If one were to consider some of top areas where the Caribbean is well-known for punching above its weight, one could count, in no specific order: sport (particularly of the sprint variety), the...
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Windies can be champions in India
Yes. Yes. Yes. The West Indies can win the World T20 Championships next month in India.
There is absolutely no doubt this team can win given the firepower and the skill of the players who will travel to India and despite the absence of Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo.
On the question of transparency between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), everyone involved in cricket from a logical and holistic point of view will speak in the affirmative about this.
The last “ Yes“ is all about the state of mind of the players who will travel to India under Darren Sammy and whose composure would have been affected by the unforgiving behaviour from the WICB and their unwillingness to negotiate and discuss matters with the affected players like any good and progressive management.
However, for the West Indies to win, they will have to hit the ground running from the start, with their opening match against England a crucial encounter from which they must ensure success. The team would appear to be strong in batting but a lot weaker in bowling without Sunil Narine. Pollard’s energy in the field is one area that cannot be replicated and sadly Ashley Nurse will not be able to compensate for Narine. In fact, if Nurse is on any starting eleven for the West Indies, things are bad.
The first six overs when the power play is in effect and the field restrictions in place will be crucial and therefore Christopher Gayle, the most destructive batsman in this game, will be expected to give the West Indies a flying start alongside the talented Lendl Simmons. Both players understand the Indian climate and can be expected to want to enhance their credentials on this world stage.
The absence of Darren Bravo at number three means that the enigmatic Marlon Samuels will be the choice, and the Caribbean will be hoping that the real Samuels shows up as he can be a dangerous player when in the mood. Given that this may be his last chance on the big stage, there is every incentive for him to excel.
Number 4 and 5 in the order will be important and either Johnson Charles or Andre Fletcher will be in those roles, and these are bit players with a lot to prove, in particular Fletcher, who has flattered to deceive in the past, and whose temperament more often than is wise, appears to get the better of him. Charles can open the innings as well, and has done so in the past, but he is at best, a slogger, who hits the ball hard and long, and if it is decided he will open, then Simmons may bat at 3 or 4.
My choice at 5 would be Dwayne Bravo. He can stroke the ball around and break up bowling attacks and his experience will be critical. It is important to have a man with a settled cricket brain in the middle of the batting.
Without Pollard, the West Indies will have to assign someone at the important number 6 position. Denesh Ramdin can be vital, if he gets his basics correct and given the fact that he wants to prove his worth in this format of the game, Ramdin’s contribution will be equally as important as his wicket keeping.
All-rounders Andre Russell and Sammy will probably at 7 and 8, depending on match situation and both can be destructive late in an innings.
With Jerome Taylor expected to lead the bowling attack, the question for the selectors will be whether to use two genuine spin bowlers in Suleiman Benn and Samuel Badree or one of them alongside hard hitting all-rounder Carlos Braithwaite. A lot may depend on the reading of the particular surface before the start of the match.
The teams to beat are home team India and Australia but if West Indies can play consistently and the players ignore the possible upheaval that is on the horizon through Caricom with the WICB, then West Indies can win for the second time in three World Cups.