Tuesday, 8 January 2008

A revolution in West Indies cricket is around the corner....

As a West Indian fan, nothing would please me more than to see West Indies win more matches in test cricket. A few years back, all seemed lost in regards to the Windies. They couldn't beat any major test side away from home and was even getting whitewash in their own backyard. However, with the way Chris Gayle's men are performing in the current series against South Africa, things seem to be moving in a forward direction. Gayle, somehow or the other, is making the guys feel very comfortable as a team.

Anyhow, my major aim here is to elaborate on the talent that is in the West Indies that can bring good fortunes to the once invincible side. In the opening department, there is a seventeen year old batsman by the name of Adrian Barath who is averaging over 50 in six matches of first class cricket. About two years back, I remember Lara saying to the selectors to keep an eye on him. Some are even saying it's the reason Lara is back playing for Trinidad - to guide the younger batsmen in the side.

For the Middle order, there is the belligerent Kieron Pollard (20 yrs) who averages mid 40's in a handful of games that he's played. Facing extreme pace is his main problem but the young lad is maturing vey quickly. Many thought he would just be a 2020 player as that's where his fame started when he carted the Nevis' bowlers all over the Stanford Cricket Ground in 2006. He however, has played with a lesser strike rate and scored some good scores already in first class cricket but nevertheless, he has to hit some big ones in his knocks. One other prospect is 19 year old right hand bat, Donwell Hector. Short and strong, he goes after anything short, most of the time, with great success. He hits uppishly with comfort but can keep them down as well but attacking is his way. Comfortable against both pace and spin and with a hunger to play for the Windies side, many wouldn't be surprised if he does, or when he does. His ability to dominate bowlers seperate him from many among his age group.

I'm gonna touch on the fast bowlers now, which looks very good! There are two pacers right about now, although there are more I can name but the two most impressive are Kemar Roach and Nelon Pascal. Kemar Roach is said to be bowling quicker than Tino Best (I'll just say a tad quicker) and as one of my mate said, "He'd rather face best because Roach is more nippy". Nelon Pascal, who can generate near 140 kph is a hostile bowler who bowls with a slingy action. Pascal and Roach are both past West Indies u19 fast bowlers. Their inclusion in a recent West Indies 23 man squad shows how good they are rated and at that time, without a 4 day game under their belt for their respective first class side.

In the spin deparment, none other than Amit Jaggernauth comes to mind. For the last two seasons, he has been very dominant with averages of 23 and less. He bowls with good flight, slows it down, and can spin the ball. It's only a matter of time before the selectors choose this young talent as spin bowling is very important these days.

For wicket keeper, there is the 21 year old Lindon James from the Windward Islands who has persons are saying that he is the best wicket keeping bat around the Windies (the way Ramdin is playing at the moment, you can't blame them).

There are some other talents I can name but they're quite young and so I won't judge them that quickly but some more names to look out for are; Andre Fletcher (opening bat), V. Permaul (left arm spinner, Windies u19 for 08 WC), Dawnley Grant (fast bowler, Windies u19 for 08 WC), Jason Dawes (fast bowler, Windies u19 for 08 WC)

My team for the future. (Chanderpaul time is nearly up so he's excluded)

Gayle, Barath, Sarwan, Samuels, Pollard, Bravo, Ramdin, Taylor, Jaggernauth, Powell, Edwards - Roach, Pascal, Hector, James, Sammy

Monday, 4 June 2007

Stars of the future

Their are a few youngsters in the international arena that looks very promising and are really nearly set to be stars. Here are a few....

Alaistar Cook of England looks set to be the best opener in the future. The lad has a nice temperament and his debut ton against India in India just shows what the lad is capable of. Already nearly a master off the backfoot, it allows him more time on the ball and it makes him comfortable against shorter balls.

Kevin Pietersen of England will probably be the best batsman in the future. In his 3 year career so far, he has already dominate the best of attacks and is a fantastic player of spin - something rare of an English man! Although England are not good at the pajama game, KP has been one of the best batters in that version for the past months. Yeah, he's that good! He's already taken England single handedly to victory in that version of the game which just shows his class.

Mohammed Asif of Pakistan is already a fantastic bowler and one can only reckon he will match or be better than his fellow countrymen, Waqar, Akram and Imran. Not new or too old to international cricket, he has already been a plague to some of the best batsmen around. His stamina is superb which allows his team more chances of success and he rarely lets them down with the new ball. His ability to be dead accurate and move the ball off the seam makes him a threat to all nations.

Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka, the slinger, has slinged out batsman and left them clueless. His slingy action allows him to generate pace and reverse swing which makes him very deadly at the end of the limited overs game. His accuracy for a slinger is superb and he can only get better. He's a dream come through for the Lankans as they never had a good fast bowler other than Chaminda Vaas.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

There ain't anything like cricket in the Caribbean

If asked 'where in the world has the best cricketing atmosphere', I wouldn't hesitate to say the Caribbean.

