Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 9th 2014 Contents A61
March 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Jordan returns to old Barbados haunts
If Bill Athey, the former England
batsman, had not gone on a recon-
naissance trip to Barbados to seek
out a potential cricketer for a schol-
arship at Dulwich College, Chris Jor-
dan might conceivably have been lin-
ing up for West Indies against
England in Barbados today.
Kensington Oval, after all, was
where Jordan watched from the stands,
played on the outfield in front of the
old media box and even took part in
the first match after the ground had
been refurbished in time for the 2007
But Athey liked what he saw and
Jordan found himself living among
the unaccustomed splendour of Dul-
wich College, an independent school
in South East London which is
approaching its 400th anniversary,
where England and Sri Lanka trained
during the Champions Trophy last
summer, and where there are com-
fortably more artificial outdoor cricket
pitches than any county ground in
At 25, and with the best year of his
career behind him, Jordan is strong
enough to cope with the inevitable
consequence of his change of alle-
giance, knowing that, if he wins a
place in the final XI in the first of
three Twenty20 internationals on
Sunday, for every well-wisher there
could be a partisan West Indies who
will be happy to see him fall flat on
But his task in the three Twenty20
internationals at Kensington Oval is
to get his preparations for World
Twenty20 in Bangladesh right on track
and contribute to the lifting of morale
in an England side that has gained
some release with a 2-1 ODI series
win in Antigua, but which few people
regard as serious challengers in World
Jordan waved aside the crowd reac-
tion he might face as "pretty irrelevant
really," adding "As long as my friends
and my family are backing me, that s
honestly all that matters. It doesn t
matter who I play for at the end of
the day, my family and friends will
back me 100 per cent and that s all
Jordan still returns regularly to Bar-
bados to look up old friends and old
haunts. After he practiced at Kens-
ington Oval, he recalled: "I used to
sit down in the old press box-and as
these kids are doing now, I used to
go on the field at lunchtimes and have
little games. I really do remember it.
The ground had quite a makeover
for the World Cup, turning from a
homely ground with a stirring tradition
to a sports stadium. As the renovations
took place, Jordan himself was among
those who first experienced the chang-
ing atmosphere from the middle. "It
has changed so much," he said.
For all the stirred memories, he says
he remains proud of his return with
England to his native land. "I m very
proud actually, he said. "Obviously
I grew up here ... but I went to England
and learned most of my trade there.
I m more than happy with the decision
I ve made.
Injury problems disrupted his devel-
opment in England, and only when
he moved from Surrey to Sussex for
the 2013 season did he really make a
breakthrough. In that phase of his
career, he had better fortune for Bar-
bados-but by then he was classified
as an overseas player. There would be
no thoughts of going back.
Starting today at Kensington
Oval, Barbados, West Indies takes
on England in three T-20 games,
both team s last proper engagement
before going to Bangladesh for ICC
World T-20 World Cup 2014.
These T-20 s are vital preparation
for both teams and should be great
As defending 2012 World T-20
champions, West Indies should also
be able to tell, after this series, if
they are up to defending that world
Only time will tell, but reviewing
last week s ODI s at Sir Vivian
Richards stadium, Antigua & Bar-
buda, and even as all would like West
Indies to repeat, I would say a
resounding "No" to that suggestion
West Indies looked too frenetic in
those three ODI s and not at all prop-
In truth, England should have won
all three of those games, eventually
winning the series 2-1!
The tourists, ICC WT-20 2010
winners here in the Caribbean, that
year s final played at said Kensington
Oval, are, arguably, much more com-
fortable than West Indies right now,
even after England had been recently
destroyed by Australia in T-20 s, and
even as West Indies are playing at
That tells of the state of confusion
of West Indies!
England played its full T-20 team
against West Indies in three ODI s
last week; only Alex Hales and Jade
Dernback did not play; and won,
while West Indies now have a fully
revamped team for T-20 games!
While England certainly wanted
to win the ODI series, especially after
Australia, they also realised that those
ODI s were great opportunities for
T-20 players to get much needed
cricket under their belts, and, with
the larger picture of ICC World T-
20 2014 in sight, used that same
team for both ODI s and T-20 s.
Even as Ian Bell is now also in as
cover for injuries, that plan worked
wonderfully well for England.
England s batsmen had good hit-
outs and all go into this T-20 series
v WI in confident, winning shape!
West Indies T-20 s team is much
different than its ODI team, with
tremendously dynamic and explosive
Chris Gayle scheduled to play in
Barbados, subject to being fit enough,
But West Indies also have several
different, if not new faces, for the
T-20 s, including leg-spinner Samuel
Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher,
left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cot-
trell, Gayle, all-rounder Andre Russell
and another medium-fast left-han-
der, Krishmar Santokie.
If the hope is to give now-joining
WI players opportunities to play
proper representative cricket, as Eng-
land correctly called it earlier, then
why had these players, except injured
Gayle, not been selected to play v
England in these three ODI s?
I strongly believe that any sports-
person is as good as his or her last
game, sometimes even series, but
should not be picked based solely
on some distant memory of over six
months ago, sometimes even more.
Certainly Charles and Fletcher,
who both looked very poor last
month representing Windward
Islands in WI 50-overs competition,
and Russell and Cottrell, who looked
slightly better representing Jamaica,
should have been included for ODI s.
Badree and Santokie have not played
proper games in anger for months!
Meanwhile, medium-pacer Ravi
Rampaul looked extremely ordinary,
heavy and jaded, 28 overs in three
ODI s costing 148 runs, dismal econ-
omy rate, for a front line bowler, of
5.28, getting only three wickets!
Surely Cottrell, Russell or Santokie,
or all of them, alternately, could have
been given a run in those three ODI s,
to bring fresh legs and different
approaches, instead of Rampaul s
lackluster, optimistic trundling.
WI top order batting salvoes v
England in the three ODI s were also
severely putrid: 45-4, 30-3 and 43-
4. It is a fortunate situation that Dar-
ren Bravo is not included in West
Indies T-20 squad. With scores of
2, 13 and 16, the left-hander looked
so out of that series that one wonders
what could really be the matter.
He certainly needs to make runs
for Trinidad & Tobago in the four-
day competition, for his very own
Dwayne Smith has again flattered,
only to deceive; again, while Kieran
Powell seemed perplexed, out of his
Had it not been for redeeming
innings from Lendyl Simmons,
Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and
a wonderful first ODI century from
wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin,
results could have been much worse.
But it is not only cricket on the
field that worries fully, but that of
West Indies team philosophy, as
viewed from the outer.
What exactly are they trying to
do when they play any game?
It should be to win, or at least to
improve, but do they even believe
that they could achieve either, since
winning alone takes severe planning?
In all sports, there must, or should,
be plans, but WI s plans seemed not
to materialise against England in
those last three ODI s. It was if West
Indies were sometimes simply play-
ing by rote and numbers!
Dwayne Bravo batted well and
bowled reasonably, but at times, his
captaincy lacked objectives or imag-
ination. While England compiled
303-6, ODI # 3, Bravo often looked
confused as to what to do next.
So, these three T-20 s must be
redeeming factors for West Indies.
COLIN EH CROFT
Nothing new on the West Indies front
West Indies captain
Darren Sammy on his
way to practice.
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