On Target
December 14, 2007
Don’t expect much

When selectors Gordon Greenidge, Clyde Butts and Andy Roberts went to shop for the West Indies team to tour South Africa, they ended up like “Ole Mother Hubbard”, as the cupboard was bare.

And, it has been bare for the past decade, as the region is yet to come to grips with what is demanded for us to reclaim our status of world champions, a status which we enjoyed for the entire 1980’s and mid way into the 1990’s.{{more}}

We have just come off a 3-1 series win in One day Internationals against Zimbabwe, but in no way was it a total domination of the Zimbabweans, who are three places below us. According to the latest International Cricket Council’s rankings, the West Indies is eighth, and Zimbabwe, eleventh. So, in fact the recent series was a contest of the minnows.

In tests, the West Indies also holds position number eighth, only ahead of Bangladesh, among the nine test playing nations.

The West Indies will engage South Africa in three tests, five One Day Internationals and two 20/20 Internationals.

Statistics do not lie, but are true indicators of where

we are.

A sorry tale of under achievement goes before the team as they meet the Proteas, South Africa.

It is expected that Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with over 100 tests, would have to shoulder the batting, the way he did in England last Summer. The left hander has to take the mantle, with the absence of batting genius Brian Lara, who retired from international cricket earlier this year.

Chanderpaul stats read: 104 tests, 7182, runs at an average of 46.62. His captain Chris Gayle has played 68 tests, 4479 runs, with an average of 38.28. Gayle has taken 59 wickets with his off spin at a cost of 39.59.

The much touted Darren Ganga has 45 tests under

his belt, has scored 2043 runs, but with a paltry average

of 26.18.

Devon Smith, at the top of the order in his 20 test matches, has so far scored 884 runs, returning an average of 26.26.

The enigmatic Marlon Samuels has 24 tests, 1065 runs, scored at an average of 27.30. Similarly, Runako Morton, seemingly converted to good behavior, has played in 10 test matches. He has an aggregate of 381 runs, scoring them at 23.81.

Vice Captain Dwayne Bravo has appeared in 23 test matches, scored 1404 runs. His average is 34.24. In addition, Bravo has 45 wickets at 43.37 runs.

The other specialist batsman Brenton Parchment is on virgin territory, as he is yet to play in a test match.

Specialist wicketkeeper Dinesh Ramdin, who bats at number seven and is expected to chip in with the bat, also follows the pack. He, in his 19 tests, has 704 runs, at an average of 24.27.

From the above statistics, the West Indies batsmen could have an uphill task facing the South Africans at home.

The West Indies has lost eight of the nine tests played in South Africa. So you see, why we can’t expect more?

Neither have our bowlers offered much to serve up, based on their records. Are they really records?

Leading the pack in experience is Pedro Collins, whose 32 tests span eight years. His chequered career has seen him taking 106 wickets at 34.62 runs apiece. Fidel Edwards, 27 tests, 73 wickets at an average of 43.01.Darren Powell, 22 tests, 56 wickets, average 43.62.Jerome Taylor, 13 tests, 35 wickets at 39.68 runs apiece.

Darren Sammy’s lone test fetched him eight wickets at 12.25. But the most puzzling selection is that of Rawle Lewis. His reads: four tests, one wicket, 388 runs.

This is the naked truth, yet we are behaving as if what has unfolded over the past decade is an unplanned pregnancy. Conception came during the glory days.

All we can hope for is a miracle!

Just maybe it may also have to take a miracle of the minds, the Longest Organising Committee (LOC), to remove that obstacle called the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.