Where else in the world do you see the crowd on their feet and goes berserk when a boundary gets smacked. Whenever something dramatic happens, you will know by the crowd's reaction. The music also adds flavour to the game which makes cricket in the caribbean one of a kind. A boundary just got smacked and the music goes up and so does the fans. There are fans that blows the Conch shell that makes a great noise; something not heard any other place around the world.

When you're in the stands, the fans just get together and enjoy the moment together and share some jokes. Nothing brings people together in the Caribbean like cricket! It's always intense when the matches are playing and there are a lot going on in the middle. The crowd wants to get into the action too. If a wide is bowled that the umpire hasn't called, you can hear the crowd going wild and saying 'wide! UMPIRE!!! Wide!' The fans are very boisterous in the Caribbean and the noise they make for such a small population is amazing! They enjoy their cricket a lot and that makes the game more enjoyable!

Come this World Cup, the West Indian 'posse' will make it more enjoyable and something you won't ever forget as long as you live!

Monday, 12 February 2007

The astute ones will prevail.....

With the World Cup just around the corner, everyone predicts a cracker of a tournament!! Ofcourse every nation will be doing their best to try and win it, but playing alone wouldn't win any of the sides the Cup.

The matches will be close together in terms of date, so there wouldn't be enough time to get a great pitch all the time. The first 2 matches might be there for a nice, hard and bouncy surface with the ball coming on, but as time goes by, it will wear and tear, and with the sun beating down, there will be cracks and this is when the slower bowlers will come up thrumps! Having said all of that, poor selection and misjudgement of the pitches could affect the performance of the teams.

SA as we all know, are reluctant in playing spinners! It will haunt them this time around; and short pitch bowling all the time won't work in the caribbean at all! You will get savaged! Simply because as the tournament goes by, the surfaces would have lost some of it's life and that includes bounce and pace. Now is where the great and clever players will succeed. Pressure will be on when the pitch isn't in your favour and you have to have a good brain - something that is lacking in this sport today - to get out of the mess!

Trust me, by this April, we shall see the boys separated from the men!

Friday, 9 February 2007

A major but yet an unrecognizable role....

When a match has been played and it came out to be a brilliant one, we always only credit the players. We will say; “Watch a knock from Sachin!” “Brilliant bowling by McGrath to demolish…..” but we all fail to say; “Watch a brilliant wicket by the curator.” or “A magnificent outfield thanks to the groundsmen.”

The Groundsmen plays a big role in the out come of the match and how sweet the match is going to be. If it’s a poor wicket, the groundsmen are always the first to get the blame, but when it’s a great wicket where a thriller has occurred, we don’t say “…a great wicket from the groundsmen.” We have to understand that without the groundsmen in the first place, there would be no game! Without the groundsmen producing a great pitch, we won’t see a good game. The groundsmen are the ones responsible for bowlers ripping apart batsmen on wickets conducive to pace. They are the ones that make the pitches where we see great knocks from very special players.

Credit must be given where due and it’s time we appreciate the wonderful works by the groundsmen who makes cricket a very special game!!

Saturday, 3 February 2007

The sweetness of school cricket

School cricket is probably the first form of cricket competition anyone will participate in. It's definitely not one of the highest class, however, it's a very sweet and exciting form of cricket competition.

When you're in training, there possibly can't be anything better than a bit of banter between the lads. If you're of high quality of whatever skill you do, you'll enjoy it out on the park a lot. I can go reminiscing about the days of beating the batters bat with huge turn. It's a great feeling; something you don't get much of at the higher levels.

Playing matches used to be great as it's your young days in the game and you enjoy it a lot. You're there trying to look professional. There's a lot of stroke plays and wickets so it's mighty fun playing in school matches. Any total can be a winning one!

On the day of the matches use to be tons of fun! When the guys get into the place where we eat breakfast, there's a lot of humour in the air. Person's having banter with each other troubling them about "they are gonna get a duck...", or "he's getting hit a for pure 6." Some others will tell a joke and the whole team will just laugh and enjoy the moment together. That's what being a team is all about too. Let me tell you guys, enjoy the pre match fun and have a lot because if you're on the losing side, there won't be all that much after. Me myself has had that experience. When we lose, the guys aren't as funny as usual. I have appeared in 14 school matches and have won 5 and lost 9 so I know all about how it feels. If we win, then it's pure jubilation from the guys.

Sometimes, when we'd finished our matches and were going to take the ferry to go back to where we came from, we all use to put together money and buy bread, sausages and soft drinks and eat it on the ferry as a team and continue giving jokes. Beware! Don't ever abondon your food as it won't be there when you get back!