Chronic inconsistency leaves West Indies cricket in dire straits

West Indies captain Shai Hope (left) looks away as the Netherlands players celebrate their stunning win over the West Indies in the Group A match of the ICC World Cup Qualifier at Takashinga Sports Club in Zimbabwe recently

Source: Jamaica Gleaner
Sport Pulse and Sport

IT CONTINUES to send shock waves around the world that two-time champions, the West Indies, will not be participating in the 50-over World Cup in India later this year. While the current players are familiar with conditions in India, their loyal fans are familiar with pain.

The disappointment in the region is almost palpable, and the different schools of thought have re-emerged. Is this the final nail in the coffin for West Indies cricket? One thing is for sure, I will not be writing a eulogy.

For context, the World Cup Qualifier has been a fiercely contested tournament with no wiggle room for mistakes. The stakes were high, but it did not take long for us to realise that the West Indies were low on confidence and motivation. It was supposed to be a dogfight for those two remaining spots at the World Cup.

Sadly, the West Indies had no stomach for the fight. They lacked the urgency and discipline needed to compete on the international stage. It was another no-show from the Windies, mirroring their performance, or lack thereof, during the first round of the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.

What does this do to their dwindling fan base and commercial viability? First, it takes a loyal fan to continue supporting this team. The truth is that fans like to associate themselves with winners. It is a plausible rationale since one’s identity is at stake. The onus is on the players, the administrators, and all the relevant stakeholders to engineer a workable plan to resurrect a semblance of respectability to West Indies cricket.

The economic impact of our poor performances at successive International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments cannot be ignored. In the ICC’s proposed revenue-distribution model for 2024-2027, the West Indies are projected to get a mere 4.58 per cent of the ICC’s revenue. One of the criteria used in determining the allocation of funds is “performance in both men’s and women’s ICC events over the last 16 years”. Needless to say, things are looking ominous for the West Indies on and off the field.

Let us analyse their performances on the field in the World Cup Qualifier. I will use one word to sum it up: “inconsistent”.

Case in point, in the match against Zimbabwe, West Indies bowled decently to dismiss the hosts for a gettable score of 268. In response, West Indies imploded and lost by a margin of 35 runs. In the very next match against the Dutch, West Indies amassed 374/6 in their 50 overs, and then somehow allowed the Netherlands to equal their score. It got worse. There was nothing “super” from the Windies in the Super Over. With the pressure intensifying, they did not show up with either bat or ball against Scotland.

West Indies failed to play well in all three departments in the crunch games. The fielding, more specifically the catching, was reminiscent of the clumsiness of amateurs. The batting was hot and cold, while the bowling was extremely poor. The sum of these ended our World Cup qualification hopes. Execution and dedication were woefully lacking in the team. I will not discuss the fixtures against Oman and Sri Lanka since those matches will be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. The consecutive losses to Zimbabwe, the Netherlands and Scotland hurt West Indies fans like a toothache at night.

What needs to be done in terms of personnel? Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer need to be reintegrated into the team as soon as possible. Alick Athanaze is also a player I believe should get an extended run, in the number three slot.

In addition to that, the bowling desperately needs reinforcement, especially during the middle overs. In my opinion, we need two types of bowlers.

One, an unorthodox spinner who spins the ball both ways, hence, challenging both sides of the bat. This spinner should be given the freedom to go for a few runs, but he must be told that his main job is to take wickets by spinning a web around the opposition. Can we find one of those spinners in the Caribbean?

The other type of bowler who is needed is a genuine, wicket-taking fast bowler whose point of difference is lethal pace. A fit Shannon Gabriel comes to mind, and we saw glimpses of his venom during last year’s Super50 Cup. Notwithstanding that he is 35 years old, he fits the bill. I am not averse to the selection of a younger bowler who has the aforementioned attributes.

While an investment of this nature may not reap immediate success, we must keep an eye on the next World Cup cycle by trying to address some of the deficiencies in our game. Foresight is more important than the perfection of hindsight!

The men in Maroon have left fans singing the blues yet again. Currently, there are more questions than answers as West Indies cricket has taken another nose dive. I will find solace in the belief that they have reached their nadir, they can only get better from here.

Sport Pulse and Sports Matters are fortnightly columns highlighting advances that impact sports. We look forward to your continued readership. Mr. Andy A. Spence is a cricket enthusiast who has been following the sport from a very tender age. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Language, Communication & Society and an MA in Linguistics, both at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. He can be contacted at

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