Just so you know, India are playing West Indies in the West Indies right now. No, don’t thank me for reminding you. Blame your own ignorance. Obviously, Spanish tennis players and half-naked babas are more important for you.
The only time the interest levels have been lower for a cricket series was when Pakistan played a few ODIs against Ireland. That happened last week, by the way.
The Indian management decided to rest the top players and send in a junior team to lock horns with a Gayle-less West Indies. Obviously, the West Indians had their horns chopped off somewhere.
Fresh talents like Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Amit Mishra are trampling over the likes of…players like…okay, I don’t know any player from the Caribbean. Apart from Chris Gayle, of course. Of course.
If historians are to be believed, West Indies were the most feared team for a long while. Batsman were wary of facing giant bowlers who hard arms the length of elephant trunks. It is believed that the inventions of the helmet and abdominal guard are attributed to the likes of Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner.
Apart from the fearsome bowlers, batsmen like Gordon Greenidge, Clive Lloyd and a batter by the name of Vivian Richards almost made it compulsory for out fielders to wear helmets as well.
Since the late nineties though, West Indies cricket has suffered a million foot fall from grace. Many blame it on the pathetic state of the cricket board but you can’t help but feel there was a time when they may have just rested on their laurels and let then-minnows India and South Africa rise through the ranks.
There isn’t a dearth of talent, though. Shiv Chanderpaul, Ramneresh Sarwan, Carl Hooper and the magnificent Brian Lara all had their time, but the burden of carrying eleven grown men alone is a tough task.
But what would have disappointed fans was the diminishing talent of fast bowlers. Sure bright sparks like Pedro Collins and Kemar Roach made the right noises but injuries and inconsistency hindered their progress. Jerome Taylor’s breathtaking spell against England where he picked up five wickets for eleven runs clearly showed that there’s something still somewhere left.
I never really understood what the case with the WICB was and I’m not even interested in knowing. But leaving out Chris Gayle, who just pulverized almost every nationality in India, for a tour against the World champions is pure and infinite doohickey.
The question is, will we ever see West Indies return to even the shadow of their former selves?
Seeing that a 75 mile an hour bowler is leading their attack, their best batsman is chilling at a beach and the stands are empty to an optimist, that would be extremely hard to see happen.
At the moment, they’re being schooled by a second string Indian team and I don’t see Gayle even interested in playing for the country anymore.
Things are bleak.Published 10 Jun 2011, 10:14 IST