result could have been much worse or embarrassing, as we have witnessed before in those situations. However, I believe they were incorrectly guided.
With a massive target of 393 runs, the strategy should not be to go out there and instantly make as much 6s and 4s as possible. After all it is not 20/20 cricket. They should have attempted to bat out the entire innings, peaking at the right intervals, not wildly going after 99% of the balls bowled exposing the wickets or blocking them when it was too late resulting in LBWs.
Overall, the current West Indies team is not good. Well clearly we haven’t had a good one in a while. The sport has evolved and we cannot rely on raw talent anymore. Teams West Indies used to destroy in the past have moved way beyond us. Teams we used to rival in the past such as Australia and New Zealand, totally demolish us now at practically every meeting if not all. What are they doing differently? When Australia wanted to pull themselves away to make themselves better than us in our hay day, they started looking back at the tapes, at every angle. They took it to a technical level. It’s like what is happening now with the death of Brazilian or South American football compared to European football. Times are changing and so are techniques, styles and tactics. Therefore the way West Indies are currently and have been training need to change. In a situation with a an unfit Gayle who barely got cleared to play New Zealand, all should not rest on his shoulders.
As shocking as it may seem, some of us still rally around the West Indies and do not refer to them as the ‘Worst Indies’. There were a lot of men named, ‘Hopeton’ in the bar on Friday night. I am appealing for us to rebuild. At the end of the day, the players get blamed but from management right down is responsible.
Godspeed West Indies.