SPORTS

Windies Battered But Not Out

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In boxing parlance, a Technical Knockout (TKO) is how one would describe Windies loss in their first ODI encounter against Afghanistan on Caribbean soil.

The win by the Afghan team in the ODI format comes against their white-wash by the Windies in the recently completed T20 series.

The Afghanistan team, no doubt, is determined to make their first tour to the Caribbean not only count in the win column but also a memorable one.

On the other hand, the Windies with a young, inexperienced, and developing team is seeking to rebuild their reputation as a powerhouse in the game on this side of the pond.

That said, the record will show that the Windies in the first ODI match played everything except the type of cricket that they are known for globally — calypso cricket.

The headline — “Afghanistan 212 for 6 (Ahmadi 82, Nurse 2-34) beat West Indies 149 (Rashid 7-18) by 63 runs” is one that forces fans to not only lament but also reflect on the days of old.

The fact is the Windies continues to get it wrong far too often for anyone to repose much confidence in them, both at the administrative and team level.

Firstly, one does not prepare a cricket pitch that favors the opposition.

In the first ODI, one saw the Afghan 18-year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan enjoying the match of his life with figures of 7 for 18 – the fourth-best haul in ODI history. On the other hand, Windies young fast bowlers bowled their hearts out but got caned all over the park.

No doubt, the Windies selectors were rooting for a pacey pitch, thus the inclusion of a battery of pace bowlers on the team. However, in the end, it pans out to be the opposite.

Secondly, although the selectors do not have much to work with in terms of good quality players, the question that will always be asked is the current team the best one on display?

The truth is whether it is or not, there is one thing for sure, the team cannot continue to display such poor batting technique and expects to win.

This, therefore, means the team has to step up to the plate and do so quickly; especially the opening batters as what was seen on show by them in the opening game was not Windies brand of batting.

Therefore, the following must be taken into account and be corrected speedily:

One, Windies opening batters Kieran Powel and Evin Lewis cannot afford to occupy the crease and eat up so many balls without runs to show for it.

Two, Jason Mohammed cannot continue to play for a straight ball and found wanting.

Three, Jason Holder defense should not be so easily breached and furthermore, he cannot afford to be a runs truck at the death — conceding 36 off the last three overs of a spell will not cut it.

Four, Ashley Nurse slog was not only ungainly but foolish and the sooner he realizes that this is not “curry goat cricket” the better.

That said, if Windies players do not learn to read the bowling of the Afghan’s leg-spinner Rashid Khan, the ODI series will be handed to the Afghan on a platter.

On the other hand, team Afghanistan is set to continue to lick their chops as they did not only find the right combination for the first game, but also a pitch with conditions that favors their bowlers — created by the Windies.

What happens next will be revealed on Sunday as both teams get ready to do battle in the second ODI at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Saint Lucia.

Carol Maye, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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