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Author Topic: Lara Article on the Current State of West Indies Cricket in Today's Guardian  (Read 654 times)

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Offline kaliman2006

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http://www.guardian.co.tt/sport/2012-05-25/test-cricket-not-little-boys

Test cricket not for little boys

Friday, May 25, 2012

Brian Lara

There is a lot to feel satisfied about following the first Test match at Lordís where England defeated the West Indies by five wickets. The match went into the fifth day and no one can fault the West Indies captain Darren Sammy for thinking he had a realistic chance of causing the biggest upset in world cricket for 2012. The rearguard action from our number five batsman to number eight, Chanders to Dinesh Ramdin was a joy to watch. To see the England captain, Andrew Strauss, look worried and at times not sure of his next move, made a lot of West Indians at the venue proud. The television cameras focused on a lone West Indian in the midst of the English fans standing, long arms outstretched, clapping Marlon Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul as they left the field after batting through the first session on the fourth morning.
 
Both batsmen deserved a century but I felt it more for Chanders, after he missed out in the first innings with his unbeaten 87. I also believe he deserves an apology from me after trying to force his hand to bat a little higher. Maybe he is just trying to say that cricket at this level is not for little boys and if youíre good enough to be selected and make a decent living, then you should step up and be counted. The ability of a teamís middle and lower order batsmen to repair a bad situation and put their team in a respectable position or even tilt the game back in their favour, is characteristic of past teams that have been at the top of world cricket. If we look back at West Indies, Australia, South Africa and England who have dominated the last four decades of Test cricket, we would realise how very strong and successful that part of their batting line-up was.  If we examine our team of the eighties and look at numbers five to eight, the names included Logie, Gomes, Lloyd, Dujon and the late Malcolm Marshall. Check the records and you will find out the alarming number of times our great teams were under pressure and needed the middle and lower order to come good. More often than not, they did.
 
One problem with this team is that almost every innings, this onerous task is left to Chanders and the others behind him. Looking back at the series against Australia and the Lordís test, it has been a daunting task for that half of the batting. But is this self-inflicted? I have no doubt it is. Our number one to four batsmen in the opening match have 45 tests between them, while five to eight have played 247 - thatís 202 more matches. So on sheer experience, we can see where the imbalance starts, and unfortunately for us, does not end. Another major problem is our inability to handle the second new ball with the exception of Chanders. As a former captain, it is one of the things you think about. Can we get five or six wickets before the second new ball? And when it is taken, can we finish off the lower order?
 
Unfortunately, Iím back in the Caribbean and unable to give an opinion on the pitch at Trent Bridge, but I can safely say that more runs will be scored than at Lords. I still believe that bowling first is our best option since it allows us to have a better understanding of how to approach the rest of the match.
 
A big score will leave us with the understanding that we have to occupy the crease for as long as possible, since the objective then should be to ensure we cannot lose. I have no problem with this approach since we cannot expect the West Indies to move from losing test matches in three and four days, to reversing their fortunes to the extent that they can beat the number one team in the world. It simply will not happen. Our priority must to get the game to the final day and get out of the habit of  losing in three and four days. Then we can refocus.  Itís a tribute to this very inexperienced team that they succeeded in giving England a fright and taking the game to the last day. But they must understand that this is going to strengthen their host for the rest of the series. I am sure that Strauss and company understand that the West Indies revolves around Chanders with the bat, and Roach with the ball. You can be sure they will be looking to work on the inexperience of the rest of the team. That will be their approach for the rest of the series. If we come out of this series by drawing the next two matches, I think we should be proud of this group of youthful, talented players.
 
It would signal to us that something positive is happening. And that would be a bonus for our cricket.

 

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