Cricket expert and broadcaster Tony Cozier called the unfortunate end of India-West Indies Series as a lose-lose situation. Communicating the decision to the West Indies Cricket Board to stop playing in India after the Dharamsala ODI, Dwyane Bravo said that the players would return home in the wake of an unresolved dispute with the Board. Later in a press release, the WICB clarified that it was left with no option but to call off the tour, in which one ODI, one T20 and three test matches still remained to be played. The WICB has convened an emergency board meeting on October 21 in Barbados to discuss the fall-out of such drastic action and did not rule out penalties to the players for their actions during an ongoing international series. On their part, BCCI have held WICB responsible for the abrupt end to the series. Indian Board’s General Secretary Sanjay Patel issued a strongly-worded media statement, where he blamed the WICB for sending a team India without resolving the issue of players’ payments and caused incalculable harm to the BCCI. In a strange blame-label exercise, the WICB said that it had no role to play in ending the tour, which was discredited by Bravo and his colleagues. Adding further, WICB said that they offered a replacement team but that was unacceptable to the BCCI. In any case, they have also offered an unconditional apology to BCCI for the turn of events that unfolded in India in the middle of the tour.
The trouble has been brewing even before the West Indies arrived in India. On September 19, 2014, WICB and West Indies Players’ Association, WIPA signed a bargaining agreement and MoU on payment terms. The WIPA president Wavell Hinds represented the players and told them that though the agreement was not perfect, it would still bring stability to the payment system. On the eve of the first ODI at Kochi, the players felt that they had been double-crossed by Hinds and threatened to boycott the Kochi ODI on October 8. Under protest, the players took the field but Captain Bravo asked Hinds and other WIPA officials to resign immediately. On October 11, Bravo wrote to WICB president Dave Cameron to intervene but on October 16, Cameron stated that WICB would only engage the WIPA on such matter and refused to Bravo’s plea. On October 17, West Indies continued playing the fourth ODI at Dharamsala and even as the match progressed, news broke out that the rest of the tour had been abandoned. In the meanwhile, Dharamsala ODI was finished properly with India emerging winners thanks to a masterly century by Virat Kohli. After long, Kohli found his old form and cracked the 20th century of his ODI career that paved the way for India’s 59-run victory and also the series win.
West Indies chose to field after the toss but their bowling and fielding seemed affected by the news of tour cancellation that broke out during India’s innings. Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane gave a good start in putting on 70 for the first wicket. After Dhawan fell to an indiscreet stroke, Virat Kohli joined Rahane and the two carried the score to 142, when umpire Kulkarni succumbed to the pressure of two vociferous LBW appeals and declared Rahane out. Rahane did well to score 68 off 79s. The third-wicket stand between Suresh Raina and Kohli produced 138 runs in 18 overs. With 280/3 in about 45 overs, India looked in command. With 5 overs remaining, Kohli continued to strike the ball with confidence. Though he didn’t get much support from the other end, except a 7-ball 12 by Rayudu, Kohli banged the bowlers and was the last man out in the 50th over and India finished at 330/6. His 127 off 114 balls had 13 fours and 3 sixes.
The disheartened West Indies began with losing Dwayne Smith in the second over after conceding a maiden to Bhuvi Kumar. 1/1 in 12 balls was a sad way to chase 331 but regardless Darren Bravo held one end. Kieron Pollard was the second West Indies’ wicket to fall at 27 in the 11th over, after making just 6 runs off 31 balls. This was not the Pollard people have known. It was clear that the batsmen lacked the will under the pressure of their Board. But to his credit, Marlon Samuels stood rock-solid even during the crisis. As wickets fell at the other end, Samuels scored his second century in three matches to show his class. He was the last man out in the 49th over as the West Indies innings folded at 271. Samuels’ 106-ball 112 was peppered with 9 fours and 6 mighty sixes. With wickets falling around him, Samuels had some support from Andre Russel, whose short stay of 23 balls produced 46 runs that included 6 fours and 3 sixes. But 331 is a big total under any circumstances and successfully chasing so many runs is not easy.
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