The conversation in my house before heading to Sabina Park was whether the match would end on Day 3. I was optimistic and said to my father that Jason Holder could get another century, just like he did in Antigua. I believe Dad ‘steupsed’ or ‘kissed his teeth’ (something which apparently only West Indians do I learnt from an Englishman).
Another thing which only West Indians (it seems) do as cricketers is capitulate when the pressure is on. Are we not technically competent, or as Sports Psychologist Kadija Richards told me years ago while she was assigned to the Jamaica team, it’s the mind that lets cricketers down? I had spotted her on Day 1 watching from a balcony of a Hospitality Suite in the North Stand, high above where the West Indies were toiling in the field after Jerome Taylor had sent back some of the Aussies to their dressing room. Wonder what she is doing now?
Interestingly in the interview back in 2004, she echoed what another Psychologist Dr Rudi Webster had told me earlier that year when I did an investigative piece on the maligned Shell Cricket Academy in Grenada. They both believe that the physical and technical aspect are insignificant when compared to the mental fortitude necessary to succeed at the highest level.
Back to Day 3. I spent the first session over in the George Headley stand. My sister was attending cricket and that is a rarity, so set up my computer and did some non-cricket work while looking up every now and again to see the match on the TV screen inside the box.
Wait? Wuhloss! (Bajans, pardon me if that’s not appropriate in this context). Jason Holder is batting like a man assured! How refreshing to see! In no time he had reached his half century. Could he indeed do an Antigua? The number 8 all-rounder eventually made 40% of the team’s score. I deducted the 15 extras, so took the 82 not out as a factor of 205. The next highest score was 51 by Jermaine Blackwood. How different Day 3 could have been if he had not lost his way (or his head?) close to the end of Day 2.
The tall gangling Holder was the guest at the post match press conference and said “I just decided to be positive. I don’t think it made any sense just standing up there just trying to hold on.” He said Kemar was a defiant partner. Holder also added that it was more mental than anything. When asked about his learning since starting at the international level, he said “I think my mental game has been improving each game.” He said that on Day 4, partnerships were needed, starting with the two batsmen who were left at the crease.
Nope, not the two openers. They were knocked over in quick time. At the end of Day 3, the score was 16/2 in 8.0 overs (DM Bravo 8, SO Dowrich 1). Chandrika and Brathwaite had not troubled the scorers much. Australia had further insulted our cricket earlier by declaring with about 30 minutes left in the day. They know us only too well.
The only other interesting thing on Day 3 was the lunch I had. Such a lot to choose from. Curry goat, crispy pork, chicken, crab backs and lobster. The caterers had indeed outdone themselves.
Wonder if any lunch will be ordered for Day 4? The West Indians I think may not realize how many things are affected when they don’t perform well. Should spectators go to Church then head back home and put the Sunday Roast on early? Or should they keep the faith and head on down to Sabina Park for a full day’s cricket? The first hour will tell if Australia will have the West Indies for lunch :(.