To review West Indies’ (WI) performance in the concluding 2019 Cricket World Cup (CWC) is an assignment some may feel requires a degree in psychology. They would be quite right. However, with a modicum of common sense and some cricket experience, one might be surprised to know how simple it really is.
There is a word often used that can describe performance in any field of activity and without it we human beings would be a miserable unhappy lot of creatures. That word is ‘discipline’.
Many have heard it uttered in several walks of life but so few seem to understand what it means. The founder of our nation thought it of sufficient importance to establish it as the number one of the watchwords of our nation. The main reason for this is that one could never be truly happy or successful without discipline!
A simple explanation is the quality of being able to behave and work in a controlled way which involves obeying particular rules or standards.
Pakistan/WI —May 31
WI won the toss and decided to field first. The Pakistanis were blown away on a quick lifting pitch that had them searching for an answer, showing shock and surprise at the steep bounce of the ball passing close to their faces. Good toss to win! WI batting was not convincing with Shai Hope and Darren Bravo, the two best batsmen on the team going cheaply. I believe if WI had batted first, the positions could have been reversed. Fortunate but a confidence booster.
Australia/WI — June 6
WI won toss, fielded first again. Same ground, different pitch. Trent Bridge. WI developed a swagger; captain Jason Holder believes his quick bowlers can cower any batsman. He makes a mistake by opening the bowling with the novice Oshane Thomas because he got 4 wickets in the first game, not considering his opposition and Thomas’ inexperience. However, his plan worked as Thomas got 2, though he started with 5 wides in his first over, Australia were 38/4 then 79/5. The bowling was clicking but the wheels started coming off and unknown batsmen got the better of loose bowling to make 288. Nonetheless that was a reachable target against the defending champs. Batsmen made good effort through Shai Hope. Didn’t agree with Evin Lewis replacing Bravo. WI lost by 15 runs but bowled 24 wides! Undisciplined bowling!
South Africa/WI — June 10
Holder won the toss for the 3rd time straight and sent their opponent in. Another good start from WI claiming 29/2 in 7.3 overs before rain shut off the day’s proceedings.
England/WI — June 14
WI on paper are performing well enough; but that’s not the type of toughness needed to win international games. WI for the first time lost the toss and was asked to bat first. It’s Southampton in Hampshire and the pitches are losing their spring moisture. WI are all out for 212, a total England surpassed without the slightest hint of a stumble, 213/2. One is left to wonder what activities are taking place between games! Are they practising, meaningfully?
Bangladesh/WI — June 17
On a small ground at Taunton where Viv Richards and Joel Garner played and were adored by Somerset fans, their Caribbean brothers let them down badly! Hope (96) batted maturely, only to have the skipper say he batted too slowly. Then the bowling and fielding were pathetic. There was no enthusiasm, no self-motivation, a side with their shoulders drooping and faces twisted. One could easily have mistaken them for a club team going through the motions before they retire to the bar for a drink! Sad to say, and even sadder to see. The bowling and fielding were poor, no one seemed to want to win! WI got to 321/8 in their 50 overs and lost by 7 wickets! This was Bangladesh, tearing WI bowlers to pieces! Garner walked off the ground, embarrassed.
New Zealand/WI—June 22
After the New Zealanders got to 291/8 in their 50 overs, WI continued their dismal unattractive performances with a bright spark of hope revealing itself at 164/7. Carlos Brathwaite, who played his first ODI game in 2011 and had scored just one 50 to his name discovered a never-say-die spirit, the way the game should be approached at all times. He played some magnificent strokes – like someone fed-up of losing – playing boisterous shots all round the wicket, theatrical in its execution and dramatic in the sheer tension and excitement he brought to the moment. Brathwaite seemed a man with a mission, a do-or-die effort with the just reward of a century nonetheless deserving of a victory! This is the spirit with which one plays international cricket. He fell short by 5 runs.
India/WI — June 27
Completely brushed aside as deserved by India, a professional disciplined team and the comparison was startlingly obvious. Bring back discipline and passion for the game – that’s the formula for success! India 268/7. WI 143 all out in 34.2 overs.
Editor’s Note: Bryan Davis’ column was submitted before the Sri Lanka/WI clash on Monday, July 1. Final score: Sri Lanka 338/6 and WI 315/9. The Afghanistan/WI game was to be played July 4, after our print deadline.