Top 8 Teams for the ICC World Cup 2015 – West Indies
15-man squad for ICC World Cup 2015: Jason Holder (captain), Marlon Samuels, Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Nikita Miller, Denesh Ramdin (wicket keeper), Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor.
Due to a contracts dispute, West Indies players pulled out of the Indian tour midway. West Indies Cricket Board chose to penalize the responsible players after a task force investigated the issue. West Indies dropped Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo from the ODI squad against South Africa and ultimately from the World Cup 2015. Sammy was also dropped initially but was later injected into the ODI squad.
Sammy also lost his captaincy which was transferred to a young Jason Holder who has barely had any international cricket experience.
Sunil Narine also saw a comeback to international squad for the World Cup but he later pulled out too. Narine’s reason for doing so was to continue the remedial work on his action after he was suspected of chucking while playing in the Indian Premier League. The board have chosen Nikita Miller as his replacement for the World Cup after ICC’s approval.
West Indies went with whatever they had in stock when selecting the team. They selected the same batting and bowling combinations which were part of the previous series. The only changes were Carlos Brathwaite, Narsingh Deonarine and Leon Johnson making way for Darren Bravo, Nikita Miller and Kemar Roach. None of these changes came as a surprise as West Indies went with experience instead of young blood.
As previously seen in several world tournaments, Chris Gayle is the spirit of the West Indies team. If he is motivated enough to go all out to win, the whole team follows. He has the ability to take charge and bring out the best in the West Indies team. He is a brute, aggressive and moody character in the ground, silent but deadly when batting and the most colourful character when on the field. His prolonged stay at the crease is a silent death for the opposition as he decimates the bowling attacks without an
expression on his face. He just stands and pummels the ball out of the boundary. Gayle’s bowling might not be as effective as it used to be but it can still prove handy whenever the situation requires. If West Indies are to succeed in this mega event, Gayle is the key to their success.
Marlon Samuels is similar in character to Chris Gayle. He has matured over the past few years and now focuses more on playing steadily rather than going all out in a destructive manner like he used too. His experience and maturity makes him the backbone of the West Indies batting. He will anchor the innings and absorb the pressure. When needed, he can opt to return to his previous self and go berserk which makes him as dangerous as they come these days.
West Indies are a powerhouse with ballistic batsmen starting from the opening slot and going down to a deeper lower order. With Gayle, Smith, Samuels, Simmons, Sammy and Russel in the side, they are a ticking bomb which can go off against any opposition on any day. On their day, West Indies can be the most horrific side a bowling lineup may have to face and they can certainly achieve any target if they set their minds to it.
Their players’ nature to go all out when motivated enough is also a strength which can bring the best in them and West Indies can come out on top like they did in a couple of instances in ICC tournaments of late.
West Indies’ batsmen’s nature of playing aggressive cricket is also their weakness. More often than not, they initiate a self-destruct sequence where all of the batsmen come and go while a single batsman stays and tries to hold the inning together. In such situations, West Indies batting is a crumbling tower and there’s not much that can be hoped for.
West Indies bowling is also a weak link as the bowlers often struggle to bowl the right line or length. Kemar Roach, the pacer, is struggling to keep his pace up and is bowling as a medium pacer after his return from injury which means there is no one except for the young captain Jason Holder to lead the attack. In short, even their bowling lacks consistency and bowlers can be easy pickings for any batting side as a result.
West Indies team have got a lot of potential and a lot of power to their benefit. However, their internal board and team issues have kept them from playing at their best. The young captain has a lot to prove, both, in terms of captaincy and in terms of his bowling performances. A captain has to lead from the front so Holder has to be the pick of the bowling department and carry the weight on his shoulders. The rest lies on Gayle, to find his motivation and help West Indies pull a blinder like they did in the ICC Champions trophy and the ICC World T20 not too long ago. They may be far away from what they were in their glory days but still, one cannot write off West Indies given their unpredictable nature.