The 'Windies' are back with a bang and can't be taken light ahead of the World Cup
With less than three months to go before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 kicks off in style in England and Wales, cricket pundits, all over the world, are busy picking their favorites for the tournament. For some, it may be Team India, and for others, the England Cricket team might be the front-runners.
But there seems to be some sort of a presumed consensus that the West Indies Cricket Team is quite down in the pecking order; maybe even below Afghanistan.
It is sincerely requested that one should not 'sleep' on the West Indies just yet. They are two-time World Cup Champions, to say the least. The Jason Holder-led Windies' will definitely put on a tough show for the fellow competing teams, as was evident from their performances in the series against India and England.
The return of familiar names to the squad coupled with the new, young talented individuals would definitely make Windies a formidable force. The English bowlers witnessed the first-hand wrath of the 'Gayle storm', who returned to form in the recently concluded ODI series, wherein Gayle amassed 424 runs in just 4 matches.
Jason Holder, who has been a regular feature of the team, is leading from the front, contributing with both bat and ball. His recent form has pushed him atop the ICC Test All-Rounders rankings. He would want to continue his form well into the World Cup.
The inclusion of Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer in the batting line-up have strengthened the foundations of the team, which has lost several matches due to poor batting performances. Both Hope and Hetmyer put on incredible performances when the Windies toured India, showing complete dominance over both pacers and spinners.
The bowling department has also undergone a rejig of sorts and has come out looking a much more improved and balanced unit. Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell have infused new life into the pace department, reminiscent of the Windies of 'old', using sheer pace and bounce to render opposition batting-line ups obsolete.
Their performance in the recently concluded ODI series against England is a testimony to the fact that the West Indies are here to lay down their challenge for the upcoming World Cup. They were able to showcase their prowess against the No.1 ODI side in the world, and it seems that they have a lot left in them. Even when they lost, the West Indies went down fighting, as was evident in the 4th ODI of the series.
Given that this would be Chris Gayle's last World Cup before he hangs his boots, the Windies have one more reason to put on an incredible showing during the summer in England. The conditions would be ripe for their pace attack to cause destruction, and they would also want their batting department, featuring the likes of Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer to deliver the goods.