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A BCD fightback

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Jason_Holder_West_Indies_cricket‘Another one-sided match,’ was what almost everyone said, when the Kingston Test match between India and the West Indies was going on. Viv Richards despaired; so did Ian Bishop. Sunny Gavaskar asked, ‘Where is the fight?’  All, including the writer, thought that Kingston would be a tame encore of St Johns. But what did we see?

The ‘fight’ that Gavaskar asked for. The ‘fight’ warmed our hearts, just as Darren Sammy’s heartfelt speech after lifting the T20 World Cup.

Blackwood, Chase and Dowrich – the BCD trio (incidentally), followed by skipper Jason Holder may have been thought of as small fry to be gobbled up easily by the Indian bowlers. What this quartet displayed may soon be forgotten. But this certainly reinforced the belief in the hearts and minds of cricket-enthusiasts that gone are the days of the ‘processions’ which would follow Sunil Gavaskar to the dressing room in Test cricket or the loss of the first 5 wickets would make the opposition’s bowlers heave sighs of relief and get over-confident about wiping out the tail as if they were flies to be swatted.

 

Shane Dowrich (4 Test matches), Jermaine Blackwood (17), Roston Chase (2) and Jason Holder (15), all 24 years of age (another beautiful coincidence)  - 3 Barbadians and 1 Jamaican, with one of them coming up with a match-saving, Man-of-the-Match-winning all-round performance just when it mattered (interestingly quite similar to what Ashwin did in the Antigua Test match, albeit in the reverse order), have sent clear signals to the Indians that the next two Tests may not be cakewalks. One can also hope that these 24-year-olds in the lower-middle-order would inspire the bigwigs further up the batting order – Samuels and Bravo – to get their acts together.

Holder, as a young commander, has the potential to lead from the front with both bat and ball – and that is vital! He can, by walking the talk, also touch the hearts of the seniors up in the batting order to help him in his efforts at resurgence.

No matter what critics say, there is a distinct ray of hope that this archipelagic team will hit its purple patch soon. Holder can motivate himself by recalling Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clive Lloyd, two legendary captains who took the West Indian team to the pinnacle in two different eras of the game. The bricks are all strong and wonderfully baked, it is the mortar which binds them together to make a strong wall that brings about a transformation. It is also a truth, which uplifts one and all, that signs of a decline actually herald a fresh, new and exciting beginning. Remember the Yin-Yang symbol of Taoism.

Philosophy apart, the mere fact that all-rounders (more specifically, bowlers who can bat) have excelled and shown admirable courage with the willow, particularly Chase and Holder, is indicative of the fact that the West Indians will not languish for long in Test cricket. The islands which produced the likes of Constantine, Weekes, Worrell, Walcott, Sobers, Lloyd, Richards, Walsh and Ambrose, Marshall, Holding, Garner and Roberts, surely are not devoid of talent!

What is called for is to find the right combination, support Holder in his efforts, and also a more-concerned Cricket Board. If all these factors (or at least any two of these) are present, a resurgence cannot be stopped. Gros Islet and Port-of-Spain will most likely have different stories to tell.

 

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G Venkatesh (born 1972) is a senior lecturer in Energy and Environment, at Karlstad University in S...

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