ICC Cricket World Cup - South Africa 2003






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Vasbert Drakes: Thoroughly professional as always

Vasbert Drakes
© Reuters
He has played first-class cricket for five different teams in three separate countries. He has a wealth of cricketing experience that West Indies only chose to tap when he was years past his best. The story of Vasbert Drakes is an intriguing one.

Having first played for the West Indies in 1995 in five one-day internationals against Australia, where he put in a thorough performance, Drakes found himself out of favour with the selectors soon after. For years then the mediumpacer found himself plying his trade for Barbados, Border in South Africa, Sussex, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire in England, but not for West Indies.

Having returned to international cricket only recently, Drakes has proved his worth more than once. Although he possesses nothing of the speed he originally had, Drakes has more than made up with experience and a cool head.

When the West Indies took the field in their last game against Kenya, they had 246 on the board and not much to play for but pride. Knocked out of the tournament thanks mainly to a rained out game against Bangladesh the West Indies looked weary when they batted against Kenya.You certainly couldn’t say the same about the bowling though.

Jermaine Lawson, playing his first game of this World Cup, worked up a good pace, hitting the 150 km/h mark from early on in his spell. The pace of Lawson was a bit too much for the Kenyan batsmen and they were constantly pushed back.

It was, however, not Lawson who did the majority of the damage. Making good use of the pressure Lawson created, Vasbert Drakes cashed in.

This is not the first time in this World Cup that this has happened. Earlier, the really quick men ­ Shoaib Akhtar, Brett Lee and Shane Bond terrorised batsmen with their pace but did not have results to show for it ­ they merely went for runs.

With this in mind, Drakes concentrated on the basics. Bowling a steady line and length, varying his pace well, Drakes scalped his second five-wicket haul of the tournament, returning figures of 5/33. At one point, Drakes had taken two wickets in as many balls and had the Kenyan batsmen reeling.

The hat-trick eluded Drakes, but his effort was more than enough to win him the Man of the Match award. With this five-wicket haul, Drakes' tally of wickets in this World Cup moved up to 16, making him the leading wicket-taker along with Chaminda Vaas.

The West Indian selectors would do well to keep this in mind when they pick the side for the forthcoming home series against Australia.



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