Last year, since the Pakistan tour was called off due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Bangladesh hardly had any taste of international cricket except some mini shorter-format domestic tournaments here and there. Even though the threat of COVID-19 persists in Bangladesh and throughout the world, each and everyone decided to move on and allow normalcy to prevail maintaining the health hygiene measures.

West Indies decided to tour Bangladesh this year but they landed here with a third-tier side.

Ten West Indies players have declined the opportunity to tour due to COVID-19 related concerns or personal fears. Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, and Nicholas Pooran have all opted out, while Fabian Allen and Shane Dowrich are unavailable due to personal reasons.

The Test squad would be led by the experienced Brathwaite, with Jermaine Blackwood as vice-captain. Former Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies A captain Mohammed will lead the ODI team with Sunil Ambris as his deputy.

Kavem Hodge, the right-handed top-order batsman, earned a maiden call-up to the Test squad, while left-handed opener Shayne Moseley and all-rounder Kyle Mayers would also be touring in the Test squad for the first time, after making trips to England and New Zealand as reserves earlier this year.

Two players earned their first ODI call-ups – all-round left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein, and Kjorn Ottley, a left-handed top-order batsman.

Indeed it was a depleted side, but the Windies coach Phil Simmons sounded confident before the start of the three-match One-day International (ODI) series.

The ODI series was the first engagement for either side in the ICC Super League where the participating teams finish in the league will determine who qualifies directly for the 2023 World Cup – the top seven teams and hosts India would be certain participants – and who must go through the playoffs, to be held in Zimbabwe again.

Simmons clarified that he had no intention to go through the qualifiers of the ICC World Cup.

“It is mighty important [to get a good start] because you have to catch up in the series. We don’t want to get into the playoffs anymore. To catch up in the series is going to be really hard, so we need to start well.”

The stand-in skipper Jason Mohammed has said that his comeback into the West Indies team after more than two years, with the added bonus of being named the ODI captain, is his opportunity to get his place back when the main players are back.

Mohammed last played when Bangladesh toured West Indies in August 2018.

“I have been out for two years now. I have a role in leading the team but personally, I look forward to the challenge. It is a good opportunity for me to have a good series, and put my hands up for when the full-strength team is back, so I can really get my place back in that team.”

“It won’t be difficult to motivate myself. I want to be playing international cricket. It is a huge role being the leader of the Caribbean team. There’s no added pressure because playing as a captain is something I have been accustomed to doing. I just want to enjoy the series and turn around the stats (against Bangladesh).”

“Growing up you always want to play for the West Indies but leading the Caribbean team, it is a great feeling. Sometimes things come in different ways. I just have to grab this opportunity and make the best use of it, and lead the team to the best of my ability.”

“I haven’t played a game for a couple of months. We have been doing some practice with the T&T senior team. A couple of days here will be very important for preparation. I want to hit as many balls as I can, find the middle of the bat as soon as possible, and look forward to enjoy three good games of the series.”

“Inexperience or not, it is always difficult to pick your final XI. Obviously, the coach and myself and the other staff have to take the decision to put the best team in the park, which is ideal for the condition. It is going to be difficult selecting the XI for the first time. There is a lot of good exciting talent within the group. There aren’t a lot of senior guys in the team. There are a lot of youngsters in the team. My job will be to try to make them as calm and relaxed as possible. I want to try to guide the young bowlers as best possible in the field. I think everyone understands their game well at this level. I have to make sure they execute the plans.”

West Indies have already missed playing the ODI series against New Zealand and the Netherlands because of the Covid-19 pandemic, making the ODI series in Bangladesh important.

But as soon as the series commenced, the poor exhibition of the Windies against Bangladesh was evident.

The first ODI saw six West Indian cricketers make their debut in the format.

Bangladesh won the opening match by six wickets, with more than 16 overs to spare, and then won the second ODI by seven wickets to take an unassailable lead in the series. In the third ODI at Chattogram, they experienced the same fate and lost by 3-0.

From the Bangladesh point of view, it helped the Tigers to warm up for the future rosters whereas, it seemed, West Indies came here only to fulfill the formalities rather than trying to improve. The way they played it was painful to watch – meek surrenders made the victories of Bangladesh hollow.

What is the purpose of the West Indies in Bangladesh? Are they touring here to serve the purpose like Zimbabwe? Are they serious enough regarding international cricket? Or, they are focused more on Twenty20 Leagues? Do the longer-formats – Test and ODI – bear any importance for them? And, where are the exciting talents, which were endorsed by the West Indian captain?

Neither the bowling nor the batting nor the body language hinted any signs that the players from the touring party were eager to play cricket –and talk about exciting talents; those seemed a bunch of armatures handed with a cricket bat and ball.

In Dhaka and Chattogram – the West Indian display was a total mockery.

If the West Indies were very serious about the ODI Super League then they should have landed on Bangladesh with a full-strength side. Bringing on such a third-tier sense only gave the impression that the Caribbean are not serious at all playing cricket.

At least, the inspirational words from the legendary Clive Lloyd should have inspired them.

The Test series is coming and one hope, the players motivate themselves and pay respect to the words of Clive Lloyd and the predecessors, who took West Indies to the top of the world.

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