by Anura Guruge
1/ WI vs. NZ 2014 2nd Test — June 19, 2014.
2/ WI vs. NZ 2014 1st Test — June 11, 2014.
3/ Shillingford’s fastest 50 — June 13, 2014.
4/ Chanderpaul should bat #3 — June 13, 2014.
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Click to access Cricinfo coverage photo gallery. Notice the ‘subtle’ Rasta colors on his gloves. They are also on the inside of his pads. I noticed that they now have grips in Rasta colors. Nothing wrong. Glad the ‘boys’ can show their colors the way they want.
This series as I have already raved about twice has been a gem. That the Windies won, ‘convincingly’ (thanks to Gayle), after the (deserved) shellacking in the First Test was a bonus (for I) — though I would have been nearly as happy with an honorable draw.
Of course congratulations are due to Kraigg Brathwaite (21), Darren Bravo (25), Jermaine Blackwood (22), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (39) of course, Chris Gayle (34) of course, Mark Craig (27) in his 2nd Test, BJ Watling (28), Tom Latham (22) and all the bowlers from both sides.
I watched most of the 5th day, ball-by-ball. Time be damned. I realize that I now don’t spend 1/100th of the time I used to spend watching cricket — much of it in person. So, I think I am due. Yes, I saw Chris hit is audacious 80. I had to remind myself that it was still a Test and not an ODI. It was fun.
When the NZ lead ticked past 60 my sanguinity went out of the window. Ten runs later I was definitely worried. Later on I heard Courtney or Jeff (and to me they both sound exactly the same as Michael and in my head I only see and ‘hear’ Michael) say the same thing. So it is good that all of old hands think alike on this matter. Yep, I had vision of an all mighty collapse for ’76’ with Southee getting an hatrick.
Though they won I am not at all truly convinced about this Windies team — whether it be the captaincy, the batting, the bowling, the keeping or the fielding (and as the saying goes “other than that they are fine”). Everything to me seems brittle just under the surface. I learned late last night why Narine is NOT playing. I had assumed he was injured. In my dotage I understand both side — management and player. This contract ‘violation’ having to do with overseas commitments has plagued WI cricket for four decades now. ‘We’ have to learn how to dispense dispensations with aplomb. Sunil playing in the final of the IPL, most likely in front of 50,000 possessed Indian fans, has to be better experience, match training and consolidation of mental fortitude (for spinner) than a day in training camp. It was probably 1978, but I had this conversation with Gordon, in a supermarket aisle, in Hampshire, re. him playing for Packer rather than for the Test team. He basically told me, with his always so charming lopsided grin: “I am of course happy playing for Packer. I am making money.” Of course things are much better on the financial front for the Caribbean players these days BUT I now appreciate that they do have to make as much they can in their prime. I hope they relent and let him play in the 3rd — though I doubt it.
Despite their scores I am not as yet sold on Brathwaite, Edwards or Bravo! That is a problem — right? That is the top three! I might dabble with Simmons. He has sticking power. Also Dwayne Romel Smith. Took me awhile but I have come to like him. I think Edwards should be dropped and we should have Smith or Simmons in his place — and that would help my hypertension.
Not sure about Gabriel. We need — and am I REALLY going to say this — another spinner! Sorry Clive. Again dotage. I now actually appreciate the power and beauty of spin. Wow. Did I just say what I did? IF we can’t have Narine maybe — and that is one heck of a maybe — Krishmar Santokie. Yes, I know he has zero Test experience — and this will be crunch match.
This shuffling of captaincy from player-to-player to ease the ‘burden’ does NOT work for me. Keeper-Captains always seem to have issues. Let Chris captain again. He was good at it.
That is enough for now. The series is level. The 10 wicket victory margin reminded me of a STREAK we had in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Look it up. Something like 4 or 5 in a 18 month period — and that was, and wait for it, YES, Gordon and Desmond. One of them, if my memory hasn’t totally abandoned me was at the Oval, 5th Test, in the dark. Or that is what I remember. Need to hit the Wisdens one night. Looking it up online is not the same.