Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 31st 2016 Contents A42
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt January 31, 2016
Two weeks ago, I this column I wondered if West
Indies selectors Clive Lloyd, Courtney Walsh, Eldine
Baptiste and Courtney Browne still had testicular
fortitudes and true perspectives enough to select a
team capable of winning men s ICC World T20 cham-
pionship this year. Thankfully, the selectors still do!
To have sent any WI team to that exciting com-
petition without the recently-selected usual suspects
would have been like committing suicide by shooting
yourself just after you had also drunk poison, a dead
certainty that WI would not have only lost but might
have embarrassed us in India too.
Almost all of those selected have, somewhere in
the world, even in the Caribbean last week, been
playing much, except for those who were injured; out
self-medicating an arm or a leg. So here is a real
chance for players like much improved Andre Russell,
Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Bravo to show real mettle
for WI and to put their on-field performances ahead
of any vocals.
But Darren Sammy s men will still have to work
diligently hard to qualify for the final on April 03, to
try to win that competition a second time. Since WI s
selectors have bitten the bullet, after that recent shel-
lacking in Australia, and selected a plausible team, WI
stands a good chance.
Cricket is not like boxing, where champions are
regularly challenged by contenders to hold on to cham-
pionship belts and No. 1 rankings. Even though WI
is now ranked at No. 1 in ICC s T20 scale, they will
have to prove that they are the best but by ranking
but by lifting the trophy just as they did in 2012.
In Group 1 with Eng-
land, South Africa, 2014 s
champions Sri Lanka and
one of the early competi-
tion qualifying teams, WI
will not find it at all easy
going. It will be very tough
Given that so many of
our intrepid cricketing
world travelers, from 2012 s
victory, have been reunited,
having been recently, vig-
orously, plying their trades
around the world, no-one can accuse them, except
for Marlon Samuels, of not being fully up to speed,
involved and in good form.
Only Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul and Dwayne
Smith, from 2012 s triumph, are, correctly, omitted.
Edwards, now a Kolpak cricketer at Hampshire, no
longer qualifies to play for WI, while Rampaul and
Smith no longer count.
But that only Denesh Ramdin, Jason Holder, Darren
Bravo, Andre Fletcher and Sullieman Benn, of those
who participated in the recently concluded WICB-
NAGICO Super-50 2016 competition, have been select-
ed, must high-light how relatively bare WI cricket s
younger coffers really are.
While missing Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine,
victorious Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel s head-coach
Gus Logie really hoped that new faces, from his team
and others, would come to the fore, but Jerome Taylor,
whose returns have been horrendous in his last two
tours, is still retained. That does not bode so well for
supposed replacements for those who will represent
us in India.
The semi-finals and final of that 50-overs compe-
tition last week showed nothing new. Kraigg Brathwaite
looked poised against Windward Islands, but that was
that, except for the stunning brilliance of Darren
Bravo s 95 v Guyana in semi-final No. I and 97 in the
final v Barbados.
Guyana s much vaunted batting, with three Test
batsmen in its first four, and five international cricketers
in its XI, looked terribly out of place, either lost, over-
awed with the occasion, or seriously under-prepared
for their task then. None deserved considerations for
Windwards too, for their semi-final v Barbados,
looked so flat that one wondered if they realized that
some of them may have had a chance to make the
Biting the bullet gives Windies T20 championships chance
flight to India, via London and UAE.
From T&T, perhaps only Jason Mohammed, an
enterprising, learning captain, even if he did not bat
as well as he would have liked, and the early pearl,
one that faded when it mattered, Evan Lewis, might
have had a chance for India. Neither shone in the
finals last week.
WI, though, still has its own travails from now to
that first official game in India, v England at Mumbai s
Wankhede Stadium on March 16. Many WI players
are still struggling with either fitness concerns or,
indeed, in Narine s case, proving that he can indeed
Chris Gayle, like the force of wind for which he is
named, still has much power. He can blow teams
away quickly, but as he comes, thus he also goes. One
has to hope that his chronic back problems let up
enough for his presence, and runs, to have telling
effects that they normally do. Ditto for Kieron Pollard,
whose injury must have been more serious than at
Samuels especially needs much cricket under his
belt and a forest fire under his ass too, as his returns
in Australia and overall façade there make this selection
look strange indeed. He can produce, if he tries, but
this could be his last sojourn, so he had better put
on the after-burners!
With this squad, WI could win World T20 in 2016
again, but only if players are really at the very best
that they can be.
COLIN EH CROFT
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