Cricket

Published on May 31st, 2017 | by Suraj Choudhari

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An ICC Champions Trophy without West Indies

The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 is all set to kick start and the buzz for the same is constantly on a high. It’s not just a tournament but a battle between the top sides in world cricket, it is rightly acknowledged as the second-most coveted tournament after the ICC World Cup. For the first time in the history of ICC Champions Trophy, West Indies will be missing out from the tournament. They have been a force to reckon in the shortest format but looked bereft of oomph as the format kept getting longer. As per the new criteria, West Indies weren’t placed in the top eight rankings of the ICC One-Day Internationals (ODIs) team rankings, which ruled them out from the coveted tournament. West Indies were ranked ninth six months prior to the tournament and paved way for Bangladesh, who bounced back after 11 long years.

West Indies haven’t tasted a lot of success in ODI format for a while now, their cricketing career hit a new low after being ruled out from the high-voltage battle. Make no mistake, they are not short of talent, in fact, they have some superstars and match-winners but lacked temperament for longer formats and have often failed to click as a unit. And by looking at the way they have fared in this format, it won’t be wrong in saying that this may soon become a normality.

West Indies are a power-house, they add a lot of colour and spice to any tournament they feature in. Their whimsical players, manic power-hitting and fascinating charisma lit up the tournaments. One this is for sure, this tournament will not be the same with the Caribbean giants. The likes of Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels render batting a joy to behold. Many players from their current crop will make it to most of the All-Time XIs without sweating it out but many issues have affected their run. One of the major issues hampering West Indies run is related to the dispute over pay with the West Indies board.

West Indies merged victorious in the first two editions of the World Cup in 1975 and 1979, they were also the finalist in the 1983 edition but their ouster from the upcoming tournament is an indication of their disheartening downfall. For almost a decade now, West Indies have failed to develop into a formidable unit in longer formats. Their run in longer formats in the recent times has oscillated between mediocrity and occasional spark of brilliance.

West Indies have not done anything noteworthy in the ODIs and failed to beat any top team in a series. The game is evolving and West Indies have certainly not managed to cope up with it and hence paying the price for it. They have not won a single series in last ten contests including the World Cup. Their last series win came way back in 2014 against Bangladesh.

Let’s take a brief look at what the tournament will miss in the absence of West Indies.

Gayle is inarguably one of the most powerful hitters of the cricket ball and has been a massive entertainer at the top. Fans love his maverick approach, which will certainly be missing in this edition. Gayle is also known for his funny and humorous side off the field, which he has done quite successfully over the years. Darren Bravo’s class is mesmerising to watch for any cricket fan, which will again go for a toss this season.

Dwayne Bravo is one of the most effective bowlers when it comes to death bowling while and Samuel Badree’s craft with the new ball is again fascinating. Andre Russell’s horse-like stamina and ability to take on the big guns is again a testament to what West Indies are capable of. Though most of these players have not played an ODI for a while due to various reasons but had they been in the side the scenario would have been different.

Is there any captain as modest as Darren Sammy? Well, the answer is a tough one. He guided West Indies to a couple of World Twenty20 title yet he carries a modest smile on his face. Sammy may not carry eye-raising numbers to his name but he is one man ho knows how to build a team and get the best out of his players. Sammy is undoubtedly one of the most loved cricketers in the fraternity and will be dearly missed.

How many would have thought West Indies will win the 2016 World T20 title after 19 runs were needed in the ultimate over with an inexperienced yet capable Carlos Brathwaite on strike? But they did the unpredictable and scripted history by plundering 24 off the first four balls and claiming the title in their own way. This is West Indies, which are no more a part of the ICC Champions Trophy and if the loopholes are not taken care of then this may become a regularity.

Associate teams are working tremendously in building a solid team and it’s disheartening for any cricket team to witness the drastic fall of a team, which is capable of achieving anything. As of now, all eyes are set at The Oval as the inaugural game between England and Pakistan is about to commence.

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About the Author

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Suraj Choudhari is a freelance sports journalist. He is an avid follower of the game and played the sport at club level. With a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, he tries to express it through paper and pen.



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