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The Brink - Part I

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“It is very close now…”

I remember that remark beginning from one of those Lord of the Rings films when I think about the upcoming second Test against Australia.

Not since the 1999 back-against-the-wall Sabina Test against the same opponents where Lara (213) and Perry (second innings fiver) fashioned a most unlikely victory have the stakes been so high and the mood so grim.  A decade ago, the West Indies were rebounding from a second innings 51 in Trinidad that was viewed as nothing less than Armageddon and an indictment of Lara the skipper. 

The series was eventually squared and a breath of relief was heard across the archipelago but, as every local conspiracy theorist will tell you, there is no real cure for an ICC strategy that oversaw (i) the effective banning of bouncers (ii) the punitive administration of a 90 over day and corresponding hourly over-rate and (iii) the wholesale removal of West Indians from English county contracts. 

“But my heart blames it on me…”

However, even Stevie Wonder would be sufficiently perceptive to note that as crippling as that 15 year old administrative bitch’s brew described above may have been, the West Indian athlete of today can only best look into his collective shades-and-gold-chain-physically-unfit-fast-and-furious self and genuinely ponder his relevance in any professional sport outside of track-and-field.

“A man looks into the abyss and finds his character”

Yeah, ‘Wall Street’, but no less apt here. Long story, short: how goes the Adelaide Test goes the future of West Indian Test cricket….and Lara, with his collective miracles, has left the building.

 I write this as certainly as I know the sun shall rise in the east and set in the west and there is no one sufficiently optimistic to rebut me (and I’ve called many).

Having predicted a Windian surprise, I stood most shocked at the incomprehensible bowling strategies employed at Brisbane.  Has there been absolutely no learning in the last decade?  For Australia’s part, a thorough lap-top analysis of their hapless opponents had been internalized by their pedestrian attack and only x-factor Barath was able to break away as sweet-spot deliveries were completely withdrawn en masse over two quick team innings.  He shall not be so free-armed the next time around. Guaranteed.

Still, having been here before, I hold my ground and believe the bowling attack shall still fire…even without Lawson - and yes, I already hear the sound of my ‘Holdingwilley’ colleagues distancing themselves from my lunatic rants. 

The law of averages suggests that our sentinel Mr. Chanderapaul shall also get going and, who knows, Gayle may yet ‘do-a-ting’.

Clearly I’m playing at straws now but as in Sabina, straws...and Lara...were all we had and a collective life was saved. 

Can it be saved again...

                                      ...and perhaps more profoundly, should it?

(Click here to know more about Jonathan)



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