By Zaheer E. Clarke
Published February 4, 2019 in the Western Mirror
The fire with which West Indies played their cricket in the 1970s and 1980s has been extinguished for several years. It seems that unquenchable fire is returning.
The Windies team in 1976.
(Credit: Patrick Eagar)
I had the opportunity to speak with the president of Cricket West Indies, Dave Cameron, a few years ago and I relayed to him in jape, a prerequisite my father believed every West Indian player should have before they don the maroon, grey and white.
As I have mentioned in the past, my father has not missed the coverage of a West Indian cricket match in over 50 years. In that time, he has travelled to see the team play; he has had his ears affixed to transistor radios and often his eyes glued – many days and nights – to the screens of tellies in support of the lads in both domineering and abject times. He has never abandoned West Indies cricket, whether during voluminous or exiguous times. Continue reading
By Zaheer E Clarke
Published January 14, 2019 in the Western Mirror
Overall, West Indies had a disappointing year in Tests, ODIs and T20Is. However, the performances of some players shun through and gave us flickers of hope amidst the darkness.
Source: Outdoor Keeda
At the end of 2017, the disposition of West Indies fans was that of an exhausted traveller walking across the Sub-Saharan desert, destitute and necessitous of an oasis of hope and decent results. West Indies ended 2017 in abject fashion, losing six consecutive matches in New Zeland: two Tests and four One Day Internationals (ODIs). The new year started, and with it renewed hope that West Indies will reverse its fortunes and be competitive in all formats of the game.
In 2018, West Indies played nine Test matches, winning three, losing five and drawing one. Given the opposition this year — which included Sri Lanka, Bangladesh (over two series) and India — many would argue that West Indies should have won more Test matches. The three-Test Sri Lankan series at home ended 1-1, thanks to West Indies’ resurgent wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich and superb bowling by Shannon Gabriel. West Indies defeated Bangladesh in the subsequent series at home 2-0, with Kraigg Brathwaite finding form with the bat while captain Jason Holder found brilliant form with the ball. Unfortunately, with West Indies bowling department blighted with injuries to Kemar Roach and Holder, and a suspension due to folly by Shannon Gabriel, India and Bangladesh defeated West Indies 2-0 in both away series. Continue reading
By Zaheer E. Clarke
Published January 7, 2019 in the Western Mirror
Which players deserved to be in the 2018 Test team of the year? See my picks and share yours below.
In a year when the bowlers in Test cricket dominated their batting counterparts in a fashion not seen in 59 years, the Test team of the year is littered with bowlers who produced excellent performances yearlong. Nonetheless, several batsmen made their mark with outstanding performances.
The criteria for my team of the year was simple. All players up for consideration had to have played five or more Test matches during the year for their respective teams. It would be unfair to consider a player for the team of the year who had played only a handful of games during the year. With New Zealand playing only seven Test matches all year and India playing a high of 14, a five-Test minimum was a fair compromise for the players to qualify for the team of the year. Here is my Test XI of the year. Continue reading
By Zaheer E. Clarke
Published November 12, 2018, in the Western Mirror
Sometimes even sports has to take a backseat to the meandering emotions of everyday life.
In memory of Garfield and Jacqueline: Haggai 2 v 9
Sometimes you get a phone call that you dread.
Late Thursday nights or early Friday mornings are the time when I usually pen my Monday sports column for the Western Mirror. Years ago I would have started writing my columns earlier in the week, but with added challenges and responsibilities, I’ve had to make necessary adjustments to the headache of my editors. Last Thursday like so many other Thursdays, I sat to compose my weekly sports column; however, lately, I am finding it hard to write about sports.
It was a minute before midnight on Thursday night that I saw my phone light up. Typically, I don’t call individuals after 8 p.m. nor before 8 a.m., so I usually expect persons to observe similar etiquettes. However, this call was not an ordinary call. The name of my childhood friend of over 28 years appeared on the caller identification. Initially, I wondered if his phone dialled mine by mistake in his sleep at this late hour of the night. The proposition is not farfetched since I have been guilty of having my phone do the same to others. After answering the phone, the tone of my friend’s voice revealed my lingering fear; something was gravely amiss. Continue reading
By Zaheer E. Clarke
Published October 29, 2018 in the Western Mirror
At 21 years old, Shimron Hetmyer reminds me of a young Brian Lara.
Shimron Hetmyer was all business, slogging the ball into the leg side and racing away towards a hundred during the 2nd ODI between West Indies and India. © Associated Press
Sometimes, when you see a player for the first time, you can summarise their future and potential instantly. Other times, it might take you a look or two, to properly evaluate whether stardom or slumdog awaits them. In 2016, during the ICC under-19 World Cup, Shimron Hetmyer, who was the captain of the West Indies under-19 team, was one of those players whom many believed had the potential for future greatness. However, at the onset of the tournament, his star never shun bright.
Hetmyer registered 0, 6 and 17 in the first three matches in the under-19 World Cup. West Indies made it out of the group stages due to a last over mankading incident where quick thinking Keemo Paul saw his Zimbabwean opponent drifting out of his crease during Paul’s delivery stride. Captain Hetmyer and his team came under severe scrutiny regarding how the game was won and whether it was in the true ‘spirit of the game’. Some individuals believed Hetmyer and his men followed the laws of the game. Others believed that they broke the spirit of the game. Hetmyer defended his team and their play, and it was thereafter Hetmyer came into his own. Continue reading