West Indies cricket. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This maxim seems to perfectly fit this West Indies cricket team. After landing in India, the men in maroon had done nothing of note till the first ball of the first One-Day International (ODI) at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi at the southern half of India.
They had been previously soundly thrashed by the India ‘A’ cricketers in the twin warm-up games in Mumbai. They flew down to Kochi on Monday afternoon only to rake up a controversy alleging the injustice meted out to them as per new agreement signed by the West Indies Players Association and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). The row prompted them to skip the pre-match practice session and the series trophy unveiling ceremony on Tuesday. But after putting to rest all speculation regarding their pull out from the ODI, Bravo and his men laboured on to the ground an hour before the scheduled start of play.
No one was giving them a chance since the side lacked big names and especially after they spent all their energies over the previous two days to hold teleconferences with their own players union and the Board to air their grievances in the new contract. As Indian skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and chose to bowl, everyone anticipated an early finish.
But trust West Indies to come out with all guns blazing when pushed into a corner. With their regular opener Lendl Simmons out injured, skipper Dwayne Bravo was forced to open the innings with Dwayne Smith. And the duo indicated early on that they had a point to prove and were game for a fight. The drum beats in the stands also gave them a feeling of being back home in the Caribbean as Smith and Bravo played their shots right from the word go.
Though they lost Bravo early on, Smith continued to play his shots and Darren Bravo, who replaced Dwayne at the crease, took cue from his partner and chanced his arm when the opportunity came by. The two perished in similar fashion as they hit a six and got out off the next ball against Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra respectively. But Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin ensured that the start given by the Windies top-order wasn’t wasted.
They batted intelligently, adding flair with finesse, and showed that the controversy that had erupted didn’t affect their batting. The two rotated the strike and punished anything loose. Ramdin departed after a well compiled 61, but Samuels carried on scoring his sixth hundred and West Indies had a more than challenging total on the board as they put up 321 for the loss of six wickets.
Their bowlers then came to the party as man-of-the match Samuels, Ravi Rampaul and Bravo shared two wickets each to bundle out India for 197 in 41 overs.
This Windies seem to be on a mission in India now.