Well, after much toiling, the West Indies Cricket team has finally won a match. Having lost the lone 20-20 embarrassingly by 26 runs chasing 106 to win, and then losing inexplicably by 2 runs in the first ODI, the West Indies had a lot to prove. So, for the second ODI, the selectors replaced 2 players (WK Dinesh Ramdin and all-rounder Dwaine Smith) with all-rounders Dave Bernard Jr. and Darren Sammy. Darren Sammy is always a welcome player on most of my ODI selections. However, Fletcher, the sometimes wicketkeeper batsman hasn’t been lighting it up in regional nor international cricket lately so his retention was also a bit suspect…. Mind you, in order to replace a specialty position like wicketkeeper, you need someone good (Banks comes to mind), not Fletcher the way he’s playing.
OK, but back to this match, the second ODI. The West Indies bowlers did well to restricted Zimbabwe to 207, with Gayle and Miller doing the most damage. Given 208 to win, Gayle started blazingly but slowed down cautiously because of tight spin bowling and a level head after losing his fellow opener Barath for 7 off 18 balls, Bernard Jr for 1, Chanderpaul for 10 off 43 balls, and Fletcher another duck. Well he knew this was up to Gayle and Deonarine. Deonarine batted like Chanderpaul normally does, cool and calm. In the end Gayle went for 88, but Deonarine and Sammy saw the home team win by 4 wickets with 13 balls to spare. A bit close for comfort but “a win is a win” and “at least we didn’t lose again to Zimbabwe”.
With the series leveled at 1-1, the West Indies look to sweep the remaining 3 ODIs, giving them something to celebrate with them hosting the World 20-20 next month. While this win is not a confidence booster, winning the next 3 would be. Also, having Sarwan back and perhaps Jerome Taylor might be what we need. So, here’s the team that the West Indies could field for the remaining 3 matches or the world 20-20:
-[Captain] Gayle – Captain [and somewhat of an all-rounder]
– Barath – Young Trinidadian trying to get back in form after injury.
Middle-Order (3 very good Guyanese batsmen)
– Sarwan (Guy)
– Chanderpaul (Guy)
– Deonarine (Guy)
– Ramdin (Trinidad) or Banks (Jamaica). Fletcher has not shown anything recently so I exclude him.
– [Dwayne] Bravo (T&T) if he’s totally recovered. Otherwise Pollard (Trinidad) – Give him another chance.
– Sammy (StL) – Good guy to have – medium pace and decent batsman
– Benn (Bar)or Miller (Jam) – Spinner
– Taylor (Jam) – pace – only if he’s really fit. Otherwise Miller or Benn
– Roach (Bar) – serious pace
– Collins (Bar)
– Banks (Jam) or Ramdin (T&T)
– Benn (Bar) or Miller (Jam) if Taylor (Jam) is fit in in the final 11. Otherwise, Bernard Jr. (Jam)
Unfortunately Edwards doesn’t seem like he will be back from injury any time soon. We could have have his brother Collins as one of the 3 reserves because he’s been bowling well in regional cricket. But, I’m not a selector. They, like the WIndies board sometime do some very strange things, much to the chagrin of people around the region. Hope they or one of their relatives visit Yowlink and read this one… He-he. (-;
Cricket fans, what do you think?