West Indies in for a shellacking – Tell me I’m wrong!

By June 24, 2020
West Indies captain Jason Holder West Indies captain Jason Holder

Tell me I’m wrong isn’t a call to prove myself to be a better cricket analyst than anybody else but rather, expresses the hope that all West Indians have ahead of the team’s historic bio-secure Test series against England beginning July 8.

It really is my hope that I am wrong, but after watching two days of the West Indies play against themselves at the The Emirates, Old Trafford, I have seen nothing to suggest that my analysis of this team is in the wrong.

I believe this team lacks genuine superstars. The type of players who take a game by the scruff of the neck and turn it on its head.

When the West Indies beat England to come away with the Wisden Trophy in the Caribbean last time out, I was pleasantly surprised but the win took phenomenal performances over the course of the series and while I believe that this bunch of players can achieve this, at this stage of their collective careers I do not foresee that kind of consistency.

At this stage, the West Indies have only been on show against themselves in England but even that has been instructive.

I watched as Shannon Gabriel, easily the West Indies quickest bowler, troubled his teammates, ending the first day of their three-day encounter with figures of 3-32.

Shai Hope and West Indies vice-captain, Kraigg Brathwaite did the bulk of the scoring on that first day, notching 83 and 84 respectively.

But the team only scored 275, as young Alzarri Joseph ripped through the lower order to end with 4-60.

Neither of those two quicks match the quality of England’s pairing of James Anderson and Jofra Archer. I shudder think what may have been the result had it been those two steaming in yesterday morning.

But, in truth, that is how I see the West Indies batting, wholly dependent on the performances of young, albeit talented, batsmen like Hope and Brathwaite, whose temperament I quite like.

Brathwaite bats carefully, almost as if he feels there is no buffer between him and disaster for the West Indies and that is what I want from him. Whether or not he has the requisite skill to do this all the time is another question.

With an average of 33, eight centuries and 17 half-centuries over the course of 59 Tests, Brathwaite certainly has the ability to put in good performances, but the weight of carrying such a young batting line-up may be a lot to bear.

He does, however, have ‘Hope’ in a very talented middle-order batsman who achieved dizzying heights in 2019.

Though Hope only averages 27.23 in Test cricket, his 52.20 average in One-Day Internationals does suggest there is a lot there to work with and the 26-year-old has said he wants to make his mark with the bat in the longest format of the game and his talent says he can.

Hope has just two centuries and five half-centuries in 58 innings in the longest format and while I expect both him and Brathwaite to show their ability, I am uncertain about the rest of the batting line-up.

Roston Chase is yet to convince me outside of the West Indies where conditions are familiar to him, while the returning Jermaine Blackwood would be incorrect in thinking he can get back into the saddle after so long out of the international set up.

Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich can bat, but again, consistency has proven difficult for both to achieve.

Holder scored a beautiful double century against England in the Caribbean, helping him to the top all-rounder position on the ICC Test rankings, but he too has shown an inability to maintain his consistent best.

In Test cricket, it is with the ball that he creates the most problems for the opposition.

If England have their way with the ball, it is all too possible that a bright bowling line-up may have too much to do on a game-to-game basis.

Joseph, Gabriel, Kemar Roach, and Jason Holder may provide serious opposition for England’s batsmen but even here I feel the English have the advantage of batting in their conditions more often than the visitors and may adjust to the pace before the West Indies adjust to the swing.

Rahkeem Cornwall, interestingly enough, could be the trump card I am hoping for. The spinner has real skill and control with the ball and will give the English something different to look at, an offspinner coming from maybe seven, eight feet up.

But, of course, all the upswings I see in this series are really hopeful, like the West Indies’ confidence from their 2-1 win in the Caribbean could also be just that.

Here’s to the first time that I write something down in black and white and hope for it to be completely out of left field and the ramblings of a mad man. WI All In!

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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