West Indies batsmen showing signs of improvement

By Mariah Ramharack April 04, 2021

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

 

 Positive signs for Windies batting

West Indies batting has been a matter of concern, especially in the Test format for some time.

As recently, as of July 2020 when West Indies faced England in three Tests, the Jamaica Observer newspaper blared the headline “West Indies bowlers undermined by batting woes” a sentiment shared by many newspapers in cricket-loving nations around the world.

After winning the first Test against England, the West Indies only survived 70.1 overs in the second innings of the second Test. It was even worse in the second innings of the third Test when they lasted a mere 37.1 overs as England completed a 269-run win in Manchester.

However, against Bangladesh and in the just concluded test series against Sri Lanka, the Windies have shown signs of improvement.

Generally speaking, West Indies batsmen do not face enough balls and hence give their wickets away cheaply. Against Sri Lanka, there was a refreshing change in attitude and application.

In the final Test, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite made 126 in the first innings- his ninth Test century, his first as captain and 85 in the second. In all, the skipper batted 813 minutes, the most in a Test for the Windies. In that time, he faced 507 balls, the joint-most by a West Indian in a Test match since Brian Lara's 400* off 582 balls against England in 2004.

Similarly, Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder each spent time at the crease while setting a 377-run target for Sri Lanka. Mayers faced 76 balls for his 55 while Holder scored 71 not out off 88 balls.

In the first Test, Nkrumah Bonner’s maiden century of 113* was an exercise in patience and determination. Batting at number three, the 32-year-old Jamaican faced 274 balls in more than seven hours at the crease.

 There is still a lot of work to be done but the early evidence suggests that the West Indies batsman might finally be on the right path.

 

 Sergio Aguero still has value

 It has been confirmed by Premier League club Manchester City that Sergio Aguero will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.

However, this does not mean that his career has come to an end.

This season has been a challenging one for the striker, who has had to endure injury, Covid-19, and lack of game time. In his 14 appearances, he has started nine games and scored three goals.

Despite his struggles, he is arguably the best non-English striker to grace the Premier League and the numbers speak for themselves. Aguero is the fourth highest goal scorer in the Premier League history with 181 goals. He also leads the statistics in the rate of scoring in English top-flight football since 1992.

Aguero’s famous goal in injury time against QPR in 2012 when he clinched the club’s first English title in 44 years, is one for the books. Overall, he has helped The Citizens to four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five League Cups.

Though slowed by age and injury, in Saturday’s game against Leicester City, he worked hard off the ball and contributed to his side’s win, something he has done constantly during his incredible career at Manchester City.

His boots will not be easily filled as was made clear by Pep Guardiola.

“I want to be clear. Maybe we'll find a new player to replace Sergio. In terms of numbers, he might be replaced, but in terms of what he means to the club, it is impossible.” 

 

Why are super teams an issue for some in the NBA?

The news of LaMarcus Aldridge joining the Brooklyn Nets did not sit well with many Los Angeles Lakers fans with many saying the Nets are so desperate for a championship they are buying one. Lakers superstar Le Bron James’ son Bronny also weighed in tweeting, “All this to stop a 36-year-old man in Year 18.”

LA Lakers CEO and owner Jeanie Buss, who sees the move as making the NBA a more compelling product said, “So, bring it on.”   

Personally, I see nothing wrong with the Nets creating a super team because LeBron has done the same many times in the past.

In fact, LeBron created his own super team with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami Heat in 2010-2011. He also helped assemble Kevin Love Kyrie Irving for the championship-winning Cleveland Cavaliers.

 And while the Nets signed the talented LeMarcus Aldridge it is important to note that the Lakers also recently signed two-time all-star centre Andre Drummond, who is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds this season despite having not played since February 12.

