On the back of a convincing thrashing in the one-day series against New Zealand I want to put my cricket analyst’s reputation on the line state that the tea leaves do not portend a defeat for The W.I in the imminent series.
The sooth saying is neither based on wishful thinking nor a Caribbean bias but on noticeable trends. Firstly from the comfort of my watering hole several time zones apart; separated by the at least two oceans and over 22 000 Km. I sense a spirit in the WI camp that has been absent for the last three series. The combine euphoria after their first victory; the on field camaraderie are all guides to my assertion. The gulf that had developed between unionized and no unionized, militant and passive, combatant and meek, rebel and conformist seem to be closing quickly. When Brian Lara on his arrival in Auckland chided the media for their unkind remarks about the WI team my conviction on team unity was sealed. The second affirmation is the noticeable improvement in our bowling. Fidel Edwards appears to have emerged from his cocoon as a promising strike bowler and is ready to strike.
He has at present 20 tests under his belt and averaging over 45. As I have said before the selectors have more confidence in him than I do. Apparently that trust is justified judging from the improve line, length, swing and stamina. Jerome Taylor at 21 appears to have the skill of consistently bowling on a dime at pace. Bravo, who in my opinion is the best bowler in the WI line up should be bowling before the third test. These bowlers with the assistance from Chris Gayle, Rawle Lewis and Dwayne Smith have the talent to get 20 wickets for fewer than 570 runs.
Added to these our batting will be strengthened at the top by Darren Ganga who has sagaciously, worked hard on his obvious and often exploited vulnerability. No more does he open the face of the bat when driving through the off side as a result he will be slicing fewer balls between the arc from
the wicket keeper to gully .Ganga’s temperament and remodeled technique should shore up the top order. Chanderpaul seems to be in good nick(never mind the scores in the one-dayers check his comfort level at the crease) Sarwan is definite in form and Lara ;well is Lara One definite plus and a big credit to WI cricket is Dinesh Ramdin. His superior wicket-keeping, batting ability, motivational character and cricketing brain belies his age.
I also observe a more assured captain who seems to have a good working relationship with his players. I am appalled that he is criticized for not bowling with three slips in a one day series. It is ironic that Ntini, Bond and lee three players who are currently in the top ten bowlers in the world are not given three slips by their captain yet Chanderpaul is expected to start a bowler who is not even on the ratings radar with three slips in a one day match .talk about giving a dog a bad name.