All is fine in West Indies cricket right now – the World T20 trophy safely in their cabinet, the world’s greatest freelance cricketers currently playing and spreading smiles in the Caribbean Premier League. Within ten days, however, they will be put into the format their country has almost washed their hands off, against Team India.
West Indies last won a Test match in May 2015, against England, when Shivnarine Chanderpaul was still the middle order bedrock for them, and this has been their only Test win in the last twenty two months. In the same period, they have lost 9 Tests and drawn 3.
India have never managed to win more than a solitary Test in all their years of touring the Caribbean islands, but on current form, that looks likely to change. India have won 5 and lost only 1 Test in the last year, and are settled six spots above West Indies in the current ICC Test rankings, at second place.
However, it had been said by the erstwhile WICB chief that 2016 would be the year that West Indies would experience a revival in Test cricket. If that promise is to be turned into reality, a new generation of Test greats need to be found. Kraigg Brathwaite, Carlos Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood have just started their careers and can form the core of the team in years to come, and there are some domestic talents who can be counted among them within a year or so.
5 promising players from the West Indies who might be given a look-in for the India series –
The biggest cricketer around since Bermuda’s Dwayne Leverock, hailing from the land of Vivian Richards, Cornwall’s feats with both bat and ball have been central to the resurgence of Leeward Islands in the last two years, after having gone without a single win for four years. The all-rounder picks up five wicket hauls with regularity and scores at an aggressive strike rate when called upon to bat in the lower order.
With 48 wickets from 10 matches, he was the second highest wicket taker in the 2015/16 domestic season in West Indies. His six 5-wicket hauls was also the highest among bowlers in the league. With the bat in hand, he is an entertainer, having a FC strike rate of 70.
Cornwall has picked up 77 FC wickets already in 17 matches, at an average of 24.2. He has one century in the format as well. It is a matter of time before this 23-year-old’s potential is spotted and harnessed.