Sunday, February 08, 2009

The 'Sun Is Shining': Reggae Style

Test captain-on-debut, Andrew Strauss, would have been found scratching his head in the England team viewing deck at Sabina Park. And post match, the rushed-in skipper had some difficulty in forming intelligible answers for the media after the West Indies epic victory. This latest strain to the proverbial English boat, has left it sitting precariously on the waterfall's edge - right next to Australia.

This innings defeat of England, has breathed life back into Caribbean cricket. Be it Jerome Taylor's Man-of-the-Match spell in the second innings, the developing promise of Suleiman Benn, the resurrection of Sarwan, the stalwart Nash, or the exhibitionist abilities of their captain, the magic is evidently returning to the West Indies.

Now some may be thinking, "he's getting ahead of himself here", "it's a lone victory over an out-of-sorts English side", "what is he on about?!". I would beg to differ.

Preceding this series, the West Indies toured New Zealand, in what many considered would be a 'chore tour', only being played out to keep the ICC content. Even their greatest fan, Tony Cozier, was struggling to find much appeal in the series.

However, the series seemed to have awoken the desire of old to win and enjoy their cricket, which had evaded the side since the 80's. Remarkable performances from Chanderpaul and Gayle, were witnessed consistently, but were expected. But it was the responsibility taken up by Nash, Sarwan, Taylor, Benn, and Powell in particular, which has brought a fresh sense of change to West Indian cricket. Although the test series with New Zealand drawn, and the ODIs lost 2-1 (decided by D/L decided match which the WI looked like to win), things were changing.

And this test win at Sabina Park supports this theory. It was a sight for the sore eyes of many fans that have waited for this day to come for almost two decades. That a Chanderpaul innings was not depended on for this victory, speaks volume of the growing maturity of this team. Taylor and Benn were phenomenal, and their partnership will sure deliver similar memorable results in the future.

We will watch with great anticipation, if this cricketing super power of old can invigorate this rekindled flame and cause Strauss' England a great deal more torment and pain.

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