A positive note for West Indies women; pain for the men's teamSaturday, December 04, 2021
All concerned would have preferred West Indies Women to advance to next year's International Cricket Council (ICC) 50-over World Cup purely by virtue of their performances on the field of play.
As it turned out, the decision in late November by the ICC to abandon a qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe — because of fears associated with Omicron, the latest identified variant of the novel coronavirus — led to the Caribbean team qualifying by dint of ranking.
We are told that in line with the tournament's playing conditions, West Indies, Bangladesh and Pakistan advanced to the 2022 Women's Cricket World Cup because they were the highest ranked teams at the qualifying tournament.
They will join Australia, England, India, South Africa, and hosts New Zealand at the World Cup.
Our women will have the satisfaction of knowing that until qualification was taken out of their hands by officialdom they did what they had to do on the field — easily beating Ireland by six wickets in their only game.
For West Indian cricket fans, the women's progression is just about the only good news in recent times following a disastrous Men's Twenty20 (T20) World Cup campaign and a 0-2 trouncing by Sri Lanka in the just-ended two-Test series in that country. Mr Kieron Pollard's men, who were defending a T20 title gloriously won in 2016, exited the recent tournament in the first round with just a single win.
With Mr Dwayne Bravo retired, Mr Chris Gayle on the brink, and a few other ageing players who were at the World Cup also expected to exit international cricket, West Indians will watch with interest a number of promising youngsters included for an upcoming short, white-ball trip to Pakistan.
In the red-ball format, thoughts of the Test squad bringing joy in Sri Lanka went up in smoke. Mr Kraigg Brathwaithe's men were no match for their hosts, losing both Tests by large margins on pitches friendly to spin bowlers. With the exception of Mr Nkrumah Bonner, the West Indian batsmen in Sri Lanka were, for the most part, found badly wanting in technique and capacity against the high quality Sri Lankan spinners.
With the strength of hindsight we are left to wonder if, in every case and in the context of 'horses for courses', the batsmen best suited to cope with Sri Lankan conditions were selected. In that regard we think it is full time for Cricket West Indies to speak openly about the non-selection for Test cricket of so-called 'white ball specialists' such as Messrs Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, and Nicholas Pooran, who many analysts believe are our best players.
Given the complexities caused by global cricket's crowded schedule and the financial rewards involved in the growing number of T20 tournaments, there are no doubt good reasons for their absence from cricket's longest, hardest, most respected, yet least lucrative format.
Again, we think Cricket West Indies should speak openly and completely on this matter.