Last year I wrote an article about Pollard ( The Joy of Watching Pollard) on how he makes cricket simple and beautiful. Lot of people did not agree with that and said that he is not a cricketer at all (just like what Michael Holding often says). Today he proved yet again what a player of his ability can do even against a top opposition. It is not just this game, over the past few games, he is playing very sensibly and yesterday’s knock is the best knock he has played so far. There were occasional mis-hits however even those went for sixes, such is his power and hitting ability. 8 sixes and 5 fours in his entertaining knock helped West Indies to score well over the par score. At one stage it looked like a West Indies would finish with 220-230. However West Indies scored 145 runs in the last 12 overs, no other team can do this in a pitch like that and against an opposition like Australia. Earlier Barath played a cameo and hit 9 fours in his knock of 41. He scored three consecutive boundaries against Lee and punished Lee regularly. Players like Pollard, Russel and Sammy are those who have that x-factor and on their day they can change the whole complexion of the game, and when they fire together then it means West Indies are winning the game.
This recent rise of West Indies is definitely a good sign for world cricket. The only weak-link of this team is the fragile middle order, Sammy sent Russel in at 7 which is not a good sign. The team other wise looks good, with a good opener in Adrian Barath, Samuels coming in at three, Darren Bravo at four and lower order of Pollard, Sammy and Russel and a bowling attack of Roach, Russel and a promising Narine and finally a world class all rounder in the form of Bravo. This team can develop in to a world beating team if they can get in a couple of good middle order players.
The moment West Indies went past 290, the writing was on the wall for Australia. No team has ever chased so much in that venue, and the Australian batting is looking thin without the likes of Ponting and Clarke. Ponting’s days are over and he looked like a weak link when he played in the CB series however the replacements are not good enough. Clarke’s captaincy as well as batting ability are sorely missed. Finally in my opinion Lee should hang his boots. Yes, at 35+ he is still bowling at a good pace (145 kmph) consistently, however his slog over bowling looks very bad, even in the match which West Indies tied when lee bowled, it was not because of his bowling but because of poor running by Roach. From a bowler who terrified batsmen around the globe, now Lee is being looked at as just another bowler, and by current performance there is no way he can keep the likes of Cummins and Pattinson out of the team by pure performance.
If West Indies can win one more match and win the series, then this will go a long way in changing the ODIs. These players once they regularly start to taste victories against top teams can become world beaters soon. I also look forward to the test series, as I still think the test of West Indies is far less potent than the ODI team.
Kudos to West Indies and Pollard for this special win.