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A THORNY ISSUE – Windies making strides

Andi Thornhill

A THORNY ISSUE – Windies making strides

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THE OBVIOUS is stated when we opine that the West Indies cricket team will find the going tougher against India.
In the meantime, let’s continue to count our blessings against Bangladesh.
I don’t know of any sane person who would consider our dominance over Bangladesh in the just ended series as an indicator that we have turned the corner and are about to return to our glory days.
Still, as a team who have struggled to overcome even the likes of minnows such as Bangladesh in recent years, we must see it as small treasures when we are able to beat them in any form of the game.
For the opposite is true and we can’t have it both ways. When we drop our guard against the lightweights, we characterize the side as the “Worst Indies”.
Therefore, if we beat them some credit has to be given with the proviso that we put things in the right context.
This concept applies to the present tour.
We may not have conquered the world but there are some successes from which we can take heart.
It has to be a notable watershed that opener Kraigg Brathwaite has posted his first half century in test cricket.
There were serious doubts about his capabilities at the highest level and he was dropped after his debut test against Pakistan.
The point I want to make is that though his detractors might argue that the quality of the opposition isn’t the same, we cannot underestimate what the milestone would have done for his confidence.
Some continue to say that Brathwaite bats too slowly or bats not to get out but I have often heard Sir Everton Weekes make the point that the only way you can make runs is by being in the middle.
Lest we forget, Brathwaite and Keiran Powell (who also got his first test 50) posted a century partnership. Even with more accomplished openers and against weak opposition, it’s been a rarity since the days of legends Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes for something like that to happen.
The talented Darren Bravo also made his first hundred and this could be the jump-start for many more.
Kirk Edwards’ solid, confident batsmanship puts him in a prime position to cement his place in the middle order.
Leg-spinner Davendra Bishoo continues to make steady progress too.
Last, but not least, Fidel Edwards.
Here’s a player whose return to international cricket after a prolonged injury was well executed by those in charge.
It was a gradual process but even so nobody knew for sure how his back would hold up or even if he would regain that old fire to intimidate batsmen.
His response has been affirmative and we must hope and pray that he remains fit.
This is where the Indian factor comes in and the relevance of what I have written before.
If any or all of those I have mentioned had gone to India without any significant runs or wickets to their names there would be an alarming confidence crisis and more than likely it would be counter-productive to the team’s objectives.
At least they went to India not feeling inferior but in a state of mind which assures them they can compete.
In our quest to become world beaters again, the players must believe in themselves more. They must draw inspiration from the successful teams of the past and must stand up and be counted.
If their success against Bangladesh helps in any small but tangible way in this process, I am satisfied.
Andi Thornhill is an award-winning freelance sports journalist.

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