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    April 12, 2007

    R.I.P. West Indies World Cup Hopes

    The party is over for West Indian fans. Yes there's still a slim chance of qualifying for the Semi-finals, but does anyone really believe that the team that played South Africa is capable of beating anyone other than maybe Bangladesh, which at this point is looking like a big maybe?

    In what has become a recurring theme, against South Africa, the West Indies were out-classed in every aspect of the game. From batting to bowling to fielding to the captaincy, South Africa were vastly superior to the West Indies. The selection of the West Indies team smacked of panic. Devon Smith, Kieron Pollard, and Corey Collymore in for Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor. In the most important game of the tournament, you bring in a teenage debutant and leave out one of the few bowlers who looked capable of taking a wicket. To explain the decision, Lara said that Collymore (1 wicket in the World Cup at that point) was brought in over Taylor for his experience. Does that also explain how Pollard, who simply is not ready for this level, got in the side?

    As puzzling as the selection issues were, they pale in comparison to Lara's decision to take the second power play in the 45th over. The 45th over! Has this ever been done in international cricket? Needless to say, the South Africans enjoyed themselves to the tune of 77 runs in those 5 overs.

    Now Lara did not lose this match for the West Indies. The bowlers and fielders took care of that, as there could have been 9 men on the boundary and they wouldn't have been able to stop all those sixes that flew out of the park at the end of the match. The fielders also had 4 or 5 decent run out chances, but failed to hit the stumps on every occasion. 356 was always going to be too much for the West Indies to chase. In fact 356 was the highest score conceded by a West Indian team ever. We should have seen the writing on the wall in India of this year, when the Indian team first tied the previous record with 338 and then shattered it with 341.

    Lara has announced that he will retire from ODIs after the World Cup. Isn't it time that he stepped aside as captain as well? Chetram Singh, a director of the WICB, seems to think not. On Jamaican radio today, he said that if the selectors select Lara for a match (Test), then they should have him as captain as well. The implication in his statements being that Lara would be a disruptive element to the team captained by another player. Now Lara is still the best batsman in the West Indian team, but a good leader of men he is not. As long as he remains a top batsman and makes himself eligible for Test match cricket, he should have a place in the side. But will the future of the team be held captive by Lara's leadership? Or by the selectors' or (board president's) desire to have him as captain?

    (Cross posted from Rain, No Play)

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    Thus spake Sean @ 6:29 AM |
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