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WI Cricket: What went wrong and glimmers of Hope

BIG HITTER: Evin Lewis proved his class in the shortest

DESPITE LOSING the Test and one day series, there were still offshoots of positivity for the West Indies as they made their 4,000 mile journey back home.

Among the tour highlights was a gutsy victory in the second Test win against England at Headingley. Batsman Shai Hope was key to the unexpected success in Yorkshire. The Barbados protege notched two centuries in the five wicket win and earned himself deserved superlatives. Hope, 24, created history by becoming the first batsman in the sport’s long and illustrious history to score two hundreds at the famous Yorkshire ground.

Apart from writing himself into the annals of the game, Hope proved that he is a star in the making and that the West Indies - much maligned over the last two decades - have the ability to fight back.
They were simply awful as they lost the first Test at Birmingham inside three days in a one-sided match. Inexplicably they were to repeat the trick at Lord’s to ultimately lose the deciding Test and the series.

Hope - and fellow run machine and compatriot Kraigg Brathwaite - restored some pride during the Headingley triumph despite some shoddy fielding and decision making threatening to deny the team victory. Hope was ably assisted by compatriot Brathwaite who himself just failed to hit centuries in both innings at Headingley.

LEADER: Captain Jason Holder

As the tour progessed, there were other notable performers wearing the famous maroon cap. Captain Jason Holder, spin bowler Roston Chase and big-hitting Jermaine Blackwood all caught the eye as did returning quick bowler Kemar Roach who had the home batsmen bobbing and weaving numerous times.

On occasion Holder’s captaincy was staid while his players appeared, at times, looked disinterested especially during the Edgbaston debacle. What did make cricket fans sit up and take notice was the Windies’ thoroughly professional beating of their hosts during the tour’s only T20 fixture.

Led by Carlos Brathwaite, the West Indies won that encounter by a convincing 21 runs. Pivotal to that performance in Durham was big-hitting Trinidad & Tobago batter Evin Lewis with an impressive half century. Others that stood out were Brathwaite and the effervescent Kesrick Williams from St. Vincent and the Grenadines who both took three wickets each. Lewis confirmed his class with a huge 176 as West Indies unluckily lost the fourth one-dayer at The Oval.

It was also good to see Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine in the T20 line-up as the West Indies management team look to ease the big names back into the fold.

The Tests, save for Headingley, were not good enough from a West Indian point of view.

During all three formats of the game, the tourists’ bowling was clearly not up to international standard as defeats at The Oval and Southampton proved.

Fittingly, the Windies – twice T20 World Cup winners – came to the party during the shortest format of the game but that is not good enough. If they don’t raise their game they may never by invited back to these shores for a five Test series. But there is Hope.

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