Winning streak breaks at Arnos Vale
May 20, 2005
Winning streak breaks at Arnos Vale

West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul is hoping that his squad finds the formula to reverse the trend, which has captivated them. The debacle has shattered an impressive record that the West Indies had been establishing at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

The Pakistanis exposed a heavily packed Arnos Vale crowd to a feeling of shock as they folded for 133 in 45. 3 overs. {{more}}

It was a pathetic batting display by the West Indian batsmen. Chris Gayle blazed a quick fire 22, but when he fell with the score at 26, it sent shock waves in the crowd, which had threatened to erupt with Gayle’s blazing boundaries. But his knock was short-lived, and thereafter, no West Indian batsman stepped up to the plate.

Runs scoring became difficult, and only a 39 run between Dwayne Bravo last out for 27, and Ian Bradshaw 17 saved them from complete humiliation.

Seam bowler Abdul Razzak 4 for 29, was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers, and with his 22 when he batted, was chosen Man of the match by adjudicator, former West Indies speedster, Ian Allen.

Chanderpaul, in his post match interview with experienced commentator Tony Cozier, lamented the West Indies’ batting effort. He told Cozier that there was “no excuse for us to lose this game.”

Vincentians’ hopes for another Arnos Vale victory were high after Pakistan was bowled out for 192 in the 45th over. Chris Gayle 3 48, Ian Bradshaw 2 for 27 were among the wickets. Salman Butt, the left-handed Pakistani opener, led his team’s scoring with 43. Shahid Afridi, whose name inspires fear in the minds of many a bowler, was run out for 24. The West Indians also picked up Yousuf Youhana run out for 30, and Shabbir Ahmed for one.

The enthusiastic Vincentian supporters, who had seen West Indies chalk up 13 consecutive victories. But the trauma of recent decline was not about to end, even at Arnos Vale.

In 1981 the first One-Day International was played at Arnos Vale when the West Indies nipped a two run win over England.

The next game was 12 years later when Pakistan inflicted the first defeat at Arnos Vale. On that occasion the West Indies fell for 148 off 44.3 overs, in reply to Pakistan’s 186 for 9 from their 50 overs.

The West Indies settled the issue April 12, 2000 with a 96 run win. Pakistan fell for 117, in reply to West Indies 213 for 7 from 50 overs.

This time, the Pakistanis did not lose it and took a one nil lead in the three match series.

It was typical Caribbean atmosphere at Arnos Vale. The flags were flying, representing the wide cross section of regional support, and the whistles, horns, and other gears splashed by sponsors, created the setting for celebration. But fans had to be content with frolic minus the jubilation of a cricketing success.

Captain Chanderpaul perhaps echoed the pain of the fans when he stated: “We need to get out of this habit and make sure we get the job done.”

The die-hard supporters, still looking for injection of life to keep them going would wish that the Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia provides the tonic for a West Indian relief. But given the inept fashion, in which the batsmen have been performing, it will perhaps be premature to expect a turn around in our fortunes.