Barbados Pride dented
Barbados may have been spared the wrath of storms in the past while their Eastern Caribbean neighbours weren’t so lucky, suffering devastation annually from the severe weather systems.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the tables were turned at Kensington Oval with the Barbados cricketers feeling the full ferocity of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes.
This was a case of a country which had more regional first-class cricket titles than all the teams combined since 1966, having its pride shattered by crashing to an innings and four runs defeat with two full days to spare.
It was the first time in eight years that the Leewards had defeated Barbados in a first-class match. The wreckage was mainly done by experienced 34-year-old swing bowler Gavin Tonge and a promising 21-year-old fast-bowling all-rounder Jeremiah Louis.
Louis and Tonge, who played a Test and five One-Day Internationals but should’ve had many more, evenly shared 18 wickets as they both returned nine-wicket match hauls. The seasoned Marvin Matthew captured the first wicket of the match while one batsman was run out.
The fact that Barbados Pride were without seven of their leading players on West Indies Test duty in Zimbabwe along with new captain Shamarh Brooks, who was representing the Windies A team, shouldn’t be used as an excuse for the shambolic two-day defeat.
West Indies’ captain Jason Holder has not played a regional first-class match for Barbados in two years. Therefore, one can only point to the absence of Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins and Brooks.
On the other hand, the Leewards Islands were also without five key players in regular captain Kieran Powell, young fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, leading off-spinning all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall, wicket-keeper/batsman Jahmar Hamilton and opener Montcin Hodge.
The team, which played under the captaincy of Kevin Stoute, performed poorly with the experienced players failing to shoulder any responsibility in their primary roles. A lot depended on the trio of Stoute, Jonathan Carter and opener Anthony Alleyne but in six innings between them, they managed eight runs.
The batting display was embarrassing in both innings as the Leewards Hurricanes routed Barbados for paltry total of 113 and 116. Neither innings lasted 40 overs with only lower-order batsman Ashley Nurse, who top-scored in both innings with 45 and 67, getting past 25.
There were three “ducks” in the first innings and four more in the second innings and one must ask whether the batting order was set correctly. I thought Carter should’ve batted at No.3, followed by Kenroy Williams, Aaron Jones and Stoute.
It was really disappointing that none of specialist batsmen coped with the swing and seam bowling of Tonge and Louis, and were dismissed in almost identical fashion in both innings.
Tonge, like another seamer Wilden Cornwall previously, has perennially caused problems for the Barbados batsmen, who clearly have technical flaws against the moving ball.
The lively Louis is still very much in the embryonic stages of his regional career, having only played 22 first-class matches, and according to his coach, Winston Benjamin, can add at least another two yards of pace.
The two specialist spinners in Jomel Warrican and Nurse hardly posed any threats to the Leewards batsmen, who are usually susceptible to spin bowling.
It was left to Kenroy Williams, who topped the Pride’s bowling averages in the last tournament, to save the team’s blushes with a maiden five-wicket haul. But Williams must also make runs in the middle order and similarly, Nurse must take wickets.
Justin Greaves is a very promising all-rounder but if he is going to use the new ball for Barbados, he should also do so for his club Empire on a regular basis.
His partner Shakeem Clarke showed improvement from his debut match but was under-bowled. What I like though is that after he was overlooked for the second new ball, he showed what should’ve been done by bouncing out tailender Jason Campbell with the first ball he delivered to him to end a frustrating 50-run last-wicket stand. (EZS)