The entire Caribbean should give credit and praise to our Test cricketers who we have apparently abandoned in favour of the attractions of the money-spinning limited overs cricket.
When the inexperienced team set off for a Test series to, of all countries, the mighty Australia, it seemed that even the regional media had all but dismissed the chances of this team, shorn of the regional “superstars” courted by instant cricket. It would be interesting if we could estimate how many cricket fans would this time have engaged in the customary practice when the regional team visits “Down-under”, to stay up and burn the midnight oil to follow its fortunes.
Yet in spite of all this, the underrated new-look team not only put up a creditable fight against Australia, the world’s no.1 team, but succeeded in drawing the two-match series and, miraculously had a chance to win the series outright. This is a remarkable achievement in the circumstances, certainly one of our best overseas.
Dominated by newcomers to Test cricket, the team seemed quite unfazed by their inexperience and lack of regional confidence in their chances. They stunned the Australians in both Tests and led by a rookie fast bowler, Shamaar Joseph of Guyana, outshone the much-vaunted Australian bowling quartet who had over 1300 scalps in their Test bag. It is 27 years, more than a quarter of a century, since we have been able to beat the Aussies.
It must be tempting to over-hype the performance of the team and tempting to raise expectations too high, but these ambassadors of the Caribbean deserve every bit of praise.
Vincentians in particular will take great pride given that the new cricketing administration is Vincie-led. Additionally, Vincentian physio Dr Denis Byam was roundly lauded by hero of the tour Shamaar Joseph for enabling him to participate and spearhead the match-winning effort when he himself had abandoned any hopes of even being able to take the field.
Yet we must all keep our feet on the ground. One outstanding tour does not guarantee another and there is a tough tour to England upcoming. Our fans are notoriously fickle and are wont to abandon support as quickly as they laud the new heroes. We need to build on that success, not only with the Test team but with the structure of West Indies cricket and investment in our youth. Let this be a springboard for the future.