West Indies plays its first match in this year’s World Cup against Pakistan today, and fans are hoping that the Caribbean squad will perform well. Brian Lara, former captain and batting sensation, feels that the team will reach the semi-finals. This is very doubtful since the team is not as disciplined as the players in the 1970s and 1980s.
More so, it does not have the calibre of players like Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Rohan Kanhai, Roy Fredericks, Gordon Greenidge, Alvin Kalicharran, Deryck Murray, Andy Roberts, Keith Boyce, Vanburn Holder, et al.
Jason Holder does not have the experience like Clive to outplay his rivals, and with the exception of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, and Darren Bravo, the squad is not up to par with their counterparts from England.
Windies won the first two tournaments in 1975 and 1979 and was runner up in the third, and not long afterwards, their performance started to decline. Now it is way down—number nine in Tests, number seven in ODIs and T20.
The players these days focus their attention on the shortest version of the game, where they are well paid. And because of the stiff competition, the batsmen target big scores like 400-plus.
From reports, the pitches in England have proven a batsman’s paradise, and it might not be too surprising if a record of 500 runs will be reached in one of these matches. I should mention that the Caribbean team scored 421 in a warm-up match against New Zealand. In the last World Cup in 2015, Gayle and Martin Guptill scored double centuries, but there are a few “big batters”— Virat Kohli— who scored 41 ODI centuries, and Rohit Sharma, the only man to score three double centuries in ODIs.
Holder’s men will come up against Pakistan at Trent Bridge today. We wish them well. We hope to get good scores from Evin Lewis, Gayle and Russell, and pace bowler Shannon Gabriel will excel.