Why would the English cricket reporters decide to be so harsh and blunt with their comments on the current West indies team as soon as they have arrived in their country for a home series? There was not even a welcome remark from the hosts nor a complimentary comment, even if it is aimed at Shiv Chanderpaul’s brilliance with the bat in the recent series, including his 10,000 runs in test cricket. In fairness to these ruthless critics, their statistics are not in correct and when placed alongside their more illustrious counterparts, their predictions about a one sided series would be their firm opinion. Not being a statistician myself, it is more practicable for me to recall performances of players and eventual results, especially in matches in the recent past, and while the English holds the premier position, I am not fanatical over their recent performances. Having said that, I turn to the selected players for answers to these discouraging remarks which can only be answered by showing their talent with bat and ball.
No doubt the English seamers may wish to lift their shoulders sky high while optimistically believing that their Anderson and Company will expect some exciting levels of success when they face the flakey bunch of batsmen, whose ability to play on normal wickets appear mediocre, far less the spongy spring type wickets which cut and swing the ball even when the bowlers don’t try to do same. My answer to that feeling is a much improved Kemar Roach with his speed and rhythm sending his deliveries within the danger corridors of the vulnerable English batsmen and taking them down from their high chairs. Roach will almost appear to the English as a version of the late Malcolm Marshall, the man who made batsmen look ordinary in every cricketing country. On Fidel Edwards, we can expect inconsistency, seeing that he seemed incapable of constant control in line and length in the recent series. However, he may find that accuracy could be more penetrative than shear speed. Ravi Rampaul should be back to full fitness and he will literally enjoy the conditions with his lethal inswingers at more than just average speed.
If Swann is expecting help from the tracks in England, then maybe Shane Shillingford can show him what top class spin bowling is all about. Yes, I do agree that the progress rating of Adrian Bharath is well below what is expected, hence the reason why our coaching staff must act quickly to correct his faulty technique and premeditated strokeplay. Few would be happy with the batters, except Chanderpaul and possible Kirk Edwards, while Darren Bravo must find a way to build an inning after he has done the hard work of getting acclimatized to conditions and the opposing bowlers. Average batsmen show ability to bat, but lose their wickets just when they begin to look comfortable. Bravo happens to be in that category right now, but knowing what he is capable of in past innings, and his experience of English wickets, I reckon that he will raise his game. If Powell gets his chance, the experience will be worth it for his future. I still believe that he needs time to mature. He has confidence, but must apply himself adequately to occupying the crease for long periods. Any reasonable score from Dinesh Ramdhin will be well appreciated. He has the class to be a batsman who can keep wickets, but his recent injury may have retarded his progress somewhat. All we can ask of this lot is determination and dedication to the duties given them. I always prefer to see very committed athletes with average natural talent than to see very talented players with zero temperament and application in their repertoire. Time will tell us whether the English have made their negative statements through fear for their opponents or confidence in their present rating.