EDITORIAL: Keep up good work Windies!

IT is possible that England can bounce back from their humiliating loss in the first Test match against the West Indies and go on to win the three-match series. While such is the game of cricket, we won’t like that and our wish is for the West Indies to build on their one-nil lead by doing better in the two remaining Test matches and win the series. Everyone must be reminded that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and the fact that England is rated No.3 in the game and West Indies No. 8 means anything is possible in this game.

What is very distressing about the England-West Indies match up last week in Barbados however, stem from the comments attributed to both Geoffrey Boycott and Andrew Flintoff, two former England Test players, in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) post-Test match report. Boycott, a former England opening batsman, has dubbed West Indies an ordinary lot while Flintoff, an all-rounder of sorts, believes that if Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, can score a double century, then England’s numbers six to eight batters can score more runs. The comments by both gentlemen, who would be very familiar with the ups and down of cricket, were pathetic, unfair and ignorant. While anyone can rate a cricket team however they like, the simple truth is that game is played on the field and on the day players do shine regardless of who they are, how they are characterized by the pundits, and whether conditions suit them more than their opponents.

Holder’s comments in the same BBC report, and the general stats, reinforce certain truths about West Indies/England encounters, and the continuing emergence of the West Indies captain as a genuine all rounder. England has won only one Test series in the Caribbean since 1970 and that was in in 2004. So for all those years, taking into consideration the struggles the game in the Caribbean has gone through, England has not been able to capitalise on the West Indies misfortune’ to be more dominant in this part of the world.

It is not to be suggested here that with the victory the West Indies has turned the corner. Far from it, something that we have seen so often in the past when they have played well below their potential, leaving Caribbean cricket fans furious at the sight of the team being knocked over. The stats have also shown that Jason Holder’s record and performance in Test match cricket have been on the up in recent years. The double century he scored at Kensington Oval last week is a reflection of the improvement in his game. He captured two wickets, but there is a recognition that as a bowler he has also come on and great things are expected from him the future. We should not expect that every time he goes to the wicket to bat that he will score a century or take five wickets when he goes to bowl.

From here on West Indies have to remain focused and play to their true potential. It is known that England will be coming back strong looking for revenge. The Caribbean side must rise to the challenge and not be intimidated.

Barbados Advocate

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