'Windies batsmen have enough preparation to do well' - Brooks insists no need to worry ahead of England series

By Sports Desk July 05, 2020

West Indies batsman Shamarh Brooks insists the team has no need to fear a powerful England bowling attack, ahead of the upcoming series, once they are willing to apply themselves at the crease.

A lot of the talk so far heading into the England versus West Indies match-up has centered on worries about how the regional team’s often inconsistent batting line-up will fend off an explosively quick Jofra Archer and an experienced England bowling line-up.

The first team’s batting performances in the recent intra-squad preparational matches would not have done much to inspire confidence.  In the final warm-up, a top-five of Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope, and Roston Chase subsided to nine for three and 49 for five.

“Some of us got the opportunity to bat at the crease but having said that, it’s still a batsman and bowlers game.  Our bowlers bowled well, especially in the second practice game.  I think they came with a different level of intensity in the last game and it showed in terms of us losing wickets.  That’s the game sometimes but we are still backing our preparation to bring success in the series,” Brooks told members of the media.

“Spending time at the crease will be key, as long as we apply ourselves and spend some time out there it will get easier,” he added.

“Not to put down the England bowling attack but we need as a batting unit to stand up in this series and I know it will make a difference,” he added.

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  • Yes, Windies players lack commitment but they do need better facilities in order to improve Yes, Windies players lack commitment but they do need better facilities in order to improve

    No one can question Andy Roberts’ passion for West Indies cricket. After an outstanding career for the West Indies where he took 202 wickets as part of a battery of fast bowlers, who terrorised teams for more than a decade, the no-nonsense Antiguan has for the last two decades has had to watch with despair and disdain while batting line ups have taken our bowling attacks apart almost at will.

    I would imagine it would be even more frustrating for him to watch as West Indies’ batsmen, more often than not, seem incapable of batting for time in a Test match.

    This was evident in the last two Test matches the West Indies lost to England at Old Trafford last month.

    Therefore, it was no surprise to hear Roberts speak passionately about the team’s failures during an interview with Andrew Mason last week. Responding to comments regarding the lack of technological infrastructure that puts the West Indies at a disadvantage when compared to England, Roberts was quick to rubbish those claims, instead choosing to throw the blame squarely at the feet of the players.

    “Infrastructure will not make you a better player.  You have to make yourself a better player and I don’t think the commitment is there from a lot of West Indies players,” he said.

    “It’s not just the Test players but a lot of people who play cricket in the West Indies. I don’t think they commit themselves enough.  If you did, you would not be averaging 30 in first-class cricket and that is what we are getting.”

    On the issue of commitment, I believe he makes a strong point. My perspective is that when you watch a West Indian batsman bat these days, you see a couple of things right away.

    You see the deficiencies in technique but what you also see is how those weaknesses persist over time. I remember when Ronnie Sarwan just came into the West Indies. He was in love either with cutting balls that were close to or on his off stump.

    Consequently, he would constantly get out by either playing on, being caught behind or snapped up somewhere between gully and point. However, over time he was more selective when choosing to play the shot and went on to have a successful career.

    Shivnarine Chanderpaul adjusted his batting stance that allowed him to achieve incredible things like bat for 25 hours in a Test series between dismissals and face 1050 consecutive deliveries without losing his wicket.

    This is something he did repeatedly – in 2002, 2004, and 2007 - all because he learned from his previous errors and adjusted.

    I have yet to see this from any of the current players – a clear lack of commitment to improve, satisfied with mediocrity instead of striving for excellence.

    You also see an inability to concentrate for extended periods. Watch any West Indies batsman in the current team. If they last more than an hour at the crease, you can literally see them struggling to maintain the high levels of concentration.

    It manifests in bizarre shots unexpectedly as well as retreating into a defensive mode before eventually giving his wicket away.

    You would never see that happen to Tiger because of how he practised.

    Australian opener David Warner shared a story about how in 2011 Chanderpaul revealed to him the secret of how to occupy the crease for long periods.

    “He batted on the bowling machine for six hours. I said, ‘This is ridiculous, how can you do this?’ And he said, ‘If you’re going to bat for six hours in a game you might as well practise it.’”

    When you watch the current batsmen in the West Indies set up, I am sure none of them spends two hours batting in the nets let alone six.

    This is the commitment needed and which Roberts believes is missing.

    However, I do believe that improved structures would help the players improve.

    Better facilities, better equipment, better coaches help deliver more information to players and in most cases lead to better performances even if marginal.

    Better infrastructure allows players, regardless of the sport, to perform at a higher level. Think of it this way.

