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.

Related items

  • Abid unbeaten as Pakistan post daunting first-innings 510 Abid unbeaten as Pakistan post daunting first-innings 510

    Pakistan strengthened their grip on the second Test against Zimbabwe in Harare after an unbeaten 215 from Abid Ali allowed the tourists to declare on 510-8.

    And Zimbabwe were quickly reduced to 52-4 in reply by the end of day two as Pakistan closed on a dominant sweep of the two-match series.

    The touring side, who won the opener by an innings and 116 runs, resumed on 268-4 on Saturday and could not be slowed.

    It took Zimbabwe 54 balls to remove nightwatchman Sajid Khan (20), installed alongside Abid after a belated flurry of wickets on Friday, although Abid's scoring was only steady as Mohammad Rizwan and Hasan Ali also departed.

    The arrival of Nauman Ali at the crease prompted a huge partnership of 169 and the duo looked immovable at the close of the second session.

    Nauman was just seven shy of a maiden century, having been out for a duck in the previous match, and this looming milestone appeared to play into the thinking as Pakistan batted again in the evening.

    But after Nauman hit the first ball for four, he was stumped from the second and Babar Azam swiftly declared.

    That left time for the tourists to chase early wickets in the Zimbabwe innings and veteran Test debutant Tabish Khan found joy inside the second over as he trapped Tarisai Musakanda.

    Kevin Kasuza, captain Brendan Taylor and Milton Shumba also departed before the day was out, with Sajid continuing an enjoyable outing with his first Test wicket.

    The hosts again face a mountain to climb simply to send Pakistan in to bat for a second time, already with only six wickets remaining and 259 off the follow-on mark of 311.

    Making hay in Harare

    Abid scored centuries in two of his first three Test innings but had failed to supply a third since coming into this match. His average stood at 37.

    Now he has a first double-hundred and a batting average of 49.6. The batsman found an accommodating Zimbabwe attack but capitalised far more effectively than many of his team-mates.

    Well worth the wait

    Tabish made his first-class debut in 2002-03 but only now, aged 36, has been handed his chance in the Test arena.

    Not called into action until the sixth session of the match, he soon made up for lost time with just his sixth delivery, nipping back into Musakanda to set Pakistan on their way.

  • GCB investigating why CWI denied quartet retainer contracts GCB investigating why CWI denied quartet retainer contracts

    The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has written to Cricket West Indies requesting a copy of the criteria used to award international retainer contracts and the report submitted by the selection panel on which the decision was made not to award international retainer contracts to Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Romario Shepherd as well as Veerasammy Permaul.

    The missive to the CWI comes on the heels of the recent announcement by CWI of 18 players who were offered retainer contracts for the year July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022. Among those who were awarded were newcomers Kyle Mayers, Joshua Da Silva and Nkrumah Bonner, who had standout performances against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

    However, there were no contracts for the four Guyanese players, a troubling development for the GCB.

     “The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) notes with great concern the information that Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Romario Shepherd were not awarded International Retainer Contracts by the Cricket West Indies (CWI),” the board said in a statement Friday.

    “The GCB is also concerned with the non-award of an International Retainer Contract to Veerasammy Permaul.”

    The GCB said it is not aware and was not informed of the criteria used for the award of international retainer contracts nor were any reasons given for the non-award contracts to the four players.

    “The non-award of International Retainer Contracts to these players by CWI is a matter of extreme concern to the GCB and to the Guyanese public and the GCB intends to fully investigate this matter,” the GCB said.

  • 'They must earn it' - CWI chief selector Harper insists players can only be rewarded for consistently high levels, if team is to progress 'They must earn it' - CWI chief selector Harper insists players can only be rewarded for consistently high levels, if team is to progress

    Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, believes it is an absolute necessity for players to get used to the idea of having to perform at the very top of their games in order to secure top-class retainer contracts.

    The omission of the likes of Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamarh Brooks, Shane Dowrich, Sheldon Cottrell, Rovman Powell, and Oshane Thomas from the international retainer contracts lists, for the upcoming year, has rubbed a few supporters the wrong way.  Particularly, based on the fact that fewer contracts were handed out this year.

    However, according to Harper, some players did not meet the minimum criteria for selection or simply did not display the quality need.

    “We have to accept that these are performance-based contracts.  So, the contracts are awarded based on performance during the evaluation period, as well as the selection panel must feel that the players must play a major role or form the nucleus of the team going forward,” Harper told members of the media on Thursday.

    “The players who were not awarded contracts their performances over the period did not meet the necessary criteria as well as you had new players who came to fore and performed, so they were offered contracts,” he added.

    “Going forward as a culture, if we want to see our team progress, if we want to see our team compete with the best in the world.  We have to be more conscious of the fact that we have to earn our stripes and we have to perform consistently.  I think our retainer contracts are given on that basis.”

    In addition to playing at least 50 percent of the games during the evaluation period, to be considered, batsmen must average at least 30 in Test and ODI cricket.  For T20Is players the player’s batting average and strike rate combined must be a minimum 150.


© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.