West Indies: 1 Kraigg Brathwaite, 2 John Campbell, 3 Shai Hope, 4 Shamarh Brooks, 5 Roston Chase, 6 Jermaine Blackwood, 7 Shane Dowrich (wk), 8 Jason Holder, 9 Rahkeem Cornwall, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Shannon Gabriel
“With the overhead conditions, there’s a little moisture in the surface and we’re going to try and make use of it,” said Captain Jason Holder.
He further said, “We’ve made one change: Rahkeem Cornwall comes in for Alzarri Joseph. It’s horses for courses, we felt there was enough in there for a frontline spinner, and Rahkeem is a match-winner. Gabriel is fine.”
Now, the fat lady is yet to sing, and one would hate to dance on the Windies grave at the start of the first inning in a Test match.
After all, there is not even a burial in term of the team losing and as David Rudder sings:
Rally, rally round the West Indies
Now and forever
Rally, rally round the West Indies
Never say never
Pretty soon the runs are going to flow like water
Bringing so much joy to every son and daughter
That said, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone agreeing with the selection of the Windies team for the final game in the three-match Test series in England.
In fact, the team selection has been described by some pundits as lacking courage, bravery, and foresight.
Moreover, some people are already calling for the sacking of Coach Phil Simmons should the Windies fail to take home the Wisden Trophy.
The truth is the Windies has not made the most effective use of its team resources on tour, and the team management ought to be held accountable.
It takes a particular type of mindset to choose the team that the Windies has put on display in the third and final Test match and would be very difficult to fathom by even the most astute pundit.
The selection of John Campbell and Shai Hope for the final match perhaps can only be viewed within the following context:
“Can a mother’s tender care cease toward the child she bear?”
An Anglican hymn dubbed as the “She Bear hymn” by a writer in the Church Times, in the 1890s when it first became popular — 344 in Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised.
The third verse begins thus:
‘Can a woman’s tender care
cease towards the child she bare?
Yes, she may forgetful be,
yet will I remember thee.
And to be biblical, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee” — Isaiah 49:15.
The fact is Hope and Campbell are both lucky to be in the team as neither of them has stepped up to the plate or perform an inning of worth in the two-Test matches they have played so far.
Campbell and Hope both fell cheaply on the final day of the second Test and have made 52 and 57 runs respectively in four innings each in this series.
Coach Simmons has also bemoaned both batters lack of form in their recent outing:
“[Campbell and Hope’s form] is something that we have to discuss over the next couple of days and make a decision as to which direction we go there,” Simmons said. “You’re right; they haven’t fired, so we’ve got to take that into consideration.”
“We’ve had five or six half-centuries [in this Test] and no conversion. It’s something that we’ve been talking about a lot, and no one has taken up that opportunity in this game, yet again. It is disappointing,” added Simmons.
Hope’s highest score over his last 12 Test matches is 57.
West Indies legend Curtly Ambrose recently told Sky Sports, “Something has gone terribly wrong for him since those two centuries at Headingley – he hasn’t done anything really in Test cricket since then.”
“He is a much better player than what he is showing at the moment and is obviously very low on confidence,” he added.
“Maybe in the next game we should rest him so he can regain some confidence. If you keep playing him and he keeps failing, it will only get worse. You are going to destroy him if it continues like that.”
With tongue cheek, shall we say better heads have prevailed? – Hope remains on the team.
The fact is not giving Chemar Holder and Nkrumah Bonner a run in the final match is foolhardy on the part of management.
Yes, both are rookies but will not get to become goodies if they are not given the opportunities.
Moreover, testing the strength of the Windies bench, a la England could have provided the side with useful insights going forward.
However, it is what it is, and cricket lovers only resort maybe, what ifs?
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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