Sunday, July 22, 2012
Is West Indies cricket finally set for a rebound? With Chris Gayle and other seasoned players back in the lineup, and after their convincing wins in the two Twenty-20s, and the first two ODI games against New Zealand, it certainly appeared that way.
Then came the familiar batting collapse in the third ODI, and the humbling defeat while chasing a not-insurmountable score and it was “here we go again.” The West Indies have since redeemed themselves by going on to win the ODI series, but the real challenge begins July 25 in Antigua with the first of the two test matches.
To cricket purists, test matches are the real deal, with Twenty-20s and ODIs mere crowd pleasers, and a warm-up for those players who make it into the test side. As someone whose insights date to the glory days of West Indian cricket – the 3Ws, Sobers and Kanhai, Hall and Griffith – I do sense a rebound. The batting lineup looks good and even if the top-order batsmen fail, the lower-order has proven that they are no rabbits. A test-series win against a team other than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh – and which isn’t up to full strength – may not seem a lot to crow about, but it could be the start of something big.