“West Indies could win ICC World T-20 in India in 2016!” by Colin Croft

13th August 2015

Patrolling the Boundary  – a view from the outfield

West Indies could win ICC’s next World T-20 tournament, to be held in India in March and April 2016, but that win would depend on many computations and selections.

I had also predicted, boasted even, during R. Allen Stanford’s 2008 T-20 tournament, that WI not only should, but would win World T-20 2012, as even by 2008, it was patently obvious that the T-20 format was best suited for our players and offered better possibilities for further WI success.

So, WI’s last international tournament win in 2012 at WT-20 in Sri Lanka did not surprise me. Oh, I have proof of that prediction too!

Also, by 2008, despite stalwarts Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan, WI cricket had descended into being an international joke, with batsmen being selected to play Tests for WI without even one first-class century, while others seemed incapable of thinking through any game that lasted even one day.

But WI had surprisingly, miraculously won ICC 50-overs Champions Trophy 2004 in England, under admittedly astute Brian Lara captaincy, beating England in that close final, WI’s first international success since winning ICC Cricket World Cup’s 1975 and 1979. Wow!

That 2004 success, experience, explosiveness and cohesiveness of our better players, especially batsmen, coupled with Stanford’s tournaments endeavors, showed that WI cricket was moving inexorably towards additional victories in the shortest form of the game, and were, overall, much better prepared physically, if not fully mentally, for assaults on the world’s T-20 teams.

India-2016 is nine months away, but proper planning and selections are main keys for WI to win there, since WI’s One-Day International and Test rankings are nearly on the floor.

Trinidad & Tobago’s Red Steel recent win in Caribbean Premier League 2015, beating similarly talented Barbados Trident, tells only one story; that a WI team consisting of several players from that final game, plus some from other teams, could bring WI further World T-20 success.

So, as suggested by West Indies Cricket Board, let us accentuate the positive, if it exists. Preferable would be to state stark truths and reality, not foolish, outlandish fantasies! Ha! Ha!
FYI, WI has the following world rankings and ratings points per International Cricket Council:
TESTS – No. 8 with 81 points, ahead of only Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. No. 1 South Africa has 130 points, while No. 7 Sri Lanka has 92 points. That gap between Sri Lanka and WI will not be closed any time soon, especially since WI will play Australia later this year, regardless of what happens to the Aussies in the present Ashes Test series. Expect a big Aussie backlash then too!

ODI’s – No. 9 with 88 points, ahead of only Ireland, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. No. 1 Australia has 129 points, while No. 8 Pakistan has 90 points. Extremely surprisingly, Bangladesh is at No. 7 with a comfortable 96 points. What a bizarre thing!

This is a very disappointing, extremely drastic, even dramatic situation. As previously noted by Vinood Mamchan in T&T Guardian and Tony Cozier in T&T Express, and probably known by all by now, perhaps except WICB, with its non-reactions and negligible pronouncements, only the top eight-ranked internal cricket teams will contest Champion Trophy 2017 in England.

So, if you are over 35 years old, perhaps younger, but are still actually somewhat interested in WI’s Test and ODI rankings, having not yet been fully usurped by Indian Premier League T-20 and especially wonderfully entertaining, superiorly colorful Caribbean Premier League T-20, you might be crying real, pure, red despondent blood when you read those rankings above.

You might even ask: ‘How the hell did we get here?’ Answering that could take months, but can anyone be surprised at WI’s Test and ODI ratings and WICB’s non-reactions to same? Nah!

WI’s short-comings have been almost universally obvious for a decade at least. Only those, like pseudo-emperors with no clothes on, hiding in insecure façades of self-importance and vindictiveness, seem devoid of that naked truth of our predicament. Some who try to inform and enlighten are usually ostracized and victimized. Beware God-Father Parts II and III, as retribution is cyclic!

T-20-I’s: This is where WI are rated highest; No. 4 with 117 points; behind World T-20 defending champions, from Bangladesh-2014, No. 1 Sri Lanka with 130 points; No. 2 Australia with 122 points and No. 3 India with 118 points. It is possible for WI to be No. 1 here again!

Victorious T&T Red Steel has no Champions League competition to look forward to anymore, so Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Suleiman Benn, Kieron Pollard, Jason Holder, Kevon Cooper, Samuel Badree, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse and Imran Khan; from last CPL final; plus Sunil Narine and Chris Gayle, if he recovers from his medical issues, could be nuclei for India-2016.

Some of those named still have on-going issues with WI cricket’s administrations and might not even be available, but realistically, ICC WT-20 India-2016 could be the last opportunity for some of this present generation of WI cricketers to win any further world championships for some time in the future. Hopefully, they recognize that and operate accordingly. Enjoy!

C.E.H. Croft

Colin Everton Hunte Croft was one of the fast-bowling giants of West Indies’ glorious period of world dominance. In his international career between 1977-82 he was part of a devastating 4-man pace attack alongside fellow greats Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and Joel Garner (with a young Malcolm Marshall as first reserve). In 27 Tests he took 125 wickets at 23.30 with a best of 8-29 v Pakistan in only his 2nd Test Match. He was a member of West Indies’ World Cup winning XI of 1979, and took the match-clinching wicket, spreading the stumps of England’s Mike Hendrick, to finish with figures of 3-42. In his post playing days ‘Crofty’ has been a teacher, commercial pilot, coach and a shrewd and honest cricket analyst, writer, broadcaster, commentator and summariser – gaining respect internationally for his insightful and forthright opinions and, not least, his splendid wit. Roland Butcher’s Hook is delighted to have Colin as a contributor.

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