October 1, 2004
Windies take ICC trophy

In May, West Indies played Bangladesh at Arnos Vale. West Indies were making heavy weather of it. Then in strode Ian Bradshaw, he consulted with his partner Tino Best, settled him at one end while he took charge at the other end. He played defensively for a few balls then calmly put his foot down the wicket and lifted the bowler for a six. End of the heavy weather. {{more}}

Any careful observer would have noted that the man had a fine cricket brain. Actually he holds a BSc and is a Chartered Accountant. But just in case we in St Vincent had not noticed it, the Barbados media announced to anyone who would listen that Bradshaw had one of the best Cricket minds in the present day Caribbean.

On Saturday, when England were 90 for 4, Prime Minister Gonsalves asked what was responsible for the sudden revival in the fortunes of the West Indies cricket team. The reply came back that to win one day matches you must not only be able to play cricket but you must have the ability to use your head when in a tight corner. In this respect, the speaker continued, the West Indies team had been immeasurably strengthened by the addition of the four Bajans.

The respondent then repeated what we have already said about Bradshaw. About Browne, he added, that he may not be the world’s best wicket keeper but given that he had already led Barbados to so many victories, he must have a bit of the General about him, that is, he is someone who knows how to lead men. The remarks were uncannily prescient.

Obviously not all Englishmen thought in these terms. One of them actually described Bradshaw as a thirty year old journeyman, that is, someone who plays the game for a living but is really no big thing.

Another Englishman dismissed the West Indies chances by saying that Lara had rightly been criticised for lack of leadership skills.

Not all the English were so lacking in perception. Mark Nicholas, a former captain of Hampshire and now cricket correspondent of the Telegraph, clearly recognised the change. He wrote ‘In less than a month Lara’s team have transformed from inconsistent underachievers to a dangerous looking One-day team. They bat a long way down, field as if they mean it and get by with bowlers who do just a little with the ball.’