West Indies 2018 Year in Review: Flickers of hope in utter darkness

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.

TESTS

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

2018 Test team of the Year: The bowlers strike back

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