The Windies might have been on a momentary high after securing a hitherto rare Test series victory over the visiting English since the 90s, but are these necessarily the Windies of change or just a Gayle that will blow through?
It has to be noted that this series victory came largely from one morning's deeds from two bowlers in Sabina Park. Those were the only difference-making performances from the West Indian team. Those same bowlers were rendered quite impotent in the subsequent matches; in fact one of them couldn't even hold down his spot for the full Test series. The West Indies bowling struggled consistently to knock down the English 10-pin. One could argue that this is reflected directly in the fact that the ranking of the highest run-scores in the series from both teams has Englishmen from ranks #2 until #6. The English batsmen would argue otherwise and they would be partially justified, especially since some of the aforementioned five batsmen had to weather the fieriness of Fidel on certain late afternoon and the bends from Benn on certain others. Those were the exceptions.
As far their own batting goes, Ramnaresh Sarwan scored big and bigger and Chanderpaul did what is the minimum expected from him these days and Gayle chipped in here and there. But that was mostly that! The rest of the seemingly good performances, including a couple from the spruces of Brendon and Denesh, seem so more due to the generosity of the Brits than the virtuosity of the Islanders. The question then becomes what if two of these three stalwarts fail in an entire series. One doesn't have to be Tim Burton to imagine that scenario. And the less said about the West Indian fielding the better.
And all this against an English team that has been stumbling on its own mess: Flint-OFF, Unkeen Pietersen, Andrew Stress, to name a few.
"Work ethic" is a word that is being thrown around in world cricket these days, thanks to the entry of a "corporate" mentality and the purported "accountability" that should come with it. But the world famous West Indian "lackadaisia" might be too much to handle even for these task masters. The fact that one of them, a big one at that, might end up behind bars for a long time to come doesn't help either. The laid back island culture might have even gotten to their Aussie coach, one of whose main purpose was indeed to break that easy floating bubble, as he seems to be getting himself nicely ensconced within it when he called back his batsmen in bad light even as that would directly result in their loss.
Off the field, it doesn't help that the captain is at loggerheads with the "Mother Board", which itself is not on the best of terms with the "Mother Chip" or as some call it, DigiCel.
There are more entities at play as well in contributing to that eerie premonition that West Indian cricket might never again scale back its own past heights, not the least of which are those of its fas bowlers! As Simon Evans laments, the aforementioned corporate agenda, albeit half-baked in execution, as well as fully inept cricket board have combined to make West Indies a newfound "home ground" for the English in a new form of colonialization. The locals, especially in Antigua and Barbados, with their rum-soaked breaths and their steel drum-driven hearts and vintage cricket memories have been left with just that. As Lara has hesitantly admitted, the rise of T20 seems to have given birth to a new type of cricket viewer in the Caribbean.
" ... Not necessarily the right ones I think; the ones that just want to go to the game and don’t even know what happens ..."
The English might have spoilt that party with an ODI series win, but they themselves can't lay any serious claims to have done so anywhere close to convincingly. John from the Bleacher Report seems to agree:
Despite succumbing to the brilliance of Andrew Flintoff's bowling, and subsequently losing the one-day series, the West Indies have enjoyed the better of England's tour. Test series victories are rare moments, but the reaction of the returning crowds shows that cricket remains an important social activity in the Caribbean.