Yup! You read that correctly. This is Pakistan’s golden chance to win a Test series in the Caribbean. They’ve never won there before!
Seriously, I was shocked when I heard it too, but our team manager only recently blurted out this little known fact.
“Now the expectations are even higher for this tour, because we have never won a series out here before” he said.
I was like “WHAT?!!”
1957/58, 1976/77, 1987/88, 1992/93, 1999/00 and 2005, every time Pakistan has gone on tour to the West Indies they have either lost or the series has stood drawn. I always thought that taking into account the “Windies” form throughout the past decade or so, they wouldn’t even be considered a challenge.
Well that’s all in the past now. I am gearing up for this challenge. It is going to be a competition worth watching. Both teams are well balanced each has a legendary history behind them, followed by a legendary slump in performances too ;).
Both teams have been dogged by controversy these past few years, especially with Pakistan’s now world famous spot-fixing debacle, player infighting, etc., while on the other side the West Indian player strikes and the fact that they have fallen sooooo far down the gutter that they haven’t won an ODI against a major team since 2009!
But the fact of the matter is that both these teams have the potential to rock it like it’s meant to be rocked and both have nothing more to lose; only the future to capture.
As I write this, Pakistan has already won their warm up one day match. Captained by stand-in Mohammad Hafeez, we won by a comfortable 68 run margin after batting first and Hafeez knocking up a ton.
Pakistan is expected to play one T20, five ODIs and two Tests over the next month and a half, almost.
Both teams have really geared themselves up for this series with major changes. Pakistan has rested players like Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul and Kamran Akmal for the one day matches and infused the team with a lot of young blood, with the likes of Sadaf Hussain, Hammad Azam and Junaid Khan.
The West Indies on the other hand have given the boot to Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan for the first two ODIs of the five match series and introduced four new caps for this series. However, Pollard will miss the ODIs and Bravo the Test series due to commitments at the IPL.
But the West Indies are not backing down yet. They have hired West Indian batting great Desmond Haynes to help them with their batting (Miandad Bhai, are you listening???? :( )
Although temporary, West Indies will also look for a permanent batting coach after the series.
From the looks of it, this is a golden opportunity for the youngsters from both sides to establish their careers and make a permanent place for themselves in their teams.
If you ask me, keeping in mind West Indies’ past form in ODIs and Pakistan’s trot to the semis in the world cup, I believe Pakistan are the favorites to win the ODI series. BUT, Winning a Test series is a completely different thing. Will our youngsters have the needed temperament to gut it out on the field for 5 days? Only time will tell.
The series though, looks to be packed with excitement as both fallen legends bat it out for lost glory.