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West Indies cricket team s fortune did not change much in 2016. Last year, they had won just a single Test and 4 One-Day Internationals (ODIs). This year, too, they had a similar story, as the Caribbean team won same number of games in the two formats, with the only silver lining coming in the shortest format. While they fared poorly in Tests and ODIs, they had a better record in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). West Indies won the ICC World T20 2016 held in India, beating the title favourites in the semi-final and then conquering England in the final, courtesy four back-to-back sixes from Carlos Brathwaite. West Indies women s team also won the World T20 held simultaneously, while colts won the Under-19 World Cup earlier, completing a historic treble for the West Indies.

The World cup wins notwithstanding, West Indies free fall continued this year as well as has been the case since the mid-1990s as they added more losses to their kitty than wins. Apart from the losses, there were a few off-the-field issues as well that severely hit the team s reputation. No surprises here, for the players and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) have been at loggerheads for some time now. After winning the World T20 for record second time, skipper Darren Sammy and other teammates greatly criticised the WICB.

Sammy had to pay for it dearly, as he was sacked from the captaincy in a 30-second call and later dropped from the squad of the only format he had been playing. His emotional speech after the title win played a key role in his ouster.

Others like Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle, who criticised the board publicly and questioned its strange selection policies after Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine were picked for the tri-nation ODI series at home despite not fulfilling the eligibility criteria, were not considered for ODIs either. Pollard, a beneficiary of weird selection policies, however was also at the receiving end when he was initially declined an NOC for participating the South Africa s domestic T20 competition.

Let s take a look at West Indies performance in 2016 and their highs as well as lows:

West Indies performance in 2016

Format

Matches played

Won

Lost

Draw/No result/ Tie

Test

8

1

4

3

ODI

14

4

9

1

T20I

11

6

4

1

Total

33

11

17

5

 

The highs

West Indies completed a treble of trophies this year when their senior teams, both men's and women's, won the World T20 and U-19 team won the U-19 World Cup.
West Indies completed a treble of trophies this year when their senior teams, both men’s and women’s, won the World T20 and U-19 team won the U-19 World Cup.

The year started with a draw against Australia in the third and final Test of the Frank Worell Trophy. West Indies then played the ICC World T20 2016 in March-April, winning the tournament by losing just one match in their victorious campaign against the lowly Afghanistan. This was the biggest high, along with the wins by women s and the U-19 teams. Apart from these wins, West Indies cricket had nothing to be proud about in 2016. They did play well but in patches, continuing to struggle overall.

West Indies lost the first Test against India from the four-match series. Nonetheless, in the second Test, they did show some spine. After scoring a paltry 196 in the first innings and conceding 500 runs, West Indies were placed at 4 for 48 at the end of Day 4. A defeat before lunch on Day 5 was already prophesied by the pundits and fans alike. But their batsmen had other ideas. Jermaine Blackwood, who had scored run-a-ball 62 in the first innings, played yet another counterattacking knock of 54-ball 63. Roston Chase, who was playing just the second Test of his career along with Shane Dowrich playing his fourth game, then went on to add 144 runs for the sixth wicket.

Chase brought in his maiden Test ton and remained unconquered for 137, as West Indies managed to draw the second Test. Dowrich fell for 74, but was replaced by skipper Jason Holder, who played a captain s knock and stayed unbeaten on 64. Though the Test ended in a draw, it was effectively a win for the West Indies, as it gave the young side immense self-confidence and a major boost ahead of the remaining two Tests. The side, however, went on to lose the series 2-0.

West Indies next and final Test assignment for 2016 against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates (UAE) was no different. They played well in the first Test, which was a day-night affair, but fell short of victory by 56 runs. Devendra Bishoo s spell of 8 for 49 bundled Pakistan for 123 in the second innings and raised hopes for a win, but Pakistan prevailed. Their only Test win of 2016 came in the last Test, where Kraigg Brathwaite s unbeaten effort helped West Indies win by 5 wickets. By scoring 142* and 60* in the match, he became the first opening batsman to remain not out in both innings of a Test.

A 1-0 win over India in two-game T20I series in the USA was another high point for the Caribbean side this year.

The lows

There were more lows than highs for the West Indies team. They lost both their Test series this year, failed to qualify for the final in the tri-nation series in Zimbabwe and got blanked by Pakistan both in ODIs as well as T20Is. Besides, the unceremonious sacking of their inspirational T20I skipper Sammy did not do any good to the team.

Test and ODI skipper Jason Holder has been under fire for some time now, but a captain is only as good as his team    Getty Images
Test and ODI skipper Jason Holder has been under fire for some time now, but a captain is only as good as his team Getty Images

Coming to the individual performances, Kraigg Brathwaite was the best batsman for West Indies in Tests this year, with 613 runs from 8 Tests at 55.72 while Bishoo was the best bowler with 22 wickets from 6 games at 34.36 apiece. Marlon Samuels was the highest run-getter in ODIs with 374 runs from 10 games at 37.40, while with 20 wickets from 14 games at 29.20 skipper Holder was the pick of the bowlers.

Best West Indian batsmen in all formats in 2016

Format

Player

Matches

Inns

Runs

Hs

Avg

100s

50s

Tests

Kraigg Brathwaite

8

14

613

142*

55.72

1

5

ODIs

Marlon Samuels

10

10

374

125

37.40

1

2

T20Is

Johnson Charles

11

11

261

79

23.72

0

2

 

Dwayne Bravo finished the year as the best West Indian bowler in T20Is with 12 wickets from 11 games to his name, and Johnson Charles emerged as the highest run-scorer in T20Is with 261 runs from 11 matches at 23.72 at a strike rate of 137.36.

Best West Indian bowlers in all formats in 2016

Format

Player

Matches

Inns

Wkts

BBI

Econ

Avg

Tests

Devendra Bishoo

6

8

22

8/49

3.55

34.46

ODIs

Jason Holder

14

14

20

3/57

5.12

29.20

T20Is

Dwayne Bravo

11

10

12

3/37

8.21

26.00

 

2016 is leaving, but the coming year, too, does not inspire much confidence for West Indies. The ICC Champions Trophy will be played next year in England, and West Indies will not be a part of it. Yes, you read it right. West Indies, two-time World Champions in 50-over cricket as well as T20Is and winner of Champions Trophy once, failed to qualify for the marquee event. It is for the first time that they will not be a part of it. The gravity of their absence from the ICC event may not be felt for now, but it will hit them as well as the world cricket hard when the tournament is actually played. It will not be easy for them to sit and watch a mega event from home; not for the fans either.

But that is not the end of the world. They will hope that the ghosts of 2016 do not haunt them. Their first assignment next year will be the ODI series against England in their own backyard. It will be followed by a full-fledged tour by Pakistan to their shores. Later in the year, they will play the Wisden Trophy in England and also a few ODIs against Ireland. New year would hopefully bring in new enthusiasm and energy into the side. They would put up a better show on the field. As clich d as it may sound, but a good show by the West Indies is not only in their own interest but also in world cricket s, which needs a strong West Indies side.