|Windies’ weakness - May 20|
|2012 - Sports|
|Friday, 18 May 2012 15:00|
Sport by Bryan Davis, former West Indies Test cricketer
The West Indies had just two games in preparation for their first Test match against England, to be played at Lord’s cricket ground May 17. The first game, which was against Sussex County, was unfortunately rain ruined, with the visitors only experiencing a little play in the cold spring conditions on the second day, since the first day was abandoned. This was a crucial game as it was against a County side and would have given a fair measure of the WI strengths and weaknesses. The second encounter was against the English Lions, virtually an England second eleven.
Darren Sammy stood down in the latter contest, presumably to give others an opportunity to play in the blustery weather, a sharp contrast to the Caribbean climate in which the West Indies recently completed a long, arduous battle with Australia in both Test and limited overs competitions. I don’t know who plans these itineraries but I can’t understand why we must accept it.
Without making any excuses for our cricketers, it is a shame that a touring team, to England especially, should be subjected to such scant preparation time. But when you’re at the bottom of the ladder, you can’t make demands and so the WI players have to put up with whatever is offered so as not to miss out on the opportunity of touring England, which is lucrative for players and necessary for their development.
In the second innings of the game against the Lions, the Windies’ batting clicked. Batting is the weakest link in the WI cricket chain. Test batting needs to be of a more consistent nature if the team is ever going to have a chance of winning. And, that is why sound preparation is vital and why generous playing time must be scheduled before the demands of Test cricket begin in alien weather conditions.
It was pleasing – the hundred that Kieran Powell scored. The young, left-handed batsman from Nevis put together a splendid innings of 108. And although I think his free-flowing style is suited further down the order, one must appreciate his natural ability. Out for two in the first innings, he took full advantage of being dropped at 17 in the second and got to his century “stroking the ball with crisp assurance”.
This kind of innings just before the Test is important for the team, simply because Powell is one of the young ones from whom much is expected on this tour if Windies cricket is to improve and develop.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the main man and he must use his vast experience and success over the years to hold the innings together. I was happy to see that he struck form early with a characteristic innings of 77.
Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels were also among the runs; their ability will be severely tested against the world champs. Samuels has to take more responsibility for his batting, a virtue he has not yet displayed. One can only hope he is more mature now.
Denesh Ramdin is another on whom a lot will depend as he’s presently one of the more experienced players in the squad, along with Chanderpaul.
It is to be noted that Sammy left himself out of an important practice match when he should have played the likely Test team. Kirk Edwards, the vice-captain, is leading the side in Sammy’s absence. I made the point recently that wicketkeeper Ramdin was the vice-captain for the Australia tour but was side-lined through injury and Edwards replaced him. It was natural to assume that Edwards was a stand-in so I was very surprised when he continued in that role of vice-captain even with Ramdin back in the team.
The fast bowlers were pretty successful in the game against the Lions and the bowling line-up looked well balanced with off-spinner Shane Shillingford backing up Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul and Kemar Roach. Is Sammy going to leave out one of these bowlers so he can re-join the team as he must?! To achieve a balanced bowling attack in the Test, he will have to leave out one of his quickies. But which one? Maybe he will leave out the spinner Shillingford and depend on Samuels to do the slow bowler’s job with his inconsistent line and length.
I’d love to be wrong but I don’t think we have the bowling firepower to contain the English batsmen for long; we also tend to droop when things are not going our way – and there’s a strong possibility of that happening.
Our batting is weak and our bowling is reasonable but could be more penetrative. We’ll need lots of luck!________________________________________________________________________________________ **DISCLAIMER**: User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Camsel/Catholic News or its staff. Camsel/Catholic News accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments. Please help us keep our site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option. Camsel/Catholic News reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed. Before posting, please refer to the Comments Policy under Resources