The last time the West Indies toured Australia for a test series, Kevin Rudd was the incumbent of the nations top job (for the first time), the #hashtag twitter phenomenon hadn’t yet taken off and the West Indies were ranked a miserly 8th on the ICC Test Rankings. The year was 2009. Since, the cricketing world has seen stars born, heroes’ made, ashes won and, to the disheartening detriment of West Indies cricket, the prominent emergence of franchise based competitions. It should serve as no surprise they haven’t been back since.
Cricketing talent within the West Indies has stagnated at the hands of an incompetent board. Their inadequacy has triggered ‘world-beaters’, Gale, Bravo and Sammy, to pursue a more lucrative, viable career in T20 cricket. And who can blame them. Once again the Windies land on Australian soil ranked 8th in the ICC test rankings, just above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, with an overwhelming expectation of failure from an unheralded, unpropitious 15 man squad.
“Their inadequacy has triggered ‘world-beaters’, Gale, Bravo and Sammy, to pursue a more lucrative, viable career in T20 cricket.”
Cricket has never witnessed such a colossal fall from grace. Since its tantalizing, sumptuous pace went missing in the mid 2000’s, cricket has been largely void of a positive West Indian presence in the headlines. But that’s not to say an ‘inferior’ West Indies lineup can’t make inroads on Australian wickets.
The West Indies lineup boasts two of the world’s premier fast bowlers, Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach. If early indications of a green wicket in Hobart do come to fruition, Taylor and Roach could have Australia’s brittle middle order in some trouble with a swinging ball. Knock off the top three, and all of a sudden their bowling to a guy who’s loitering on the edge of replacement and two brothers who are battling to keep their test careers alive.
Although their batsmen seem to take an equivocal approach to batting at times, there’s serious potential for them to take advantage of a somewhat underprepared Australian bowling lineup. The absence of Mitch Johnson through retirement and Mitch Starc through injury has reduced Australia’s potency with the new ball. If relatively established test cricketers Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels, who hold reputable averages of 40.91 and 34.82 respectively, can spend long periods at the crease, they may come close to drawing a test. For the West Indies, it’s a combination of application and a happy-go-lucky approach where their batting thrives. If we don’t see this during the series, the West Indies may well float further up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
“It’s a combination of application and a happy-go-lucky approach where their batting thrives.”
This tour will not so much be about the West Indies winning matches, but rather winning back the respect of the cricketing public with improved results on the field. The West Indies may be able to live without cricket, but cricket certainly cannot live without the West Indies.
Australia: David Warner, Joe Burns, Steve Smith (c), Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile (12th)
West Indies: Unnamed