The West Indies vs India Test series ended in a draw in the second Test after rain washed out the final day’s play in Trinidad, allowing India to take the series 1–0 after an innings and 141-run win in Dominica. While the visitors almost dominated, West Indies took advantage of the opportunity with young talents like Alik Athanase and Kirk McKenzie.
There has been much talk about what the West Indies can do to bring their national team back to the heights of the past. If Athanase and McKenzie show there’s no shortage of talent, then what’s the problem? What does Windies need to do to revive cricket, especially in the longer format?
Former India player and current commentator Deep Das Gupta had a ‘left field’ concept for Indian cricket, providing a platform for upcoming West Indies players.
talking ESPNCricinfoDasgupta said: “In red-ball cricket there is talent, there is talent. We have seen youngsters coming through, but to make the West Indies Test team successful or competitive, what they really need to do is play more and more in this format.
For West Indian cricket, many of the modern talents prefer the shorter form of the game, and it is worrying that their ranks in red-ball cricket are relatively thin and unprepared when visiting top teams. Dasgupta spoke about the importance of having match practice and how the BCCI can lend a helping hand to West Indian cricketers who participate in their domestic red ball tournaments by opening their doors.
West Indies players can play in Ranji Trophy if BCCI agrees.
“You want them to play as many Test matches as possible against competitive teams, top 4-5 teams, but sometimes that is not possible or practical. “That leads me to a left-field idea, if West Indies cricket can identify a few players and the BCCI agrees to allow these players to play first-class cricket in India,” the former Bengal star said.
“It happens for two months, in October-November, West Indies can release 4-5 youngsters like McKenzie and Alik and their mainly red ball bowlers. We have 38 first class teams in India and we can easily accommodate 4-5-6 players like that which will help West Indies cricket a lot and make them more competitive.
The Ranji Trophy is a tournament that doesn’t allow international players the way the English county championships do, and that’s unlikely to change considering the busy international calendar and the mushrooming of T20 leagues. But if such a policy comes in future, the West Indian players will surely be the beneficiaries.
“Maybe a very left-field idea, but one that I think will be useful,” Dasgupta concluded.
Indian domestic cricket has allowed West Indian players to become superstars in the past, with players like Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Chris Gayle finding second places in Indian cities in the IPL. A similar effect may occur in red-ball cricket, which may be an ambitious but very valuable project.