Team West Indies for ICC World Cup 2011
Once the leaders of the world in the cricketing arena, former world cup winners, West Indies have clearly lost their flora and fauna that was once a highlight of their game. The sheer dominance, the charisma and the spirit to fight till the end which was once a part of West Indian cricket seems to have gone missing.
Mind you, we are speaking of the same team which brought West Indies great laurels in the 1970-1990 periods that also included two consecutive world cup victories and a flurry of series wins. Back then, the West Indian pace attack could easily run through the entire batting line-up of the opposition, as the bowlers were considered the fastest and the most feared in the world, whereas the fearless West Indian batsmen would score their runs in all directions of the park to complement an all-round win.
Unarguably, West Indies had a consummate side with the likes of greats like Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Garfield Sobers, Gordon Greenidge, Lance Gibbs, Brian Lara, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose and many more.
It is highly unfortunate of West Indies that none of those bright brilliant moments now hold true of the current side that is set to go into another world cup in the history of the sport. On top of all that, the team lacks much experience, performance and more importantly the taste of a victory in the recent past. Chris Gayle, Shiv Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan seem to be the only ones who have had some considerable exposure to the grand stage of them all-the World Cup tournament.
A great deal of inconsistency in their game seems to have done the West Indies the most damage in the past few months. This probably explains how damaging it is to split apart team combinations and reset from scratch a playing setup. With a new captain installed, the team hopes to collect themselves once more and even the odds with a good show in the World Cup.
Former captain, Chris Gayle would be the main workforce in the opening slot whose blazing hits in all directions of the ground can set the opposition back and lay a good foundation for the following batsmen to come and play with an attacking mindset. Young and exciting, Adrian Barath can offer good support to Gayle in taking charge of the game with a few boundaries early a piece. The experienced Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shiv Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo complement a good looking middle-order. Dwayne Bravo can be a seriously good player with the bat as well as the ball. Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard are good clean hitters in the lower order who can bash the ball hard and make some valuable runs for the team in the closing segment of the inning. The wicket-keeper, Carlton Baugh then follows who can star with a decent piece of glove work behind the stumps ad then score a few runs himself when he takes charge on the crease. In the bowling department, the fast and the furious, Kemar Roach leads the pack with his ability to pitch in good full-paced swinging deliveries that either push the batsmen back or send their stumps off for a walk. Ravi Rampaul is also a handy pick with the ball as his swing deliveries often deceive the batsmen and produce results for the West Indian side almost immediately. Last but by no means least, Sulieman Benn can put the batsman in two minds with his off-spinners and the occasional faster ones.
West Indies look like a decent side on paper but it is going to be their performance on the field that counts most. Having said that, a few wins in the early stages might just set them up for a competition in full confidence and form with the major sides playing the World Cup. Who knows, if Gayle, Bravo, Pollard and Kemar Roach click West Indies might just be seeing the appropriate light at the end of the tunnel-the sheen of the World Cup gold?
West Indies 15-man Squad
Darren Sammy (captain)
Carlton Baugh (wicket-keeper)