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It’s hard not to be disappointed after the first test. I think anyone with a passion for cricket, wants a strong West Indies team.
After losing to a Cricket Australia XI featuring six first class debutants, I really had to stop myself writing a script for this series. It seemed everywhere, everyone was expecting the worst. There was all the evidence to say it was heading exactly the way it did. I was probably hanging onto a small hope that Australia would have one of its brain-farts through the middle order and keep it close.
While the series still technically has two matches to go, I’m not expecting the Windies to come home and take it 2-1. I am hopeful that a few more inspiring individual performances are on the cards though. Darren Bravo 108 (177) and Kraigg Braithwaite 94 (122) showed plenty of resolve to keep their head in the right place and knuckle down while the ship was sinking. Fingers crossed a few of the boys can pull it together for a few days back to back and show their skills.
Watching both Bravo and Brathwaite reminded me of how much I have always enjoyed watching players stand out on a tour of Australia. I’m sure for those touring teams, legends can be born as well.
My personal favourite was always Darren Gough. Growing up through the 90’s, pummelling the English at will was a birth right. Just the natural pecking order. But Gough, along with Alec Stuart stood out as two guys completely unaware of the natural order.
For me, watching Gough charge in, over after over, no matter what the game situation was inspiring. Stuart never threw his wicket away. He was tough. He would stand behind the stumps for what seemed like days on end, then pad up and start fighting for what was probably already a losing cause.
In this current Windies line up we have already seen Bravo and Brathwaite stand up so we know at least two of them have what it takes to knuckle down.
Jason Holder hasn’t been given the captaincy for nothing. There was some criticism over some of his tactics in Australia’s innings, most notably the decision to hold off on taking the new ball. My view is that his bowlers didn’t deserve the new ball, despite giving nine overs of fruit to Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh at the end of the day. It would have been nine overs of new ball fruit if he had taken it. Overall though, I think he is a genuine all-rounder that has the potential to become a serious thorn.
If the Windies are to make the Boxing Day test one to remember (for the right reasons), they will need a few more guys to put in those special performances that last on the MCG Honour boards forever.
Who stands out from the past tours for you?