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What West Indies must do to win


What West Indies must do to win

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CAN THE WEST INDIES DO IT? Can they come from behind and level the three-match series against the world-rated number three England with a win at Kensington Oval this weekend?

West Indies, against all odds, earned themselves a commendable and respectable draw in the first Test in Antigua. The home side fared well in the opening salvos of the second Test in Grenada before finding a way to snatch defeat from a certain draw.

Once again the team’s leading and most dependable batsmen failed to safeguard the team position, thus handing England a comfortably win.

I expect the West Indies to come out with all guns blazing and go for the kill against England, who so far in this series have looked rather ordinary more like a number six. The West Indies  need 20 wickets to win and some firepower in their attack.

The batsmen, however, must bat the team into a winning position or one of safety. This requires concentration for prolonged periods as Broad and Anderson are yet to rip apart our batting as a pair

Kraigg Brathwaite has good temperament and concentration but he  has to counter these so-called bouncers of no particular merit that have seen him surrender his wicket. Good players overcome these minor hiccups quickly.

Leon Johnson, who looked much better on the tour of South Africa than Devon Smith, should be asked to partner Brathwaite. Smith’s big scoring in the  regional competition should no longer allow him four Test innings with one half-century.

Marlon Samuels has to occupy the number three position and score runs yes runs. All good batsmen love to bat and get big runs. Samuels casually carves out a small 100 almost every series and then makes his way back to the pavilion almost unnoticed. No one gets him out, as he nicely gives the opposition the wicket he doesn’t cherish.

In seven Test hundreds he’s passed 130 only once, 260 versus Bangladesh at Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in 2012. Several of these small hundreds should easily have converted into big scores 101, 103, 104, 105,117 and 123. How many times has he scored 400 runs in a series?

Top players such as Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Pointing, Kumar Sangakkara, Shachin Tendukar, Michael Clarke, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Shivnarine Chanderpaul have delivered the big innings. Samuels has been around too long for so little.

Darren Bravo is only getting to 25s and 40s; he has to carry on. Chanderpaul is a legend but the reality is, he is now past his best as was made evidently clear on the South Africa tour,

Jermaine Blackwood has to understand every game situation will not take to his erratic approach. It is Test cricket, which requires concentration of the highest order for prolonged periods. The second inning of the first Test clearly indicated he had no consciousness of the game requirement. He must pencil game awareness into his long-term plan if he is to command a regular middle order place.

Jason Holder, after his  first Test heroics with his maiden hundred, I will like to see him given the responsibility of batting ahead of Ramdin since it is a learning curve I believe he can handle. His bowling must be secondary to his batting. Certainly in Tests against good teams his pace is too friendly and won’t bother top batsman. He can develop as a batting all-rounder.

Kemar Roach must let it rip at his home ground as he at times looks too friendly. He  has to only hit the good areas, bowl fast and get wickets.

Bishoo collected wickets on his return and was expensive. I still do believe he continues however to be fairly predictable as he has little variety. Gabriel, like Roach, has to run in and let it go, his pace can create doubt in the English camp.

Room must be found for Taylor for this Test match. He remains our main wicket-taker with the new ball and he also bowls well with the old ball.