Home / Volley / Cricket / McWatt and ‘Reds’: Hayley, Seales and Brathwaite shine in 2021, but results, fitness and selections stink

McWatt and ‘Reds’: Hayley, Seales and Brathwaite shine in 2021, but results, fitness and selections stink

“[…] Since making his debut on 10 June against South Africa, 20-year-old Jayden Seales has captured 16 wickets in just four Tests, while demonstrating the pace and accuracy that are the hallmarks of all great fast bowlers. 

“[…] However, during 2021, the West Indies’ […] final win/loss ratio was a damning 13/44 or 29.5%, which meant they lost approximately 60% of all their matches this year…”

Toronto-based Canadian Cricket’s media relations manager Tony McWatt and veteran West Indies cricket commentator ‘Reds’ Perreira review The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of West Indies cricket in 2021:

Photo: West Indies pacer Jayden Seales, then 19, celebrates after dismissing South Africa batsman Keegan Petersen for his first Test wicket on 12 June 2021.
(Copyright AFP/ Getty Images)

Avid lovers of classic movies will remember the 1966 spaghetti western, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, which starred Clint Eastwood (Blondie) as the ‘Good’, Lee Van Cleef (Evil Eyes) as the ‘Bad’, and Eli Wallach (Tuco, The Rat) as the ‘Ugly’. 

Our review of West Indies cricket in 2021 carries the same title.

Given all that has occurred during the past 12 months, space constraints force us to be somewhat cursory. We trust that our readers will  fully understand and appreciate the governing effect of such limitations.

For ‘The Good’, we point to the impressive and much-improved progress made by our West Indies Women’s cricketers under the guidance of head coach Courtney Walsh. 

The team produced mainly positive results while there were brilliant individual performances from the likes of Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, and skipper Stafanie Taylor among others.

Photo: West Indies allrounder Hayley Matthews (left) on the go in T20I action against Australia.
(via CWI Media)

Dottin had a most welcome return to form, Taylor impressively went past the 5,000 career runs mark and Matthews’ all-round brilliance was sufficient to earn her the ICC’s nomination as its November 2021 Women’s Cricketer of the Month. 

Wholly encouraging developments to say the very least.

West Indies Junior Men’s ‘Rising Stars’ also had a very encouraging tour of England in preparation for their participation in the forthcoming ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup, which will be staged in the Caribbean. 

Teddy Bishop, Matthew Nandu and Isaiah Thorne are among those in the Rising Stars squad whose performances will be very closely followed during the prestigious youth tournament.

On the Senior Men’s front, there were also some Good showings. Captain and opener Kraigg Brathwaite’s return to his previous run-scoring consistency tops the list.

Photo: West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite drivss to leg during day three of the Second Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle, Sri Lanka on Wednesday 1 December 2021.
(Copyright AP Photo/ Eranga Jayawardena)

Brathwaite amassed 675 runs during the 2021 calendar year. His ten innings included one century, three half-centuries and a 47.

Easily the most encouraging development for West Indies this year, certainly in terms of Test cricket, was the emergence of 20-year-old seamer Jayden Seales. 

Since making his debut on 10 June against South Africa, Seales has captured 16 wickets in just four Tests, while demonstrating the pace and accuracy that are the hallmarks of all great fast bowlers. He has emerged as a worthy new-ball partner for the experienced Kemar Roach.

In the West Indies’ white ball/limited overs outings, leg-spinner Akeal Hosein’s performances during the recent T20 series against Pakistan and the preceding 2021 World Cup were also commendable. 

The all-round hard-hitting batting and pace bowling displays by Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith in Pakistan were also encouraging, as was Brandon King’s return to form at the top of the batting order.

Photo: West Indies spinner Akeal Hosein (centre) is congratulated by teammates during the curtailed Pakistan Homage Series in 2021.

When coupled with Nicholas Pooran’s demonstrated leadership qualities and batting form, such developments suggest that much improved performances by the West Indies white ball teams can be ahead in 2022. 

However, the overall depressing results by West Indies teams across all three formats in 2021 top the list of ‘The Bad’!

During 2021, West Indies played a total of 44 matches, comprising 10 Tests, 9 ODIs and 25 T20Is. Their returns were as follows: Won 3, Lost 5, Drew 2 for Tests; Won 4, Lost 5 for ODIs; and Won 9, Lost 13 for T20Is. 

The final win/loss ratio was a damning 13/44 or 29.5%, which meant West Indies lost approximately 60% of all their matches this year.

Such statistics can only be interpreted as inescapable evidence of the decline in standards by both the West Indies players themselves and the Phil Simmons-led coaching staff, under whose guidance they played. 

Photo: West Indies cricket coach Phil Simmons.
(Copyright Independent.co.uk)

Far too many players either regressed or stagnated in 2021, which raises questions as to the competence of Simmons and his assistants—particularly the batting and bowling coaches, Monty Desai and Roddy Estwick.

Cricket West Indies’ decision to send its players to participate in not one but two successive globally televised series, clad in shirts with its former sponsor’s logo covered over with masking tape must also be added to the ‘Bad’.

Topping the list of the ‘Ugly’ would be the 2021 World Cup squad selection fiasco and the subsequent non-renewal of the contracts of selection panel chairman Roger Harper and member Miles Bascombe—not to mention the wholly disappointing performances by the West Indies at the T20 World Cup.

So too would be the ongoing controversies surrounding the team’s fitness standards, with highly disturbing and unpleasant images of noticeably overweight and unfit players gracing international cricket fields as part of our playing teams.

In the aforementioned spaghetti western, ‘The Good’ character eventually emerged triumphant over ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly’. We can but hope that West Indies cricket will enjoy a similar outcome in 2022.

Photo: West Indies T20I vice-captain Nicholas Pooran (front, centre) leads his teammates off the field during 2021 T20 World Cup action against Bangladesh.
(Copyright Getty Images/ ICC)

From both of us to all of you, our readers, here’s wishing you a very happy, most prosperous and Covid-free New Year!

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