Former Barbados-born England batsman Roland Butcher says that the West Indies’ bowling plan is flawed in many aspects and must be done away with immediately if they are to revive their 2019 ICC World Cup hopes.
After two good performances in their opening matches against Pakistan and Australia at Nottingham, the West Indies bowlers have been roughed up in their most recent exploits against England and Bangladesh.
In the first game against Pakistan, they bumped them out for 105 and in the second match they had Australia reeling on 79 for five before the Aussies recovered to get 282. The West Indies defeated Pakistan but lost to Australia by 15 runs. However, against England and Bangladesh they were battered to all parts of the ground by the opposing batsmen and lost by eight and seven wickets respectively.
Speaking to Guardian Media, Butcher, the first West Indian to play for England, said: "The bowling is very poor at the moment and it is not as if these guys are not talented. They are going out there with the wrong message and are trying to execute a plan that is flawed in these conditions.
"The first game at Nottingham and even the second would have handed them a fast pitch. However, as the tournament progresses a lot of cricket is being played on these pitches and it will not get any faster. The pitches will play lower and lower as the tournament goes on and these guys are bowling short."
Butcher, who played a lot of cricket in England for Middlesex and England during his career in the 1980s, said the bowlers are now not bowling to suit the English conditions and will pay the price for it if they do not adjust their gameplan.
"They need to understand that there are times when you have to pitch up the ball up and allow for movement. The conditions here will provide you with an opportunity to get a snick here or there. All the bowlers are concerned with (now) is digging it in short and hoping to get these guys out,” he said.
However, with the next game up on Saturday against current table toppers New Zealand, Butcher said the bowlers may not be able to adjust in time.
"I can't see West Indies changing this at short notice and I am not confident of their chances of getting into the semis. We are looking here at a situation where they need to win all their remaining four matches in order to have an outside chance. The way they are bowling, India will definitely be a really tough proposition," Butcher said.
However, Butcher, who is doing commentary for Cricekt360 during the current tournament, added that one of the reasons behind the team's poor performance was its makeup, which he chalked up to the selection process.
“We have players there who need to take a rest. For example, we insist on playing a half-fit Andre Russell. This is doing nothing for the team at the moment. They should try and get someone else in there because his injury is hurting his performances and that of his team,” he said.
“Also, I think that they should give Oshane Thomas a rest and don't damage him with this cricket. Leave him for the Test matches and see where he goes from there. He needs some work on his bowling and you can't do that during a tournament. I would ask the more experienced Shannon Gabriel to take up the mantle and leave Thomas on the sidelines.”
But Butcher is not the only person who has addressed this issue. Former West Indies bowling greats Joel Garner and Andy Roberts also criticised the bowling tactics following the Bangladesh match.