Age just a number – why calls to ignore Gayle, Edwards, Bravo for Windies selection make no sense

By Sports Desk May 23, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The selection of a trio of West Indies veteran player, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, and Fidel Edwards to an 18-man squad that recently began preparations for the upcoming World Cup has been met with very strong resistance in some quarters.

For some, the inclusion of these players, to a preliminary squad, mind you, is an indication that the Cricket West Indies selectors have staggered upon the unwise path of stifling abundant youth talent.  On closer inspection, however, it's hard to see how anyone looking to substantiate that particular claim could possibly do so.

At ages of 41, 39, and 37, there is no disputing the fact that Gayle, Edwards, and Bravo are no longer in the prime of their careers.  What is, however, it seems, in doubt, at this particular moment in time, is whether their contributions can still rise to the level of helping the West Indies attain its ultimate objective, in this case winning a third World Cup.

With that in mind, what CWI has done by calling these players is give them the opportunity to prove the degree that the aforementioned contributions can still rise to, and it's hard to argue against that, reasonably anyway.

As for the case of leaving talented young players out of the mix, and this point was made expertly by the team’s captain Kieron Pollard, many of those players have had ample opportunity to prove their value to the West Indies T20 team.

Between the end of the 2016 ICC World Cup, which was won by the West Indies, and the most recent T20I series against Sri Lanka, the West Indies have played 20 series.  In many instances, the squad consisted of a mix of young players with some senior players.  During the period, the team lost 11 matches, won 8, and drew 1, which precipitated a massive slide down the T20I rankings table to the team’s current position of 10th.

The losses weren’t all the fault of newer players but given the opportunity to step into the limelight and make the squad their own, they failed to do so.  Some did, and we can take note that the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, and a few others have been called to the current squad.

During that time, Gayle played 6 matches and Bravo played 5.  Between them, the duo boasts a number of T20 records and have captured two World Cups, surely, we can’t be arguing that all that experience should be shut out or not be given a chance to prove their value simply based on the date printed on their birth certificates.

 

Related items

  • Sharma backed himself to be 'smart' with the bat in big India win Sharma backed himself to be 'smart' with the bat in big India win

    Rohit Sharma says he was "backing himself" for a big game after inspiring India to the win over Australia that saw them into the T20 World Cup semi-finals on Monday.

    Sharma became India's top scorer in T20Is, with his knock of 92 taking him to 4165, leapfrogging Virat Kohli's record of 4103.

    After a strong batting performance, India smothered what looked like a spirited chase by Australia to win by 24 runs and set up a meeting with England in the next round.

    Sharma admitted he was confident heading into the match and backed himself to outsmart Australia’s bowlers.

    That's what I have to do at the top of the order, see what the bowlers are trying to do and play accordingly," Sharma said.

    "There was a strong breeze and I needed to be smart. I was backing myself to do that.

    "You've got to factor in the breeze and the bowlers are smart as well. They won't bowl into the wind, and you can't be one-dimensional.

    "You have to access all sides of the field. It's been a good wicket and that's something you want to do as a batter, and you want to back yourself as a batter to play those shots.

    "Getting the century didn't matter. I wanted to bat with the same tempo throughout and put the bowlers under pressure.

    "You want to make big scores, yes. But you also want the bowlers to wonder where the next shot is going to come from."

    Meanwhile, Australia's World Cup fate is now out of their own hands.

    If Afghanistan beat Bangladesh in the later game, Australia will be knocked out, though even a big Bangladesh win would knock them out on net run rate.

    "Yeah, it's so disappointing," Mitchell Marsh said. "We know we still have a chance to make the semis but today, India got the better of us.

    "Over 40 overs there are a lot of small moments that you can think you could have done things better. But they got off to a flyer. Rohit Sharma is very hard to stop when he's in that mode. He deserves all the credit for that.

    "We knew that if we kept up with 10 an over for as long as possible, we were in the game. But India have some class bowlers, and they were too good for us today.

    "Come on Bangladesh!"

  • India cruise into World Cup semi-finals, Australia on the brink of exit India cruise into World Cup semi-finals, Australia on the brink of exit

    India booked their place in the T20 World Cup semi-finals with an impressive 24-run victory over Australia on Monday.

    Rohit Sharma was the star, hitting an excellent 92 off 41 balls to set India on their way to the win, with defeat leaving Australia in a precarious position.

    Virat Kohli was out for a duck after being caught off Josh Hazlewood early on (2-14), but Sharma took control, getting his half-century off just 19 balls.

    He was eventually bowled out by Mitchell Starc (2-45), but the damage was already done, as Suryakumar Yadav (31), Shivam Dube (28) and Hardik Pandya (27no) helped India to 205-5.

    Australia started their innings strongly though, as Travis Head hit 76, but he was caught by Sharma after Axal Patel pulled off an incredible one-handed catch to dismiss Mitchell Marsh for 37.

    The chase stalled somewhat after that, with Arshdeep Singh getting two late wickets to finish on 3-37, limiting Australia to just 181-7.

    India will face England in the semi-finals, but defeat for Australia means they will be out of the tournament if Afghanistan beat Bangladesh. They could also miss out on net run rate if the result is flipped and Bangladesh get a big enough victory.

    Data Debrief: Sharma on top

    Sharma's knock of 92 included seven fours and eight sixes, and it means that he leapfrogs to the top of the charts.

    He is now the top scorer for India in T20Is with 4165 runs, going past Virat Kohli's 4103, and is also the top-scorer in T20Is overall, moving above Babar Azam's tally of 4145.

  • 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."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.