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In Greek mythology, the God of rain and thunder is Zeus, the first God of the Greek Pantheon and King of all the Gods. He is called the father of all Gods and men. It looks as if Zeus wasn’t happy after Pakistan and West Indies replaced a test match with two T20 internationals as the first T20I was eaten by Covid-19, rain washed out another 3 while one remaining T20I was won by the visitors. Fans could see just one competitive game.
West Indies now have gotten nothing from the T20I series, the same being their last T20I series before the T20 World Cup. On the other hand, hosts will have moral victory over the Carribeans heading into the 2 match test series, starting from August 12 in Jamaica, as Pakistan wins the series 1-0.
West Indies and T20 World Cup 2021
When West Indies won the series against Australia 3-0 after the first three T20I matches, Phil Simmons, West Indian head coach, expressed his pleasure seeing the team playing as a unit. In his view, the main purpose of these 15 T20I games of West Indies on Caribbean grounds was to unite these veteran players who haven’t played together since T20 World Cup 2016.
West Indies hasn’t been able to utilize its talent to its full potential due to the franchise leagues around the world, that are designed and working on the capitalist system. Capitalism is designed in a way that rich organizations attract and feed global talent and use it for their own profits and interests. This is what has thrown West Indies cricket into a decline as greats like Gayle, Bravo, Pollard, and Russell prioritized franchise cricket over their national duties.
Despite all the challenges and odds, when all of them sit together in the West Indian dugout, the main thing they would love to have is an environment of the national team.
The second thing Simmons expected from the T20I series versus Pakistan was to try out different options. West Indies wants a replacement of Marlon Samuels and the way Nicholas Pooran played in the second T20I against Pakistan where he scored an unbeaten 62* off 32, Simmons must consider him a replacement for Marlon Samuels.
West Indies should focus on the rotation of strike while they need someone who would take the responsibility to take wickets with the new ball. The greatest fans of West Indies would agree that they have a spin problem and their bowling looks like an average attack. Still, they have tried a lot of players and have gotten plenty of positives.
“Obviously we will have to see what happens with the T20 WC squad. Obed Mccoy and Hayden Walsh have been fantastic for us, they have done very well for themselves and Fabien Allen has been the real positive for us,” After the 4th T20I was called off, West Indian skipper talked about his team and their plans, “We have spoken about how we want to play and what we want to improve and practice, we have very very exciting times coming up. We were never gonna be perfect but we will try and pick our best team for the Men in Maroon, let’s see what happens.”
DJ Bravo’s Last Match on his home soil
The 4th T20I between Pakistan and West Indies was the last T20I of Dwayne Bravo on Caribbean grounds. He has already announced his retirement from ODI and Test cricket. Dwayne Bravo played for West Indies for 17 years, from 2004-2021 as his international career is set to come to an end after the T20 World Cup 2021 in October and November. Bravo is perhaps the best and most modern allrounder West Indies have gotten to date and players of this caliber play a lot of cricket for the national team.
Let’s talk about ODI cricket only. The best all-rounder Pakistan had come across between 1996-2015 was Shahid Afridi who played almost 400 ODIs for Pakistan. If he played 2 years less, he may have played in matches somewhere between 330-350. Dwayne Bravo, on the other hand, played just 164 ODIs while the number of wickets he got in the franchise T20 cricket, the highest in the world, are 532. Bravo’s ODIs, T20I, and Test match wickets all combined don’t get even somewhere closer to his franchise cricket record. I mean what is 361 in front of 532? Such is the waste of talent West Indies have done over the years.
Bravo was never used to his full potential after 2013 and the underlined factors can be highlighted by just one example; Bravo played a central role in West Indies’ withdrawal from the India series in 2014 due to payment issues with the West Indies Cricket Board. The same issue was expressed by Darren Sammy as well in his emotional speech after T20 World Cup 2016 triumph.
In his later years, DJ Bravo became a key part of Chennai Super Kings squad and we may witness him for a couple of more years in IPL and other leagues around the globe.
Pakistan wins the series but there are plenty of things to think about
It is said that if you spend too much time pondering over, the decision becomes difficult. The same is the truth about the Pakistan cricket team over the years. Over the years, Pakistan has remained consistently unpredictable. In its best eras of the late 90s and early 2000s, Pakistan struggled in ICC tournaments but since it has lost its diamonds after 2003, it has started to make the world realize in ICC tournaments that Pakistan is still there and it exists.
Team selection of Pakistan is a difficult task as even when Pakistan has no more T20I matches left prior to its announcement for the provisional squad for T20 WC 2021, no cricket expert would agree that other than Babar and Rizwan, anyone deserves to be in the top 6 of the team.
In the last 7 T20I matches, there is not even a single promising inning of Sharjeel, Fakhar, Sohaib, Hafeez, and Azam Khan. The lack of form of Haris Rauf is obvious and when Misbah and Babar preferred Haris over Hasnain vs West Indies, it made no sense, and favoritism in the team is obvious. The young captain should learn before it gets too late.
Management couldn’t experiment in the last couple of rain-affected games and Pakistan has gotten half of the T20I matches that it was supposed to play in England and the West Indies, but a 22 member squad for the T20 World Cup can make the job of the Chief Selector a bit easier. The road ahead of the team management is tricky as the performance of the national team in the T20 World Cup 2021 will decide the future of the current setup.