by Rex Clementine

West  Indies have been the most successful team in T-20 cricket as they have been the only team to win the World Cup title on two occasions. Apart from the style that they play their cricket with, they also had brought in entertainment. Chris Gayle called himself the ‘Universe Boss’ and not only his brutal hitting but ‘gangnam style’ dance caught the imagination of the public. Then there was Dwayne Bravo, whose solo ‘DJ Bravo’ launched just before the 2016 World Cup was a popular hit.

Now that Gayles, Bravos and Sammys are gone, it’s time for the next generation of Caribbean super stars to shine. But who will it be remains to be seen? There’s plenty of talent and match winners, but consistency is lacking.

The plight of West Indies cricket is evident by the fact that merely six  years after winning the tournament, they have to play a qualifying round. That’s how steep their decline has been. On the other side of the coin, that’s how competitive international cricket these days and there are no more dead rubbers. Every game counts.

West Indies sprung a surprise by recalling Johnson Charles, who last represented them in 2016. There was no place for Andre Russell or Sunil  Narine.  Chairman of Selectors Desmond Haynes conceded that Russell had been dropped but Narine was not available for selection.

Yannic Cariah is another surprise choice by West Indies. Again most teams seem to be fancying taking plenty of leg-spin options to Australia hoping  they would come in handy on big grounds.

Captain Nicholas Pooran will have  to shoulder most of the burden in the batting department. In a side filled with stroke makers, West Indies will be looking for someone like Kyle Mayers to play the anchor role.

There’s firepower in plenty in West Indies batting and it’s their ability to bat deep that is worrying. It’s a shame that  Shimron Hetmyer had to be sacked on disciplinary grounds having missed a second flight from Guyana to Australia. His presence would have ensured there was no weak-link in the batting department.

Jason Holder is West Indies most  experienced bowler and  provides balance to the side. Sheldon Cottrell, a strongly built quick, is the leader of their attack. A solider at the Jamaica Defense Force, he celebrates every time he takes a wicket with a salute and that itself is quite a spectacle.

If West Indies get through the first round unscratched, they avoid last edition’s finalists Australia and England in the second round and could fancy going all the way to semis.

West Indies Squad: Nicholas Pooran (c), Rovman Powell, Yannic Cariah, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Kyle Mayers, Obed Mccoy, Raymon Reifer, Odean Smith, Shamarh Brooks.