ICC Cricket World Cup - West Indies SWOT Analysis - Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat
Those who have seen the West Indies during their glory years are pained by the current state of affairs of the national team.
It is likely, though, that the period of dip is over and it is now time for West Indies to regain lost ground. The differences between the West Indies Cricket Board and some leading players has reportedly come to an end and they have been able to put together 15 players, each of whom can be a match-winner on his day.
Superstars Andre Russell and Chris Gayle are back and if the two fire on a particular day, there is not much the opposition can do. There is no doubt that the team has a lot of talent. If only they can be a bit consistent, they will certainly give a few teams a run for their money.
Darren Bravo, Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer will form the team's middle-order, while a number of all-rounders like Russell, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite and Fabian Allen will provide them with immense balance.
It seemed as if Chris Gayle might have played his last One Day International match a long way back, but he returned to the ODIs against England this year. Gayle looked as good as he ever has and slammed 424 runs from four completed matches. The 39-year-old clobbered 77 off just 27 balls in final ODI to help West Indies level the five match series 2-2. This came on the back of 162 from the previous game and 135 from the opening match. The brawny batsman also hit a record 39 sixes across four games.
Shai Hope is another talented player who has become the epitome of consistency for the team. Hope has batted at the top of the order for the most part and has churned runs at will. What's more promising about the the batsman is that he not only scores 30s and 50s but converts them into big ones, which is what any team would want. However, with Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis back in the squad, he will probably bat in the middle order and is expected to create a big impact.
With Devendra Bishoo not part of the team, Windies have only one frontline spinner in Ashley Nurse, who is good to contain runs but does not appear to be a formidable wicket-taker. Given that he is an off spinner, it further limits his options of troubling the batsmen.
The second choice that Windies have in their squad is all-rounder Fabian Allen, who again can pretty much handle himself but it is not a wicket-taker. With the World Cup being held in England, which has already seen substantial domestic games, the pitches would be quite dry and would assist spinners. Windies might miss out on this aspect of the game.
On the other hand, their batsmen are not great players of spin, especially quality leg spinners and mystery spinners. The West Indian batting is as good as any when the ball comes on to the bat but when the ball grips a bit and stops in the surface or when the faster bowlers use their variations, they struggle and this can turn out to be a big weaknesses of the team in the tournament.
West Indies have a lot of match-winners in their ranks but there are two youngsters who particularly stand out. They may not be the most consistent but on the day that they click, they do not need the assistance of anybody else to do the job for the team.
One is a batsman, a left-hander and has already drawn comparisons with Brian Charles Lara. Shimron Hetmyer helped the Windies under 19 team win the U-19 World Cup in 2016 and has made some breathtaking performances in the CPL.
Similarly, Oshane Thomas is another young bloke who has ability to clock 150 kmph and is one of the few bowlers in the international circuit who can scare the batsmen with pace. However, he lacks stamina and his speed goes down considerably after the first four-five overs. If he can be quick for a longer span, Thomas can prove to be deadly in the World Cup.
A lot of the West Indian stars have not played ODI cricket since ages and it would be interesting to see how their body reacts to the vigours of the longer format. Andre Russell last played an ODI in July 2018 and has featured through the IPL with heavy strapping on several places. Even West Indies Cricket chairman conceded that the player is carrying some niggles.
"I spoke to Andre a few days ago. He has a few niggles. He has some pain behind his knee but he assured the selection panel that he'll be okay for the World Cup."
"He's scored a lot of runs and we'll be using him as a batting all-rounder," interim head coach Floyd Reifer said of Russell. "He's doing very well in the IPL. We have got to manage his injuries and have three to four days rest between the games," Robert Haynes, the interim chairman of CWI, said.
At 39 years of age, Chris Gayle is also not getting any younger and is a liability in the field. A long tournament such as the World Cup is bound to take a toll on his body. His fellow opener Evin Lewis has also been awfully short of match practice.
Squad: Jason Holder (c), Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope, Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features soon, so stay tuned.
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