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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Powells, Smith and West Indies Cricket - conundrum !

Recently a twitter post by Sheldon Cotterell went viral .. .. ‘Don’t park your car too close when a West Indian is batting’   - the man of the post-  hit Josh Little for six over cover only to see it land on the roof of his team-mate Sheldon Cottrell's bright-blue Range Rover. "I was praying for that ball to go over the car," he laughs. "He made a post about it, but you can't park there. It was just unfortunate… he's not going to make me pay."


In 1980s Clive Lloyds mighty West Indies would crush every other Team, leaving some physically battered and bruised too .. from the pace battery of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Colin Croft, Malcolm Marshall, Winston Davis, Ian Bishop, Patrick Patterson, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh to others – WI Cricket touched a new nadir recently -  Ireland won its first bilateral ODI series against a Test-playing nation other than Zimbabwe and Afghanistan by beating West Indies in a thriller in Kingston to clinch the series 2-1. The star of the show was allrounder Andy McBrine whose 4 for 28 first restricted West Indies to 212. Then with the bat, he made a sturdy 59 to guide Ireland's tense chase. A few days later Rovman Powell made the World stand up and listen !! 

Remember that finals in Singapore, Sep 8 1999, Coca-Cola Singapore Challenge- India made 254/6, yet lost to West Indies by 4 wickets and 14 balls remaining ! 

A Jamaican allrounder who hits 100-metre sixes and bowls at 90mph/145kph is now playing for West Indies against England - but it isn't Andre Russell. While Russell takes part in the Bangladesh Premier League, Odean Smith was tasked with closing out the innings with both bat and ball in the five T20Is in Barbados. Smith, 25, was among the young players introduced into West Indies' white-ball set-up after their World Cup debacle in the UAE.  Last week's ODI series against Ireland brought mixed emotions for him. A surprise 2-1 defeat meant the team started 2022 on a low note, but Smith had personal success in his maiden series: he hit 84 runs off 47 balls across three innings - surprisingly held back to No. 10 - and chipped in with three wickets.   Smith took Ireland Fast bowler Joshua little to the cleaners as he smashed him for a humongous 84 meter six in the deep extra cover region and it hit the standing car of Sheldon Cottrell.


Then he was dropped – and he cried victimization.  West Indies coach Phil Simmons and Cricket West Indies  both rubbished reports of Odean Smith being 'victimised', after the allrounder was benched in favour of Rovman Powell for the third T20I against England. While Simmons said that those on the outside who wanted "preach about victimisation" needed "to look within themselves", CWI president Ricky Skerritt put out a statement calling the allegations "a malicious attack on the credibility of the West Indies Captain, designed to sow division within our team". The statements came in response to a voice note that was sent to mediapersons after the third ODI. While it's not yet clear who sent the voice note, the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday reported that it was "a regional cricket commentator" and that it said the West Indies Players' Association was "very upset over the treatment of Smith" while alleging that a high-level meeting was planned at CWI to clear issues within the team. 

Smith had played the first two T20Is of the five-match series. He bowled one over in the first T20I and was not called on to bowl in the second. While batting, he wasn't needed in the first T20I in a nine-wicket win and made 7 in the second T20I. In the third, West Indies strengthened their batting by replacing Smith with Powell, who went on to smash 107 off 53 balls in a high-scoring win.

"I hit it very good today," Rovman Powell grinned, after becoming only the third man to hit a T20 international hundred for West Indies with a stunning 51-ball effort at Kensington Oval. "Everything came out in the middle." 

A middle-order batsman who bowls occasional medium pace, Rovman Powell has been a semi-regular feature of West Indies' white-ball squads without nailing down a spot. It was in keeping with his strange international career that, having scored his maiden international hundred against Ireland in the qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup, Powell was omitted from West Indies' squad for the tournament itself. He had captained them in an ODI series against Bangladesh six months before, but his struggles against spin meant he was left out of the tournament itself. 

The scorecard reads :  West Indies 224 for 5 (Powell 107, Pooran 70) beat England 204 for 9 (Banton 73, Salt 57, Shepherd 3-59, Pollard 2-31) by 20 runs.  A brutal 51-ball century from Rovman Powell blasted West Indies to a 20-run victory over England and a 2-1 lead in their five-match T20I series in Barbados. Powell muscled the hosts to 224 for 5 with an astonishing 107 off just 53 deliveries amid a 122-run stand for the third wicket with Nicholas Pooran, who was the perfect cornerman to Powell's heavyweight destroyer with a sublimely crafted 70 off 43.   

Making his first appearance of the series after being called up to bolster West Indies' batting in place of allrounder Odean Smith, Powell did exactly what his side asked of him.  Powell's 10 sixes were breath-taking as he clubbed England's bowlers into the stands time and again, particularly down the ground with one of his efforts being measured at more than 100 metres. He brought up his fifty with a crunching effort off Liam Livingstone over deep extra cover and his only nervous moments appeared as his century came within reach of just one more hammer blow during a tight start to Reece Topley's final over. But, having brought up his hundred with a two-run punch to square leg, he freed his arms once more to pump the ball back over the bowler's head and clear the ropes for the tenth time. 

He became the 3rd WI after Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis.. .. score century in a T20I.  

There had been some Powells earlier - Kieran Powell is a powerful left-hand opening batsman who began playing cricket when he was eight. Both he and his brother, Alan, have represented the Leewards Islands at the Under-15 and U-19 level. He was part of a depleted West Indies ODI side for the home series against Bangladesh the following year, but was dismissed for a golden duck on debut.   He played 44 tests and 46 one dayers.  

A few years ago Ricardo Powell was the one most spoken about.  Ricardo Lloyd Powerll - There are few cleaner strikers of the ball in world cricket than Ricardo Powell, and fewer who provoke discussion on why he failed with such regularity. Powell was thrust into international cricket at the age of 20 after topping the Jamaican averages in the 1999 Busta Cup, and quickly took centre stage with an innings of 124 from 93 balls against India in Singapore.  He ended up playing mere 2 Tests and 109 odis. In that match at Singapore, Indian spinner Nikhil Chopra scored 61 !!   20 year old Ricardo Powell hit  a whirlwind 124, his first one-day international hundred !  West Indies, chasing 255, were struggling at 67 for four in the 17th over when he reached the crease. By the time he was out, top-edging a pull, he had hit nine fours and eight sixes in his 93 balls - and West Indies were only nine short of victory.   

Interesting !
With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th Jan 2022. 

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