After years of wilderness in the Test arena, the West Indies cricket team managed to bring in some much needed personality. Their Test series win against England at home after a gap of close to 10 years came as a much needed breakthrough. Windies were stronger with the bat in testing conditions across both the Tests. Their bowling unit had more pace and intensity in them to trouble the visitors. The young side bore the fruit of belief and determination to come out on top against Joe Root’s England.
Not to forget the issues West Indies have faced over the years on and off the field. From players protesting against the board to problems over payments, Windies had so much to go through. Their teams changed significantly with many star players stepping down. Even in ODIs, the match-winners left for the more accepting global T20 leagues, Windies needed someone to build the side around. Jason Holder came in as the answer. The all-rounder has finally got out of his blocks to deliver as skipper.
Holder has kept his headstrong and the simple attitude has helped rub off to the others in the squad. The number one all-rounder in the world was the chief architect for the victory in the first two Tests. Players like Kemar Roach, Shai Hope, Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich chipped in as well. It was a team effort and its so nice to see the young group come together and making it count. It hasn’t been an easy ride. Windies have taken many blows along the way over the years and losses became a similar story.
What the young crop of players has done is that, they have learned from their mistakes. They have been given the freedom to go out an express themselves and there is not much pressure. That’s a positive aspect of this Test side. After successive losses away against India and Bangladesh, the body language seemed low. But credit to the group of players for pulling their socks up and starting afresh.
When a youngster like Alzarri Joseph stands tall despite losing his mother in the second Test, shows the character and toughness these players have. The 22-year-old put in a shift despite this personal tragedy and that just helps everyone to fight for the common goal. The hosts fought all the difficulties surrounding them and battled past everything. The grit and grind made us fall in love with this team.
Windies won the first Test by 381 runs and then sealed the second by 10 wickets. These are massive wins. And to be honest, the hosts won’t be satisfied just yet. They will want to come strong in the third Test and get a whitewash under their belt. The performances will definitely boost the Windies in their journey ahead. It will help them to believe in their gameplay more and we can be in store for some good quality cricket.
WI have some star players in their ranks. Their promise and fight could be the turning factor in their Test match approach. For such a young side to come in and stitch some crucial wins, it means a lot. After the victory in Antigua, Holder said, “We all rallied around one another. We wanted to do it for her, and for Alzarri to come out after that kind of news, the way he bowled was exceptional. This one is for him and his family.”
West Indies have won hearts and must be showered with respect and love. Give them some time and they will conquer more in the longest format.