Emerged as front-runners in T20I format, the Caribbean nation aim to re-cherish the era of 1970’s in World Cricket, where they were ruling the game. Having won the inaugural editions of the ICC Cricket World Cup (then known as the “Prudential Cup”) in 1975 and 1979, hosted by England; the team failed to make a mark in the tournament post their 1983 defeat against India in the final of the tournament.
However, the team never misses out an opportunity to grab small milestones to make their presence felt in today’s ODI era, mostly dominated by Australia & India post the end of 20th century. Having missed out on the opportunity to showcase their capabilities in its 1st warm-up encounter against Proteas owing to rain, Jason Holder & Co registered a monumental 421 against a high quality bowling side of Kiwis comprising a perfect pace trio of Boult-Henry-Ferguson and spin duo of Neesham-Sodhi. The wicketkeeper-batsmen for the WI, Shai Hope backed his squad to become the first to reach the 500-run mark in the 50-over format.
The 2 time World Champions will start-off their campaign for the 2019 edition today against the current Champions Trophy winners, Pakistan in Nottingham. Having managed to knock the Quarter-finals door from the previous 2 editions of the tournament, WI aim to capitalize on their outing against the Kiwis and thereby move ahead in the competition. The unpredictability factor of this squad can turn out to be the strength and weakness in the upcoming tournament.
Consistency and capitalizing on the opportunities should be the mantra if they need to keep their flag rising above all. As the format demands that each nation plays the rest 9 atleast once before progressing ahead in the SF, shuffling the squad as per the opposition, pitch and conditions to obtain the desired results would be on radar of Jason Holder. A balanced combination and consistency would be the key factors to put an end to the 40 year drought.
West Indies Squad for ICC World Cup 2019
Jason Holder (c), Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Fabien Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Ashley Nurse.
With some power-hitters in the squad including Gayle, Lewis, Hope, Hetmyer, Russel & Braithwaite- the team has the ability to surpass their last feat of achieving 400+ runs in the tournament a long-lasting habit. The experienced opening duo of Gayle- Lewis and the powerful strokes registered in their dictionary gives an competitive edge for the team from its opposition to take the maximum advantage of the batting powerplay. Both the players have the perfect understanding among them and one gives the other the freedom to play his natural game.
Evin Lewis has played some masterpieces during his stay with the MI franchise and even for the national team- against some of the top ranked nation. The left-handed opening destructive batsmen from Trinidad consider Chris Gayle as his mentor and have said, “I hit lot of sixes, big sixes like him.” The lethal combination is expected to place their team in a good position and thus play a major role in the high intensity matches scheduled ahead in the competition.
The middle-order line-up of Windies boasts of experience, hope & expertise to set the platform for the all-rounders to play their natural hard-hitting game. 3 centuries and two-50+ scores from his last 7 knock in the national colors, the WK-batsmen, Shai Hope is looking in good shape and form. With Darren Bravo as a mentor to guide the youngster to give a proper direction to his hard-hitting ability of the ball, the T20 champions are ready with the back-up options, even if the top order fails to capitalize on the situation.
Hetmyer, is expected to play the role of trump card for his national team in the competition. Having won the ICC U-19 World Cup for WI and enjoying some crucial match winning partnerships for his IPL franchise, RCB- the 2016 U-19 WC winner look ahead to put forth the all the experience and capabilities for the ultimate prize; each cricket player visualizes as he steps into international cricket.
Vital power-hitters in the lower middle-order comprising the likes of captain, Jason Holder, Andre Russel & Carlos Braithwaite stands the ability to take the maximum advantage with both bat and ball in hand. The trio comes into picture at a much later stage of Windies innings and stands the ability to re-start or capitalize on the performance so far in the game. Batting with a strike rate above 150 and then posing the similar threat with ball in the hand to their opposition’s post the innings break is what makes them stand out among the rest in the categories of all-rounders. Batting & Bowling all-rounders are mere terms for them and the trio simply focus to contribute in whichever form possible.
Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel and Oshane Thomas are the four main pillars of the squad’s bowling unit. The Jamican young bowler, aged 22- Oshane Thomas provides the best cut in the squad of pacers aged 30 or above. Raw pace of Barbadian, Kemar Roach in action for the national team since 2008; left-arm fast medium- Sheldon Cottrell have the required stats, talent, experience, rust & the tight lines and length to dismantle the opposition batsmen and therefore put Windies ahead at any stage of the long headed competition.