A sense of knowing

Is there something synonymous with dog sense and common sense?
Well, on share motivation I was driven to find myself sitting in row sixteen on seat eight at the Gros Islet Stand at the Beausejour Cricket Ground on Tuesday March 27 with a hunch that West Indies would again lose this one. It may be based on a mathematical equation but I am still not sure whether it was sixth sense or otherwise.
While there, however, it became evident for the second time in the current series between Australia and the West Indies that the ground curator Mr Alton Crafton and his team had done a wonderful job. So good was that job in the preparation of the outfield that the wicket had a smooth shine on one side, reminding me of the Chief grounds man’s taste for dressing well. In his playing days in the national and regional teams he was easily one of our best-dressed cricketers. He always dressed immaculately and therefore it was expected that he would approach his task with a similar purpose, ensuring that the grounds took on a similar look. WICB CEO, Dr Ernest Hilaire was right on target in his praises for a job well done.
Again the sheer power of stroke-play that stamps Kieron Pollard as a top batsman in the shorter version of the game was evident, and he followed up his century in Friday’s match with 54 not out in Tuesday’s match; West Indies scored 150/7 in the first twenty-twenty [T20] against the visitors. Australia replied with 152/2 to win the match by eight wickets.
It is another feeling that Dwayne Bravo could be a better bowler if he would settle down and stop trying to overdo himself as a fast bowler. Former West Indies fast bowler, Corey Collymore tended to do the same. Earlier in his career, Bravo had the ability to bowl a beautiful change pace delivery which deceived most batsmen but it has somewhat disappeared from his armory.  True to form, however, Bravo bowls with great effort and every now and then he would produce a beauty.
This loss did not go down well enough with some fans and on the way home it was not surprising to hear some criticizing their St Lucian captain, Sammy. Certainly, such individuals are not up-to-date on the career performances of the Australians in the twenty-twenty format. For instance just two Australian players alone have between them played 193, T20 matches; David Warner (118) and Shane Watson (75). By sheer experience, therefore, there could be no comparison because the entire West Indies team has not played half that amount of T20 matches at the international level.
The security personnel, cooperation of the public, good weather created a great cricketing atmosphere. It was equally supported by the cheer ladies and followers of the visiting team who played their roles all too well, leaving no room for bitterness. When it became obvious that the home team was on the losing side, the crowd kept up its chant.
It would appear that the renamed stands have played a significant role in providing a new type of atmosphere for the spectators. Surely, the BCG is developing a reputation for expressions of “rally round the West Indies” that cannot be overlooked.
Some adjustment will have to be made to either make it easier for one to read the scoreboard from the stands or provide a better scoring system to help the public follow the run chase.                 The Gros Islet stand is the closest to the giant scoreboard yet it is almost impossible to read it.
From time to time, the authorities will need to make certain adjustments so that improvements can be made to enhance the ground and provide facilities that would attract more persons to the ground on such occasions. This cricket stadium has already obtained a reputation as a congenial venue for visiting teams and what is seen as perpetual good relations between us and overseas visitors.
It was another great side-attraction last Friday with the  ScotiaBank Kiddy Cricket show. An invaluable investment in our future players. Because of what is being done here and in the Caribbean we must begin to keep tabs with those players who will emerge to become top players at the international levels.
At the moment the under-19 cricket championship has produced a few eye-openers for the future. A total of four centuries and a double by one of the batsmen in the competition is already food for thought. Added to that, there has been, as many as three hat-tricks taken. Some of the names to watch are, Glenn Goolaman—an all-rounder, Joshua Mann—one of three who has taken a hat-trick and Llewellyn Duncan who had six for 13 in a three-overs spell.
One could serve up a whole menu while thinking of Canice Richardson who has chalked up three centuries playing for Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School. He is the batsman who hit a double century in the championship. Remember Audi Alexander who is now in England?
Well, for me the writing of another script for West Indies cricket is on the horizon, because the tell-tale signs are there and I am pinning my hopes on investment in the young players who want to breakthrough.  On my list are Bishoo, Shane Shillingford—though at 29, not young is a quick off-spinner—Sunil Narine, Jason Holder etc.
There are danger signs that could undermine what we are doing as a cricketing nation with the decline of Leeward Islands cricket and what has happened in Guyana. A chain is as strong as its weakest link and even the Windward Islands without the services of Sammy has faltered in the regional four-day championship.
Will the Dominican and Windward Islands off-spin-bowler, SS [Shane Shillingford] make the trip to England? His rejuvenation should be considered as a plus and if we are looking for match-winning bowler then I would consider him. His style and Sunil Narine’s are different and in the same way that Australia has used two leg-spinners in their squad, there’s nothing wrong with the West Indies camp doing the same. Leg-spin bowling has always been the trump card for the players Down Under. We also need a fit Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards and Andre Russell to be on that tour team.
On the next tour I would like to see a 17 man squad of Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath, Kieron Pollard, Srivnarine Chanderpaul (who I believe has another year at this level), Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels (also should bat at no.4 instead), Darren Bravo,   Braithwaite, Denish Ramdin, Carlton Baugh Jr, Divendra Bishoo, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shane Shillingford and Fidel Edwards.
I am not a copy cat, but I believe somebody like Kieron Pollard or Dwayne Bravo should captain the West Indies T20 side. Sammy could end up suffering from stress, so the management team should reconsider. A third choice could be the Trinidadian wicket keeper, Denish Ramdin.


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