by Bryan Davis
As I write this piece, the Windies cricket team has played three games, has won all three and thus have qualified for the next round. This is the contest being played by ten nations from which two will be chosen to join the top eight to battle for the Cricket World Cup in 2019.
The Windies is a team made up of an archipelago between North and South America and was previously known as the West Indies. It is the only side in the competition that cannot be identified by its name or location.
There are countries participating like Papua New Guinea (PNG), Nepal, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates (UAE), that can all be located on a map of the world. However, there is nowhere on any map that exists, a country or region called Windies! So be it. We West Indians have allowed our group of nations to be hijacked and renamed.
Who are these people that feel they have the authority to change a region’s competitive sporting name which has served us so well through the build-up days when we were searching for recognition and identity, to our glorious years of invincibility when the world of cricket worshipped at our feet, to the darkest days of the past two decades?!
Why should a proud region as the West Indies, whose cricketers drew inspiration from its name, now have to crawl on its hands and knees to be called the Windies?
All those nations fighting for some measure of establishment and respect as cricket-playing countries with names like Nepal, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea, were unknown to sporting enthusiasts throughout the world. Many were also ignorant of the fact that these countries played cricket. Nevertheless, these nations show pride in their country and its name.
The West Indies Cricket Board, or Cricket West Indies as they are now called, can alter the name of their Board as much as they like, but they ought not to interfere with the sovereign name of the country or region.
These administrators should be ashamed of themselves for agreeing to this awful change from West Indies to Windies! Windies is strictly a journalistic term that cricket correspondents use to avoid repetition and to make their copy flow. It definitely should not replace a country’s name!
Several notches superior
Fans should not get carried away with West Indies’ three victories for, in my book, they were not convincing. Windies’ players and fans must bear in mind at all times that the Caribbean team is supposed to be a notch higher, if not several notches, than this opposition they’re facing and must show they are superior.
In the first game against UAE after two excellent innings by Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer of 123 and 127 respectively, they allowed their opponent to get to 297 for 6 in reply, batting out their 50 overs. The point is that at this level Jason Holder and his men should be bowling out teams if they have to have some credibility.
A decent score of 357 for 8 on the backs of two fine hundreds ought to have been reflected by a win over a wide margin, bowling this non-Test-playing team for less than 200 with overs to spare!
In the second game against PNG, they did the first part as expected, bowling them out for 200 in 42.4 overs; but lo and behold early wickets tumbled and the Windies were 58 for 4. A captain’s knock saved the blushes when Holder walked in and confidently struck 99 polished runs.
Shai Hope remained with him and they cruised past the target in 43 overs. Not taking anything away from the skipper’s innings, it must be noted that the runs were scored in the same number of overs as their supposedly weaker opposition! A bad sign—we ought to be crushing these amateurish sides.
Something worthy of note is that the selectors left out Gayle and Roach, the team’s two most experienced cricketers, the purportedly best batsman and theoretically best bowler. Yet Holder made the inane statement before the start of the tournament that his team would be approaching every game as if it were a final! Then, I ask, would you leave out Gayle and Roach from a final?!
Again, the third game, against a newly recognised Test-playing country, Ireland, after being sent in to bat Windies struggled at 83 for 5! Is this for real? An unproven Rovman Powell strolls in at #7 and smashes the Irish attack for six sixes and seven fours to complete a century in 98 deliveries: a brilliant knock!
In every game Windies were in trouble and the newspapers’ reports are all praises notwithstanding the fact that the opposition is fragile compared to the West Indies’ reputation.
I wait and I wonder!
Editor’s note: Last Monday the West Indies won their final group match against the Netherlands, topping their group in advancing to the Super Sixes stage.