The Windies recently culminated their overseas tour against Bangladesh which was set between November and December this year, and what an exciting series it proved to be.
The thrilling encounter involved two Tests, three One Day Internationals (ODIs), and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches.
The tour was symbolic as it represented the first time in six years that the Windies were embarking on a full series tour of Bangladesh.
Having had fixtures and arrangements confirmed as early as July this year, it was only a matter of time before the series lost its virginity in various areas.
However, before the tour kicked off, the West Indies cricket team were shocked by the news that Jason Holder, the team’s captain, will not play any part in the tour as he had been ruled out with a shoulder injury that required surgery. In his stead, Kraigg Brathwaite filled in as captain of the Test side while Rovman Powell marshaled the ODI side.
Just a couple of days after the announcement of Bangladesh’s Test squad, Imrul Kayes lost his place in the team on account of a shoulder injury, and Shadman Islam took his place.
In much the same manner, Liton Das joined up with the rest of the Bangladesh squad after being drafted in as a late replacement for the injured Mushfiqur Rahim in the second Test match.
Amidst other media ramblings, the tour eventually got underway, and it was Bangladesh that carried the day in the first Test. The Bangladeshi boys got off to a flying start winning by 64 runs in which was team’s first ever home victory against the West Indies.
In the first Test, Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat. Nayeem Hasan made his debut and became the eighth bowler for Bangladesh to take a five-wicket haul on debut in Tests. He also became the youngest bowler to take a five-wicket haul on debut in Tests, at the age of 17 years and 356 days. In the same encounter, Shakib Al Hasan became the first bowler for Bangladesh to take 200 wickets in Tests. He also made history as the fastest cricketer, in terms of matches, to score 3,000 runs and take 200 wickets in Tests (54).
The second test followed in a similar fashion as Bangladesh seemed to have hit their stride with another victory in the second Test. This time, they recorded their most significant winning margin in Tests by beating the Windies by an innings and 184 runs. They also made history as that victory was also their first series win against the West Indies.
At the end of the encounter, Bangladesh had won the two-match Test series 2-0 in their favor. Also, the spinners in the Bangladesh cricket team took all 40 wickets; another record being that they became the first team to take all 40 wickets in a two-match Test series by spin. Bangladesh also triumphed 2-1 in the three-match ODI series.
However, Windies recorded victory in the three-match T20I series with their 50-run win over Bangladesh in the 3rd T20I on Saturday handing them a 2-1 series win. This also meant that the men clad in maroon emerged winners in a T20I series for the first time in over a year.
As the Windies were able to field a near full strength side from their current T20I in the final match, it becomes clear that what Windies fans think of as the “future” of their team seems nearer to the “present” than it does the much-vaunted future.
In any case, it sure looks like the debate will continue as per the lobby for the inclusion of ‘senior players,’ or their exclusion altogether.
At the same time, perhaps, the Windies fanbase will have to deal with the fact that, either way, the nature of the pool players will be such that high-quality players will always get first pick and the perennial grumblings will continue from certain sections when some of their ‘favorite players’ are left benched.
And there were some revelations from the latest tour too. When Shai Hope recorded a 16-ball half-century in the first T20I against Bangladesh which saw him climb to the third spot in the history books in terms of fastest T20I fifties, some thought it a fluke.
But Shai Hope has proved himself much more than a ‘one-hit-wonder’ with some other impressive performances. He had scores of 88 runs from 45 deliveries, 25 from 16, 43 from 35, 42 from 34 and 34 from 24 – that put him on track to 8th place in the CPL18 top-scores list.
In addition to some spectacular showings in this series, the young man has proven his mettle.
There were also strong showings from many other Windies players with Keemo Paul, Evin Lewis, and Fabian Allen particularly impressing in Braithwaite’s current reformed setup.
Edited by Jesus Chan
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