Should the West Indies really be playing Test cricket? By the looks of it, the credibility of our involvement is clinging by ahair’s breadth. It seems to be resting solely on the goodwill of our past years of domination; certainly not by the returns of recent performances.
The Windies once again wilted in the face of quality opposition. Coming up against the best-ranked Test team in India proved too much of a task for the Caribbean boys. Boys indeed, for this was a battle of men versus boys. They finished the second Test yesterday on the wrong end of 257 runs. Chasing another massive score, the West Indies seemed nowhere near prepared to put up a fight, and it showed. In your home turf, with an arrangement of names that’ve proven themselves in the local circuit, we expected better. Not the roll-over-and-die exhibit that we’ve come to accept as normal. Thesecond innings score of 210 in a 457-run chase is nowhere near world-class, but at least it improved on the 100 from the First Test – a score that was still flattering given they were 37-7 and then 50-9.
And while the batting is appalling, that doesn’t mean the bowling is without flaws. Yes, we’ve seen sparks of brilliance from Roach, holder, et al but that is no reason to go with the impression that the bowling cannot be improved on. India’s scores across both games were 297, 343, 416 and 168-4. The bowling unit gave creditable performances in bursts, but sporadic performances don’t win matches.
India’s stats got a definite boost after their 2-0 annihilation of the West Indies. 21-year-old Rishabh Pant became the fastest Indian wicket-keeper to claim 50 dismissals in Test cricket, bettering the stats of the legendary MS Dhoni. Dhoni achieved the feat in 15 Tests, while Pant took 11. 11 of those 50 scalps came in the two Tests against the Windies. Jasprit Bumrahsnared 5 for 7 in the First Test, while Hanuma Vihari got his hundred in Test Two after barely missing out in the first match.We’re in no way discrediting the work of these class acts, but the frailty of our team just made these achievements easier than they should have been.
Back to our opening question: should the West Indies even be playing Test cricket? We need to get our act together, and quickly. At least with the CPL around the corner, we’ll see the swashbuckling, missile-launching shot fests that our batsmen have been groomed to produce. At least we’ll have a hiatus from being the bobolee of international cricket.