A Kind of Redemption

There were a lot of complaints doing the rounds in the media a few weeks ago about the poor quality of the Test series between England and the West Indies. The West Indians just weren't good enough they said. England had nothing to beat. Ergo it was 'poor' Test cricket.

I agreed that the West Indies were poor - who couldn't? - but I tended to demur from the prevailing opinion that the Test series was worthless just because of that, together with the poor quality of much of England's bowling. If nothing else, the West Indies, and the series, had Chanderpaul, but it was hard, at the time, to see where their next win was coming from.

The Twenty20 and ODI series have been something entirely different, though, culminating in today's game at Trent Bridge, which saw a united and vibrant West Indian side lay waste to England. Their display had everything - positive captaincy from Gayle, high pace and aggression from Edwards and Powell, powerful runs from Morton, brilliant catches greeted with celebrations direct from the carnivals of the Caribbean.

Whether it was the fact that they had the sun on their backs for the first time since Old Trafford or simply that they were playing England at a game which England can't play is uncertain. Equally, who's to know whether this, like The Oval in September 2004, is another false dawn or the start of better times for a team - and a cricket culture - that sure as hell needs it.

Whatever the case, Trent Bridge, Saturday 7th July 2007, looks, from this short distance, like a kind of redemption.

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