I have been a fan of West Indies Cricket since the 1960’s when I learnt the game was played internationally and was not just `bat and ball road side cricket and school yard.’ I saw the rise of West Indies Cricket under players like Garfield Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Conrad Hunte, Wesley Hall, Charlie Griffith etc followed by the era of Clive Lloyd, Vivian Richards, the four-prong pace attack etc. I also saw the decline of the West Indies which recently had to play a qualifier series to step up to the top level, World Cup play. Once you reach rock bottom the only way is to rise up or give up and die.
The present WI team is built around a few seasoned campaigners viz Chris Gayle, Samuels, and Roach et al. The younger players Hetymer, Paul, Hope, and Powell etc rely on the veterans for their cues as much as children will follow the pattern of their elders. It is my opinion the weak link in the WI chain is Chris Gayle. He has had great moments as a cricketer for West Indies and other forums. But top class opposition bowlers have pinpointed Gayle’s weakness and bowl to them. Gayle has no foot movement (he is a big man so I don’t expect any ballet moves from him). His greatest weapon is his power. He has however nullified this power by opting to use a huge cumbersome bat. As a result he has lost bat speed and cannot get his bat away quickly from certain balls resulting in edges to keeper or slips or failure to block his pads effectively. A lighter bat will give him more bat speed. At the speed of present day top class fast bowlers, split second reaction times can be the difference between edging or middling. The large bat also produces more surface edges for nicks. A lighter bat will give him more hand speed. In physics momentum=mass x velocity, the loss in mass will be equalized by an increase in velocity. Do the science. Cricket has become very scientic these days, not just about talent.
The next World Cup may be Gayle’s last. Let’s hope for the sake of West Indies Cricket he steps up and makes the 2019 World Cup a memorable one for himself and West Indies cricket instead of miserable failure. I have seen matches where men with lighter bats make hundreds while Gayle fails. Look how he got out in the last match against Afghanistan.
I remember also how Joe Root suckered him and Johnson Charles in the T20 final WI won courtesy of Samuels’s innings and Carlos Brathwaite’s last over heroics. Think, man, Chris, think!!
By the way is this the first time Australian cricketers have cheated or the first time they have been caught?