Going forward it can't be business as usual for WI cricketSaturday, November 13, 2021
Caribbean cricket fans are still hurting following the regional team's humiliatingly meek exit from the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty20 (T20) Cricket World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
But time is a great healer, so we know the pain will gradually fade.
West Indians, like cricket fans elsewhere, got a lift from the excellence of New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, and England over recent days as they battled for spots in the final.
Eventual finalists Australia and New Zealand are deserving. But the beaten semi-finalists can also hold their heads high.
Indeed, those of us watching on television were absolutely enthralled by the high standard of play not only from the last four, but also from most in the 12-team tournament.
Physical fitness, skill, strength, and strategic thinking were brought to the fore as players threw themselves around in the field; batters ran singles, twos, and threes like their life depended on it and held nothing back when they thought the ball was there to be hit; and the precision of much of the bowling was extremely impressive.
It was a lesson already learnt — but perhaps temporarily forgotten by the West Indies team — that in all formats of the game the most successful teams execute well in every area. So that, for example, while sixes and fours are very important in limited overs' cricket, maximising on every available run and turning over the strike as much as possible are also crucial.
In life, it's often the little things that end up making the big difference.
Such is the busy cricket schedule complicated by postponements caused by COVID-19 that Cricket West Indies must prepare afresh for yet another ICC Men's T20 World Cup set for a year from now.
Regrettably, the abysmal showing in the UAE — winning just a single game in five — means West Indies — champions prior to the just-ended tournament — have nosedived in the ICC rankings. They have fallen so low they will now have to qualify from a group including Sri Lanka and lesser-ranked teams to make it to the business end of next year's tournament.
Beginning immediately, Cricket West Indies and its Technical Director Mr James Adams will be looking to rebuild for the white ball challenges ahead.
Obviously, a number of older players controversially included in the UAE campaign will not be part of the process going forward. Already, Mr Dwayne Bravo has announced his retirement from international cricket and fellow great Mr Chris Gayle, at 42 years old, has indicated he is not far behind.
We expect that a number of younger players who have been kicking hard at the selectors' door will now have their chance. Everyone — selectors, administrators, and players — will have to understand that it can't be business as usual.
Fans, business partners, and all stakeholders in West Indies cricket were tested to the limit in the UAE.
Beyond limited overs' cricket, the Test match squad under the leadership of Mr Kraigg Brathwaite is now in Sri Lanka for a two-Test tour. This campaign forms part of the latest World Test championship , which started for the West Indies in mid-year with a 1-1 series draw against Pakistan in the Caribbean.
We wish Mr Brathwaite and his men all that's good.