Windies 'substitutes' should seize the moment in Bangladesh

By January 17, 2021

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

  1. Windies men- Nothing to lose so much to gain!

It is no secret that as the West Indies get set to face Bangladesh on January 20, in their first One-Day International, the home side is the overwhelming favourite, especially because of their track record of winning at home. The Windies enter against a backdrop comprising of several senior players opting out, Hayden Walsh Jr getting Covid-19 mere days before the first ODI, eight players making their ODI debut and the captain, Jason Mohammed, who last played for the Windies in 2018. Despite all these factors, they walk into this series with nothing to lose and so much to gain.

It is easy to point out the lack of experience in the Windies team. Simply put, as I mentioned before, eight of the players suiting up will be making their debuts. In the ODI setup, Rovman Powell is the most experienced having played 34 matches with the skipper Jason Mohammed ranked second with 28. While this is enough to say the Windies team is inexperienced we must also note that Bangladesh also has three uncapped players - off-spinner Mahadi Hasan and pacers Shorful Islam and Hasan Mahmud.

Similarly, it is natural to feel uneasy that ODI skipper Jason Mohammed has been out of Windies cricket since 2018. However, we cannot forget that Mohammed previously captained the Windies in an ODI against England in 2017 and in three T20Is during their 2018 Pakistan tour.

It was during a similar situation when key players refused to play and CWI thrust Mohammed to the helm.

All things considered, it is not always a disadvantage to be the underdogs if the team is physically and mentally ready. In World-Cup-winning captain Clive Lloyd’s open letter to the team, he highlighted that he made his debut on short notice against India 1966. He got his call up just hours before the game and went on to score 82 and 78. 

And, in that is the bigger picture. A ticket to the World Cup awaits any player who seizes this moment. Wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva impressed on his Test debut in New Zealand where he scored an impressive half-century.

Batsman Kjorn Ottley is another player who could force his way into the first team. In 2019, he played for Barbados in the 50-over competition and scored 325 runs in the nine innings at an average of 54.16.  All-rounder Akeal Hosein will be eager to transfer his CPL form into this format of the game.

The 27-year-old was the leading wicket-taker in T&T’s 2020 first-class season with a total of 36 wickets at an average of 20.61. 

 

  1. Brooklyn Nets Success: One Word- Sacrifice.

News of James Harden leaving the Houston Rockets and joining the Brooklyn Nets did not sit very well with me as a Rockets supporter. It took me a few days to process his exit. However, as Harden’s biggest supporter and critic I understand the reason for the move. The three-time NBA scoring champion is desperate to win a Championship and he is not getting younger. However, if the Nets are to be successful it comes down to a key factor - sacrifice.

 The “Big Three” of James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant can only work well if they share the ball. Over the last 10 seasons, all three players have ranked in the top 10 in the highest usage rate in clutch time. Harden described it best while addressing the media. 

“When it comes to facilitating it depends on the flow of the game. Some nights I’ll be a facilitator. Some nights I might get it going and score the ball at a high clip. That is the beauty of being versatile and being able to do more than one thing. Same with Kevin and same with Kyrie. Every night is going to be different.”

 Each of the three players will be required to sacrifice whatever is going on behind the scenes of their lives if they are to win a championship. Irving was fined USD$50,000 for breaching the NBA Covid-19 protocols after a video surfaced on social media that showed him at a birthday party with no mask.

He also made an appearance at a Zoom fundraiser for a progressive political candidate half-hour before the tipoff of a Nets game.  He needs to show up mentally and physically.  Harden is out of shape and will have to avoid getting into Covid-19 trouble again. Additionally, it will be in the team’s best interest if KD stays injury free and avoids getting the virus again.

 In order for the Nets to get the best of the Harden trade all egos have to be put aside and the players need to allow rookie head coach Steve Nash and assistant coach Michael  D'Antoni to do their jobs without interference.

A positive to draw from this is Harden has worked well with D’Antoni at the Rockets and even cited his move had a lot to do with the influence of the assistant coach.

Kevin Durant, without a doubt, is a selfless player. He sacrificed his Achilles when he returned to the 2019 NBA finals too soon.  His value to the team goes without saying, however, a key element of the Nets success this season will be his acceptance of the leadership role. 

The Brooklyn Nets are championship contenders for 2021. The big question is then “Who is selfless enough to step back?” 

  

  1. Widespread vaccination and speedy rollout can ensure the Tokyo Olympics proceed.

Japanese government officials say they are committed to hosting the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo despite a recent rise in Covid-19 cases.  Reports indicate that the international Olympic Committee is working on ways to ensure that athletes are vaccinated so the event can proceed safely in July.

As of Friday, 15 January, Tokyo confirmed 2001 new infections. The number of new infections and the shortage of hospital beds are making it difficult to hospitalize coronavirus patients.  Deputy head of the Tokyo Medical Association Masataka Inakuchi has warned that the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients could rise to approximately 4600 in a week and 7000 in two weeks.

One can only hope that there will be widespread vaccination rollouts and speedy distribution in Tokyo so the Olympic Games can proceed without any further delay. 

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Markram 'not brainwashed' by reaching T20 World Cup semi-finals Markram 'not brainwashed' by reaching T20 World Cup semi-finals

    Aiden Markram was in no mood to celebrate despite helping South Africa secure their place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. 

    The Proteas earned a three-wicket victory over co-hosts West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. 

    South Africa restricted their opponents to 135-8, but lost Reeza Hendricks (1) and Quinton de Kock (7) in the second over before Tristan Stubbs and Heinrich Klaasen steadied the ship. 

