linton Swanston

FOCUS ON RUNAKO FOR INDIA SERIES

During the last two One Day International series versus New Zealand and Zimbabwe, West Indies were blessed with only two individual centuries, both from the heavy bat 27 year old right- handed batsman, Runako Shakur Morton.  This is no small accomplishment for our local hero batsman, especially in light that there have been no contractural disputes between the WICA and WIPA.  All players have therefore been elegible and available, including the senior and most experienced batsmen.

Runako’s centuries (110 not out against New Zealand and 109 against Zimbabwe) came with him batting at #3, and opening the innings, respectively.  Although many would agree that Zimbabwe is not at the standards that most would expect for ODI’s, we still have to count them for what they are, an international team.

It is however, quite interesting, although not surprising, that our commentators, sport journalists and some former players, are still trying to fault Runako’s technique, create weak points in hs batting, and seek to expose limitations within this high quality player.  Seldom do they ever try to highlight his sheer determination to excel, his guts, his serious fighting and competitive spirit, and importantly, his fitness level.   These vital attributes have been seriously lacking in most of our current players, resulting our ratings in tests and ODI’s, better only than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

I was extremely impressed with the second half of his most recent century against Zimbabwe in the 6th. ODI.  When the bowlers began to bowl well, Runako moved steadily along with singles, the occasional twos and boundaries, and carrried on to a well deserving century.   It was an innings worth more than the actual runs scored, an innings of disciplined character and one we all as Nevisians, should be mighty proud of.

Not surprisingly, as well, Runako was asked to rest for the final match of the series, a decision that still leave many unanswered questions.   One would think that Lara, (265 ODI’s / Avg. 41.31) Chanderpaul (188 ODI’s / Avg. 36.55) Gayle (133 ODI’s / Avg. 37.87) and to a lesser extent Sarwan (97 ODI’s / Avg. 44.95), deserve more rest at this time, than Runako, who has only 17 ODI’s / Avg. 42.13.

However, like the truly fit champion that he is, Runako was there to take the field as substitute, and held on to an additional 2 catches for his team.

With the series against India just a few days away, it’s going to be very interesting as to how West Indies cricket move into the future.  India will present a real challenge and one will expect the survival of the fittest.  Ranking # 50 on ICC latest list of ODI batsmen, in only 17 matches, Runako must now retain the high standards he has set for himself, keep on improving and secure for himself a permanent place in the WI team.  His efforts so far, in my opinion, has earned him that place already.  However, if we read between the lines, the management team is still asking questions.

There is not much more that we can do as Nevisians, but to rally 100% behind Runako.  WICB and those responsible for making decisions in regards to the best and most suitable players for the upliftment of our cricket, know fully well that he has to be in the mix.  Let us all support our hero, a young man who has lion-hearted attitude towards his game and the passion to succeed at all costs.  He will stand firm and continue to make all of us proud of him.