West Indies’ Roach sponges England’s tail to help seal series triumph | England in the West Indies 2022

It was impossible not to be moved by the scenes on Sunday morning as the Grenadians at the National Cricket Stadium sang a rousing rendition of David Rudder’s seminal calypso, Rally Round the West Indies, and their team duly secured a winning streak.

England’s final challenge had lasted just 11.2 overs, playing 17 extra runs before the last two wickets fell and setting a modest target of 28 runs. West Indies weren’t kidding, their frosty captain Kraigg Brathwaite deservedly wrapped up a 10-wicket win and the Richards-Botham Trophy 1-0 at 11.28am local time when he cut Chris Woakes to leg and hustled the last two races.

Handshakes away, Brathwaite then led his side on a lap of honor around the floor before the champagne-soaked presentation, drinking in the applause for a triumph that was all but sealed on day three when Joshua Da’s first Test Centenary Silva and five wickets for Kyle Mayers’ 75mph stingers have turned England’s hopes of ending their dismal run of results in bleached coral. Jason Holder’s one-handed reflex catch on a leg slide as Kemar Roach went down on the final morning was also a memorable knockout.

In all three Test matches, the West Indies fought impressively to get into a position where they could snatch the decider, with the bloody batting of Nkrumah Bonner and Holder in Antigua, and that of Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood at the Barbados, fending off when two wasted throws on flat pitches made it a tough fight.

But then it is a region that faces a slope just to take part in test cricket let alone win; even a hopefully bumper year 2022 for Cricket West Indies will still bring in around £56million, around a quarter of the revenue the England and Wales Cricket Board receives from its broadcast deal. This is a high-cost, low-income part of the world to play sports during good times, not to mention when local economies have been ravaged by the pandemic.

Yet despite this, and the flight of talent to the domestic Twenty20 leagues over the past decade, the West Indies Test team continue to defy the odds when they take on the much better paid England side at home. They elevate their game impressively and play with an enviable sense of purpose and soul that is so lacking in the fashionable world of English cricket.

Joe Root’s captaincy is floundering. Photography: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Truly, this tour is the latest example of the latter. The so-called ‘red ball reset’ only feels like an empty rebrand after Ashes which involved sacking coaches, dropping players but bolstering Joe Root’s captaincy by removing two successful veterans in Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad. Why? ‘Cause reading between the lines, their standards were kind of too high.

Overseen by Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood, interim general manager and coach respectively, and yet never owned by a captain who, 64 games into his job, should surely be able to speak his mind here, their absence felt even more obsessed thinking about the future. to the detriment of the present. West Indies and Test cricket also seemed disrespectful.

England embraced a new dressing room culture on this tour and got giddy when, to pinch a line from Rudder, the tracks started flowing like water in benign conditions. At the end of the business of this defining third day here, when Da Silva gathered the West Indies tail and when the ball went just a tiny bit with extra pressure on the scoreboard, it counted for very little.

Trevor Bayliss, the former England head coach, was adamant when he left in 2019 five years was the maximum time before a leader’s voice lost its impact in the dressing room. Root is entering his sixth year and hearing him talk about “great progress” makes one wonder if the supposedly improved team environment is built on the illusion.

In truth, there were only a few additional positives. Saqib Mahmood appears to have the skill and guts for the test of cricket and Jack Leach ended up leading the wicket taker and delivering the economy of the first leg, although winning performances outside of Asia have yet to come. shape. Ben Stokes also hinted he was somewhere back to his best in this destructive 120 in Barbados, having laser focused on Test cricket, while overall winter Jonny Bairstow rejuvenated a talent that could have been lost to the white ball specialty.

Elsewhere, there was frustration: that Zak Crawley had spent a century in Antigua avoiding his first dangerous walks, only to instantly forget him; that Dan Lawrence cracked on the roads but lost his stump in the finale; that Ben Foakes shrank when he was offered a chance that many felt was long overdue.

The Spin: Sign up and receive our weekly cricket email.

Ollie Robinson’s absence from all three tests for fitness reasons – another subject Root chose to deflect rather than capture – was also dismal and the loss of Mark Wood unfortunate. The lack of threat from Woakes and Craig Overton on the road, on the other hand, came as no huge surprise.

England are now winless in their last five Test series (India, which they trail 2-1, complete their Covid-affected 2021 tour this year) and it is clear that the new chief executive and coach- leader – and one would think that a new captain – will have to seriously mobilize to stop this race towards summer.

Comments are closed.