    If you go to work each day in a rundown building where you don’t have access to the most basic of equipment; the copier doesn’t work, the air-conditioning makes you sick, and you have to take the stairs instead of an elevator, wouldn’t you feel demotivated?

    To make matters worse every time you visit another office where the basics are in abundance, it depresses you. Eventually, the quality of your work deteriorates without you even realizing it.

    It is the same with athletes.

    If an athlete is not comfortable with his training environment, his or her ability to learn can be impacted. Like everyone else, athletes need to feel motivated in order to improve.

    Modern facilities encourage athletes to work harder and hence improve..

     

     

     

     

     

  • ‘I didn’t want to watch anymore’ – Windies pacer Cottrell recalls IPL draft anxiety, ready to rock competition ‘I didn’t want to watch anymore’ – Windies pacer Cottrell recalls IPL draft anxiety, ready to rock competition

    West Indies fast bowler, Sheldon Cottrell, has admitted he was too nervous to keep watching the IPL draft bidding process, once it landed on his name, but is now eager to give it his all in a first season with Kings XI Punjab.

    The Mohali-based franchise splashed out a handsome Rs 8.5 crore (US$1,139,160.65) for the fast bowler who has become known as much for his blistering pace as his Rockstar-style army salute.  During the draft, however, the former army man admits that he had simply hoped to be selected and could not stand to watch for the figure the gavel would eventually rest at.

    “I was in a hotel room with Evin Lewis. So, I watched everyone’s auction before me and I was comfortable watching it. But then when my turn came, I was like ‘oh man!’. And when I was heard the first bid on me, I just went to the balcony and I was like ‘yes!’. I didn’t want to see it anymore, I wanted to see just one bid, to be honest. ‘Yes, I am going to play in the IPL!’. But then two minutes after the bidding was still going, I took a peek and Evin Lewis was more excited than I was. I was just nervous. But yes, it was a great feeling. I can never forget that feeling and moment ever in my life,” Cottrell said in a recent interview with WION.

    The onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, however, put the player's dream debut on hold.  With the tournament, which will now be held in the United Arab Emirates, scheduled to bowl off next month, Cottrell is shifting into competition mode.

    “I am really looking forward to it. I have been waiting for this for all my cricketing career, to tell you the truth. But more eagerly in the past four to five months. I have been ready mentally and physically. Even with the lockdown, I have been keeping myself in shape, ready, just in case the call comes. So I am totally ready and can’t wait to go onto the park with the Kings XI Punjab.”

  • Anderson rejects retirement talk: I'm still hungry to play the game Anderson rejects retirement talk: I'm still hungry to play the game

    James Anderson was frustrated with his performance in England's series opener with Pakistan but has no plans to retire from Test cricket just yet. 

    England claimed an impressive three-wicket win at Old Trafford, chasing down a target of 277 after their bowlers had helped bring them back into the contest late on day three. 

    However, Anderson struggled at his home ground, at times cutting an exasperated figure as he returned match figures of 1-97. 

    The seamer admits he struggled for rhythm but, at 38, is focused on rediscovering his best form as he closes in on the milestone of 600 Test wickets. 

    Asked on a media conference call on Monday whether he was contemplating retirement amid speculation over his future, Anderson emphatically replied: "Absolutely not. 

    "It's been a frustrating week for me personally because I've not bowled very well, I've felt out of rhythm. 

    "Probably for the first time in 10 years I got a little bit emotional on the field, started getting frustrated and let that get to me a little bit. 

    "It reminded me of when I first started playing, when you get frustrated and a little bit angry then you start trying to bowl quicker and quicker, and that obviously doesn't help on the field. 

    "For me, once we get down to Southampton, it is a case of working really hard over the next couple of days, see if there are any technical issues that I can sort out and just try and work hard and hope that I get the nod for the next game, so I can try and show people that I've still got what it takes to play Test cricket." 

     

    While once again pointing out his determination to keep on playing, Anderson acknowledged his future could be taken out of his hands by the selectors. 

    England are back in action this week, with the second Test against Pakistan beginning on Thursday at the Rose Bowl, and have called up Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson to the squad. 

    "I want to keep playing for as long as I possibly can," Anderson said. "If I keep bowling the way I did this week, the opportunity to retire will be taken out of my hands. 

    "I'm still hungry to play the game, I think the frustration for me this week is that after just one bad game, whispers go around, and I don't think that is really fair. 

    "Something that I have done well throughout my career is deal with the pressure that comes with playing, whether that is pressure of expectation, pressure of the match situation - I feel I've dealt with that pretty well throughout my career. 

    "This week I probably didn't do that very well. That is something I need to look at and go away, personally look at that and whether I play in the next game or the game after that or if it is in the winter then whenever I play next, I'm ready to be able to cope with that." 

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