Lara with quite a task at hand: Kieron Pollard, who recently announced his retirement from the Mumbai Indians, expressed his gladness about his time at the team and the meaning the franchise holds for him:
“I am extremely proud, honoured and blessed to have represented the biggest, and most successful team in IPL history!”
But if one were to take a leaf from the big man’s book and place it in the context of the national team Pollard has played and not to forget, even captained, one’s not sure whether there can be any pride.
Well, not in the least where one talks about the ouster of the West Indies from the most initial stage of the marquee T20 international competition: the World Cup itself.
As a matter of fact, the quintessential Windies fan can only feel disgust at the way the Nicholas Pooran-led side crashed out in the first stage itself of a T20 tournament of epic proportions.
So horrible and spineless were the West Indies performances that it didn’t feel, even once, that the playing eleven at Australia was, in fact, hailing from the West Indies: the name behind the famous wins of 2012 and 2016.
The fantastic titles, which came under the spirited leadership of former Windies cricketer Daren Sammy, lest it is forgotten, came a really long time ago.
It was, lest it is forgotten, a period of time where international Cricket knew nothing about names such as Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran, Sam Curran, Tristan Stubbs, Vikramjit Singh, Ravi Bishnoi and, Marco Jansen, to quote a few.
But what’s done is done; those entrusted with managing and governing the sport back home in the Caribbean have been tasked to set up a panel whose job is to look into the woeful run the Windies endured in Australia.
Performances that can’t even be called so especially that they came in the most important fiesta of T20 international cricket!
A show-stopping gala for some, while an eyesore to the die-hard Windies fan that knows the team can -and has- played better on other days.
In this edition, however, what’ll hurt and mist is the fact that the Windies were simply outplayed.
That’s when they’ve played T20 internationals pretty much all throughout the year and in just as many numbers as One-dayers, whether against England, The Netherlands, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan or Ireland.
Whether there’s talent (and genuine one at that) in the existing Pooran-led unit can be decided by the fact that there are nearly 8 batters in a team of eleven.
When you have players of the caliber and potential of Mayers, King, Pooran, Powell and Lewis, then how’s it that your top and middle order aren’t sorted?
Though, performing on that given day is a completely different story, the likes of which one saw in the victorious outcome against Zimbabwe.
In similar vein, when you have talent possessing both- turn as well as the sting- in the form of Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, and Obed McCoy, you cannot really complain that the bowling department is sedate or feather-weight.
Then on top, when you’ve got a world class all rounder in someone like Jason Holder, former captain and someone, who with a mere shuffle of his feet (movement), can smoke into mega sixes- there’s really little to worry about.
Except that it never really went right for the Windies.
In a tournament that functions on skill as much as intelligence – and not muscle flexing and display of pomp-the Windies accumulated dot balls, not fans.
All that can should have clicked, at least, on paper, didn’t when it came to real life.
Which is why now, nearly a month after the Windies’ ship came crashing down, the cricket management has decided to form a body to seek answers for the shoddy show.
So much so that the prince of Trinidad Brian Charles Lara, 53 international centuries and 11,953 Test runs to his name, has been appointed to this panel.
While Lara’s task is pretty much self explanatory, what needs some understanding is this:
How come a team filled with promising names and great potential played as bad as it did Down Under?
The heart crushing defeats to Scotland and Ireland will likely cause dismay for decades to come.
Truth be told, even as the downfall was evident back then, the team under the great Brian Lara did fight on most days with Ambrose, Sarwan, Walsh and Chanderpaul all playing their part- and bravely so!
Small totals were defended and with Lara in pomp and Chanderpaul at his defiant best, magic did happen.
It’s precisely the thing that bothers the true West Indies fan who, despite knowing there’s fine talent with today’s team, has to accept recurring defeats.
When will this phenomenon come to an end? Importantly, what observations with the stylish left hander Lara come up with?
(Watch this space for more)