    Marco Jansen was the man to get them over the line, holding his his nerve and hitting a six to secure the triumph with five balls of the contest remaining.

    "A lot of relief to get through to the semi-final," captain Markram, who scored 18 runs from 22 balls, said after the encounter. 

    "But I'm not going to be brainwashed by that, we'd have liked to be a lot more convincing in getting the job done.

    "It's been the story of our competition to get ourselves into tricky situations then by hook or by crook, get over the line."

    For the West Indies, the defeat ended their hopes of claiming a third T20 World Cup title, having lost to England and overcoming fellow co-hosts the United States in their Super 8 fixtures. 

    "Credit to the boys, they fought to the very end. As a batting group, best to forget, the middle overs especially," Windies captain Rovman Powell said. 

    "When you look on a large scale, we haven't reached the semis. But the cricket we've played in the last 12 months is commendable. To move from number nine to number three in the world, there's a lot of buzz in West Indies cricket.

    "When we hear the anthem play we hear something, we're heading in the right direction."

  • Despite elimination, Windies captain Rovman Powell commends team's tremendous progress Despite elimination, Windies captain Rovman Powell commends team's tremendous progress

    West Indies’ ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign came to an end on June 23, when the co-hosts suffered a narrow defeat to South Africa in their final Super Eights fixture.

    After an exceptional start in the first round, having gathered all eight points from their four matches to top Group D, and making into the Super Eights as a serious title contender, West Indies witnessed a dip in form against England, and South Africa. This cost them their semi-final berth.

    Still, captain Powell is proud of how the team progressed throughout the year, moving up the ladder to third place in June 2024 [a recent loss saw them drop a position] in the ICC Men’s T20 International Team Rankings.

    “I think the cricket we have played in the last 12 months or so is commendable," stated Powell in the post-match presentation ceremony.

    "Credit has to be given to the team. If you can take a year to move from number nine to number three in the world, that's tremendous work."

    West Indies put up quite a show during the tournament, with a number of home players firing up the crowd's imagination. There were brilliant wins over New Zealand and Afghanistan.

    The West Indies captain shared his joy in seeing a lot of buzz around the Caribbean again.

    “We haven't won the World Cup, but there was a lot of improvement. There's a lot of buzz around the Caribbean again about West Indies cricket. We have done some very good things over the last 12 months.”

    “Now is where the work starts. It's for us to continue to work as a group, still be tight, and hopefully, just hopefully, we can continue to climb the rankings and make the Caribbean people proud.”

    Powell acknowledged the support they received on and off the field during the home World Cup and identified it as a sign that the team was headed in the right direction.

    “That (the support) has been fantastic. For all the venues that we have played, for all the social media likes and stuff that people have given us, we as a team really appreciate it.”

    Emphasizing on comeback of the West Indies’ cricketing culture, he added, “It's good to see that some buzz is back in the Caribbean for cricket, because we know how long that has died down. Now people are rallying around the West Indies as they do. Now, when we hear the anthem play, as players we feel something. I think that is heading in the right direction.”

    The Windies succumbed to a disheartening loss against South Africa to step back from the tournament as they failed to defend a target of 123, in 17 overs (DLS).

    A poor batting display kept them restricted to 135 runs in 20 overs, with Roston Chase (52 runs in 42 balls) bagging himself a half century. With the ball, Alzarri Joseph, Andre Russell, and Chase did an excellent job picking up a total of seven wickets between them but thanks to a composed finish from Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada, the South Africans took home a three-wicket win with five balls to spare.

    Though dismayed at this outing, Powell credited his side for their spirit.

    “As a batting group, this is one batting performance we'll try our best to forget. I think we didn't bat well in the middle overs especially," Powell said.

    "You see both teams bat on the wicket. Obviously, it wasn't an easy wicket, especially to get started. I think it was a commendable bowling effort. 130 (135) at the halfway mark, we said we're just going to give it our all, whatever happens, happens.

    "Credit has to be given to the guys at the halfway mark. They believed, even though it was only 135. They fight to the very end."

     

     

     

     

  • Windies eliminated as South Africa withstand nervy finish to confirm World Cup semi-final spot Windies eliminated as South Africa withstand nervy finish to confirm World Cup semi-final spot

    South Africa booked their place in the T20 World Cup semi-finals following a tense three-wicket victory over West Indies on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. 

    Following England's success over co-hosts the United States on Sunday, the game in Antigua was a straight shootout to decide the other side to progress from Group 2. 

    The Proteas elected to bowl first and looked in control, having restricted West Indies to 135-8, with Tabraiz Shamsi starring in their attack (3-27). 

    However, Andre Russell struck twice in the second over of the chase, seeing Reeza Hendricks (1) and Quinton de Kock (7) fall to leave South Africa 15-2.

    The West Indies' momentum was halted, though, following a spell of rain at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, forcing the players off the pitch for over an hour. 

    South Africa returned with a new target from their remaining 17 overs, and although Roston Chase, who made 52 with the bat, took three wickets, the Proteas withstood the pressure as Marco Jansen sealed the win with a six with five balls remaining. 

     

    Data Debrief: De Kock breaks T20 record

    With the stumping of Rovman Powell, De Kock became the first player to record 100 dismissals as a wicketkeeper in T20I's (82 catches, 18 stumpings). 

    South Africa have now won each of their last four men’s T20Is played in West Indies, after winning just one of their five games (L4) in the country prior to that. 

     

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