Cricket fans and commentators are calling for a re-think in terms of 'retaining' a trophy, after some farcical scenes involving Australia and the West Indies on Sunday. The Windies secured their first win in a Test in Australia in 27 years, with Shamar Joseph bowling a heroic spell to lead his side to victory at the Gabba.
But because the series finished 1-1 and Australia 'retained' the Frank Worrell Trophy, it was the hosts who were presented with the silverware on stage. The Aussie players looked rather sheepish as they stood on the presentation stage despite suffering an embarrassing loss - and for good reason.
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The hosts were soundly outplayed by the cricketing minnows, with the West Indies sending a vastly inexperienced team to Australia. A number of the Windies' top players had opted against travelling to Australia, choosing the riches of T20 cricket over the tradition of Tests.
The Windies players celebrated wildly after Joseph castled Josh Hazlewood for the final wicket, with greats like Brian Lara, Carl Hooper and Ian Biship in or close to tears during respective commentary roles. So it was very jarring for many to see the Aussie players handed the trophy and paraded on stage after a loss, while the Windies were forced to watch on.
The Windies players took it upon themselves to celebrate on the stage after Australia had their moment, sticking around on the field for a long time afterwards. Channel 7 commentator Alison Mitchell wrote on social media: “This was WI long after the presentation. Time to forget the idea of ‘retaining’ a trophy?
"Massive anti-climax when the Aussies were called up to lift the F-W Trophy having lost a thriller and series drawn 1-1. WI deserved to be on the podium with them to share it.”
Cricket fans want an end to two-Test series
Many were also left calling for two-Test series to be abolished, but the unfortunate reality is they're probably here to stay. Outside of series involving Australia, India or England playing each other, there are hardly any that last longer than two Tests these days. The costs associated with playing more than two Tests and sending teams overseas don't exactly match the monetary rewards for the lower-ranked teams in world cricket.
Mitchell said it would have looked weird for Australia to be presented the trophy after just one Test, which is why they should always be three-match series at a minimum. Commentator Brett Sprigg wrote: “As much as I’d love a deciding Test, the conclusion to the series fuels the fire for at least the next (Windies away, June 2025). Admittedly that is also only a two Test series, and they don’t come back to Aus before 2027.”
Others said it felt 'disrespectful' and 'weird' that Australia were the ones on stage with the trophy despite the Windies winning the match. Some said the upcoming ODI and T20 matches should count towards who ends up with the trophy - as is common in women's international cricket.
But to lift a trophy after just one Test feels a bit early too… Hence why 3 match series are better than 2.
— Alison Mitchell (@AlisonMitchell) January 29, 2024
Don't think any Aussies felt like winners and just seemed disrespectful to West Indies. In saying that, we've loved it the last 2 Ashes series in the UK
— Callum Duffy (@callumduffy0311) January 28, 2024
The meaningless ODIs and T20Is should count towards this series.
— bear 🧸 (@beartorius) January 28, 2024
You'd have a similar ceremony if it was the dead rubber in a three or five match series and the team losing the series won the final Test. There isn't a simple solution here, other than to scrap all two-Test series, which isn't that simple either.
— Rick Eyre on cricket 🕊️ (@rickeyrecricket) January 28, 2024
Have never understood the retaining after a draw concept. What’s wrong with Joint winners?
— Homer Wells 🇺🇦 (@gmnty) January 28, 2024
The WIndies must play more tests v the big 3. 2 tests is an insult. The last day has shown in 2 very different tests the magic of test cricket, which we must cherish & preserve. It's the pinnacle of the game & we need to persuade the youngsters lured by T20 riches of that fact.
— Jeremy Leese (@caribbeanpotter) January 28, 2024
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