So near yet 14 runs far

West Indian Cricket, over the years have produced very few solo heroes who stand tall amidst the ruins. Some that I can think of are instances where indivudual heroics just add spice to an otherwise insipid performance. Lets go right back to Richie Richardson quitting the scene after the 96 world cup. Lara's twin centuries against the aussies in the carribean, Ricardo Powell's masterful 124 off 93 balls in the finals of the Coco Cola Championships against (who else !!!???) India, Samuel's charge against the Aussies in 2001 and his century against India at Vizag in 2002, Chanderpaul's 150 against the South Africans in 1999, and of course looking at Team moments , the best ones being the incredible 418 record breaking chase against the Australians at Antigua and the victory in the ICC Champions Trophy 2004. These are a few bright glistening moments amidst the appalling losing streak that the men from the carribbean have become used to.

But hey ..things are changing arent they? The West Indies have now bounced back tremendously since their home one day series against Zimbabwe and India, and though may really not have found all the answers to being a happy and winning unit, they are definetely on their way there.

Sometimes defeat can be the elixir of life that one may be looking for, as in defeat, one is forced to think of their insecurities and their battle with them.It may take anything from a second to a few years to conquer the demons of the mind, but as long as the desire to drive away the demons of defeat is there, hope can spring up like light at the end of a dark tunnel.
The West Indies have probably matured like that, over the last 10 years where they played not to lose heavily.The year 2005 being their worst, with 2 victories out of 18 matches, ending up last in the table of 13 teams. Its been a remarkable change for them in the year 2006, beating Australia thrice (No Team, except South africa did that last year) and also some of the other teams, and finishing 4th in the 2006 odi tables.

Somebody's whose stood through all through those losses and seen the team go from bad to worse and now slowly rising like the phoenix, has been Shivnarine Chanderpaul(along with Lara). Chanderpaul's innings yesterday seemed like a great greek tragedy in the sense that the old warrior fought when all was lost, and seemed to take the battle to the enemy's camp, sending frissons down Dravids spine.

There is a sense of ruggedness in bis batting.He may not posses the most sublime off frive or the flick, nor may be there any elegance in his stance,but all he has is the courage to conquer oppositions by his dogged resolve and batting. Yesterday his innings at Nagpur was a treat to the person who could believe that miracles do happen. His innings bordered on the mundane for a while before a sleeping giant woke up and decided to make India pay for their lapse(The catch Sreesath dropped). The consecutive fours off the bowling of Agarkar and Sreesanth made the bowlers frustrated. 3 fours after the dropped catch made agarkar fume. Sreesanth started the next over attempting to atone his sins of dropping chanderpaul and he too was smoted by Chanderpaul for 3 effortless boundaries before Chanderpaul unluckily gave the strike to Ramdin, who started the beginnning of the end.

Though 59 of 23 looked a distant possibility, when it resuced to 33 of 12, I was still biting my nails with a "what if " sign, as Chanderpaul's grit was like robinhood fighting for his land. What was then hot fire, now turned into a damp squib, when Chanderpaul gave up the fight in the last 2 overs.The warrior ran out of steam, but played an incredible innings,under pressure.What actually made me chew my nails was, the fact Chanderpaul was hitting the ball at will wherever he chose, and it was this arrogance that seemed like it could easily be India's bugbear.

Even though India managed to sneak through, It was certainly Chanderpaul's day, an innings etched into the annals of great chases..and as I say this, something tells me that Chanderpaul and Lara will fade into the sunset of their careers with World cup being their biggest hurrah, that they could tell their grandchildren, as their pearl which took a long time coming.


Venki said...

Actually WI are more dangerous side when they play in their backyard if you take last years cricinfo statistics they have the highest winning percentage in home even higher than the aussies so i am sure their turn will come in the worldcup and my gut says they will be the ones who will eliminate the aussies in the semifinals.. you have mentioned so many instances of individual heroics you missed sarwan's innings against srilanka in supersix of 2003 WC after being carried to a hospital after being hit by a dilhara bouncer, he returned to that match later in ambulance and nearly singlehandedly won the match for them, not many quote the 418 record chase against aussies ,but i love that match since i happen to see it live, you must be a cricket freak too i guess :)..

deeps said...

how long do I have to wait for the goa pics and posts.

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