 

Related items

  • 'It comes down to discipline' - Windies skipper Brathwaite insists team must find ways to focus on batting longer 'It comes down to discipline' - Windies skipper Brathwaite insists team must find ways to focus on batting longer

    West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, admits a recurring problem is the team's ability to spend longer at the crease, on the back of a dismal performance against Sri Lanka in the recently concluded tour.

    With very few exceptions, the Windies batsmen struggled to make an impact against a crafty Sri Lanka spin attack, which anchored a dominant 2-0 series win for the hosts in Galle.  A closer look at the team’s batting statistics did not make for good reading. 

    In two matches, only three batsmen managed a combined total of over 100 runs.  Nkrumah Bonner was the team’s most successful batsman putting up a total of 148, over the two matches, with a high score of 68 and an average of 49.33.  Brathwaite was next with 119, his average working out to 29.75, with a high score of 72.  Jermaine Blackwood was the third batsman to reach triple figures after totalling 109, averaging 27.25 and getting a high score of 44.

    By comparison, Sri Lanka had five players total over 100 over both Tests, with two, Dhananjaya de Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne, getting over 200 runs.

    When it comes to partnerships, the West Indies had only one that was worth 100 runs, which took place between Bonner and Da Silva in 44 overs.  By comparison, Sri Lanka achieved the feat 6 times.

    “Batting-wise we let ourselves down, we just didn’t get big enough totals to cause any pressure on Sri Lanka,” Brathwaite said, following the match.

    With the West Indies set to face England in January of next year, the captain believes the team must find ways to work on its concentration if things are to improve.

    “Really and truly it all boils down to having the discipline and doing it for long periods.  I don’t think it will change in terms of spin-friendly conditions or batting in the Caribbean,” he added. 

    “Wherever you may play, it’s about having that discipline throughout to bat for longer periods, I think that’s what we need.  We are showing that we can do it, but we are not doing it for long enough.”

     

  • Sri Lanka bowl West Indies out for 132 to take series 2-0 Sri Lanka bowl West Indies out for 132 to take series 2-0

    Sri Lanka completed a series sweep of the West Indies Friday winning the second Test by 164 runs at Galle. Needing to make 297 or bat out 93 overs on the final day, the West Indies folded for 132 all out in 56.1 overs.

  • Paul hails 'nice piece of history' as Suns break franchise record win streak Paul hails 'nice piece of history' as Suns break franchise record win streak

    Phoenix Suns veteran guard Chris Paul says breaking the franchise's record win streak is a "nice piece of history" but insists he was not thinking about it in Thursday's win over the Detroit Pistons.

    The Suns completed an 18th consecutive victory, downing the lowly Pistons 114-103 to improve to 19-3 record to top the Western Conference. Phoenix's 18 straight wins broke their previous franchise-best mark from the 2006-07 season of 17.

    Paul, who had 12 points and 12 assists against the Pistons, has played in many successful sides before but found unique joy in the Suns' record-breaking streak, even if it was not at the front of his mind.

    "It's cool. I really wasn’t thinking about it," Paul said during the post-game news conference. "Obviously it's a nice piece of history for the team but for us it's always about that feeling of playing the game the right way.

    "We say this every night, a win is a win, but we feel like we could’ve played better."

    He added: "It's exciting. Some were so long ago so you forget. To be on this journey with young guys and having rookies on the team, it's cool. It's also cool that guys aren’t stressing about it either. it just happened."

    The Suns were without All-Star guard Devin Booker for the first time this season due to a hamstring injury but had plenty of contributions.

    Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne both scored 19 points off the bench, while JaVale McGee added 10 points from 15 minutes too.

    "We were hooping. It was like most nights," Paul said when asked about the side covering Booker.

    "I aint surprised. I don’t expect anything less. It's how our team is. Every night it's someone else stepping up and we expect that."

    Suns head coach Monty Williams was awarded Western Conference coach of the month prior to the game after an unbeaten November, with Paul offering up his praise.

    "He's a big reason why I wanted to come play here, because of who he is as a person and as a coach, the principles and the accountability we have here," Paul said.

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