Will West Indies Turn the Corner?

By L Bronson

west indies odi
West Indies One-day captain Kieron Pollard, (captain), 5th from right, and his teammates - Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Jason Mohammad Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Anderson Phillip, Alzarri Joseph, Akeal Hossein, celebrate winning the three-match CG Insurance ODI series against Sri Lanka 3-0 at the Sri Viv Richards Ground in Antigua on Sunday. CWI Media/Philip Spooner

Having ceaselessly yearned for the glory days of the past, traumatized West Indies supporters are easily deceived into believing that their beloved team has “turned the proverbial corner” after being sucked into the euphoria of a win or two.

Only to fall precipitously into despair.

But from our vantage point, there seems to be something happening in West Indies cricket at the moment. Not the team turning the corner, but probably a team definitely on the road. Will it manage to turn the corner? Only time will tell.

When Kraigg Brathwaite was given an understrength West Indies team to contest two Test matches in Bangladesh last month, many thought it was a foregone conclusion that the men from the Caribbean would have lost, and heavily too.

After all, the last time a full-strength team toured the south Asian country, they were humiliated long before the contests were scheduled to end.

But Brathwaite and his team exhibited a sense of purpose, belief, calm, and maturity, coupled with doing their homework and executing their game plans.

The result was upset wins in each of the Test matches, much to the chagrin of the home team and the surprise of the cricketing world.

For those who might have forgotten, in the first Test match, Bangladesh made 430 and 223 for eight declared and the West Indies responded with 259 and then successfully chased 395 for the loss of seven wickets to win by three wickets.

In the second Test match, West Indies made 409 and 117, while Bangladesh responded with 296 and 213 to lose by 17 runs.

In that Test series, the West Indies appeared unflappable, calm, calculated and most importantly, together, in that series. Players appeared genuinely happy for others’ success, and they all appeared to be pulling in the same direction.  There appeared to be a belief and confidence in every player, and from all accounts, Brathwaite was the commander in chief.

It was therefore no surprise when he was recommended and indeed appointed to replace fellow Barbadian Jason Holder as West Indies Test captain. Holder had served as captain for the past five years.

Then on the heels of that success in Bangladesh, the West Indies Twenty20 International (T20I) and One Day International (ODI) teams, led by Trinidadian Kieron Pollard, smashed Sri Lanka 2-1 in the 3-0 in the ODI series.

And in much the same culture displayed by the Brathwaite-led Test team, Pollard’s team appeared more methodical, meticulous and cerebral, even while maintaining their flamboyance in the shorter formats of the game.

It was refreshing to see and we now hope that they will continue in the same vein regardless of the eventual results of the Test series set to start this weekend.

But nobody should be tricked into believing that everything is now perfect with West Indies cricket and that they will return to the pinnacle by next year.

Not true, and far from the truth.

The team appears to be on an uptick, but to get back to the top is going to take a long time and patience. So everyone should support Brathwaite and his team and not be too quick to despise him when results go against us, especially against the better teams, some of which will tour the Caribbean later this summer.

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