CRICKET YEAR IN REVIEW Windies worries and Jamaica’s resurgence the highlights of 2022
As cricket got back into full swing in 2022 following the COVID-19 pandemic, not much changed during the last calendar year for the senior West Indies men’s team, which continued to find the going tough on the international stage.
Nothing was more glaring than the dismal performance of the white-ball team at the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup in October, where the two-time champions failed to even get out of the qualifiers for the marquee tournament in Australia.
Defeats to Scotland and Ireland meant the regional side, led by Nicholas Pooran, finished bottom of Group B, and following that debacle, head coach Phil Simmons decided to throw in the towel after his second spell in charge dating back to October 2019. Pooran also felt the pressure from the disappointment of the World Cup and told Cricket West Indies in November that he, too, was stepping aside.
Months before the World Cup fiasco, long-standing white-ball captain Kieron Pollard decided he had enough in the maroon colours and called it quits on his international career back in April. His resignation didn’t do much for the team’s fortunes, despite beating England and Bangladesh in T20s. They would go on to lose T20 series to India in July and August, New Zealand in August, and Australia in December.
Following Pollard through the door were veterans Dwayne Bravo and Lendl Simmons, but a couple of players did put their hand up with creditable performances.
Pooran ended the calendar year with the most T20 runs, 582, while Jamaica’s Rovman Powell and Brandon King came into their own by scoring 513 and 480 runs in 21 and 17 innings, respectively.
Jason Holder led all wicket-takers in the T20 format with 28, followed by Obed McCoy with 19, and Jamaica’s Odean Smith with 18.
The One-Day International (ODI) version was less stellar for the regional side who managed to beat only the Netherlands 3-0, before succumbing to Ireland, 2-1; Pakistan, 3-0; Bangladesh, 3-0; India, 3-0; and New Zealand, 2-1.
Once again Shai Hope proved that he relishes the 50-over format after scoring 709 runs in 21 innings, a feat which secured him a nomination for the ICC One Day Player of the Year. Shamarh Brooks wasn’t too far behind following his 694 runs in 21 innings, with Akeal Hosein proving his stock with the ball by snaring 30 wickets in 20 innings, with Alzarri Joseph bagging 27 wickets in three fewer matches.
In the longer version, the Windies played only seven Test matches.They got another series win over England, where they came out with a one-nil victory at home in the three-Test series.
A two-nil win over Bangladesh in June gave the team some momentum. However, they were swiftly brought back down to earth on the tour of Australia, where the team were hammered 2-0 in December.
Captain Kraigg Brathwaite stood tall with the bat once again, racking up 687 runs in 14 innings. He would lose his Jamaican opening partner John Campbell in October, after the left-hander was banned from cricket for four years following a doping violation.
That disappointing news for the Jamaican was not the same for the nation, which managed to pick up two trophies in 2022. The Tallawahs franchise, led by Rovman Powell, won the Caribbean Premier League for the third time in September.
New coach Andrew Richardson, who took over from Andre Coley in August, secured the Super 50 limited-overs trophy for the Jamaica Scorpions in November.
Coley would eventually be named as interim coach for the West Indies for their upcoming tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The West Indies women also had an up-and-down year after getting to the semi-finals and finishing fourth on a high at the World Cup in March. They ended the year with a 2-1 ODI and 4-1 T20 defeat to New Zealand in a home T20 series, then a whitewash from England in both the ODI and T20 series which followed.
Deandra Dottin, who was one of the standouts at the World Cup, decided she, too, wanted no more of West Indies cricket and retired in early August after Hayley Matthews took over the reins from long-time skipper Stafanie Taylor in June.
The women’s game saw a first in the form of the inaugural women’s Caribbean Premier League competition, which was won by the Trinbago Knight Riders franchise.