Rethink West Indies bowling

With some major international tournaments coming up, players will be trying to catch the eyes of the selectors when local cricket action gets under way at the weekend.

Two festival matches, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, get things off to a start.

Defending champions of the Money Express divisions one and two take on the rest in what promises to be an exciting start to the new season.

And 2006 will see tussles in top tournaments including the Stanford 20/20 in Antigua, the ICC Americas region World cup qualifying series and a Cayman ‘A’ tour to an affiliate country. The weekend action at Smith Road Oval starts at noon on both days.

Meeting the players before the start of play will be local competitions sponsor Money Express, director, Pastor Steve Blair and CICA president Courtney Myles.

Saturday, January 14, Money Express division two, Cayman Brac Cricket Club play the Rest.

Cayman Brac – Wayne Taylor (captain), James Reid, Sahadeo Sohan, Hetram Sohan, Steve Coates, Ashton Ferguson, Adrian Muir, Robert Levy, Dalkeith Thompson, Phillip Rattigan, Ramdatt Girdhari, Richard Gayle, Alfred White Aaron Muir.

The Rest – Jimmy Powell (captain), Zitroy Robertson, Morvin Brooks, Rohan Chambers, Philip Hackett, Omar Willis, Marc Chin, Ricardo Roach, Stephen O’Connor, Michael Neita, Troy David, Ugal Sicard.

Sunday January 15, Money Express division two, Police Cricket Club play the Rest.

Police – Ryan Bovell (captain), Pearson Best, Cleve Hunte, Ricardo Roach, Marc Chin, Alessandro Morris, Kevon Bazil,Jalon Linton, Franklin Hinds, Ryan Ebanks, Dino McInnis, Kenute Tulloch, Keneil Irving, Troy Taylor, Michael Jackson, Conroy Wright, Saheed Mohamed.

The West Indies has just been defeated 3-0 by the world’s premier cricket team and the ‘arm chair experts’ are calling for the captain’s head on a platter. Implicit in the call is that a change will automatically reverse our consistently abysmal performances which prevailed under the last five captains. (Lara twice) Some are even suggesting Wavell Hinds to assume the leadership role. Wavell Hinds! That argument is another article in itself.

The object of this article is not to plug for Chanderpaul, but to look at our approach to test matches not withstanding our depreciated cricketing merchandise.

The natural and practical approach to any competition is to win. Thus the West Indies engaged in cricket matches, with bowlers whom they think could get 20 wickets, and batsmen capable of consistently making 350-400 runs per inning.

This basic strategy has failed in the last 10-12 years. This writer humbly suggests embracing an alternate approach. Instead of embarking on test matches to procure victory, the West Indies ought to be concentrating on avoiding defeat. To this end, the choice of players should reflect the desired outcome. The strategy of choosing attacking bowlers should be temporarily shelved.

In any case, these bowlers have terrible strike rates, poor averages, unflattering economy rates, and lack the capacity to get wickets in clusters. So the West Indies hardly ever engenders any type of a mini-collapse. Additionally, these bowlers lack the faculty to dispose of nine, ten, jack. If my exposition appears to be too ruthless, a synoptic account of their records is boxed below.

My criteria for eligibility will be a bowler to bowl at least 20 overs in a day at fewer than 3 runs per over or with a strike rate of under 50 balls per wicket. If the bowling is economical the 500 runs total that are being amassed at present will naturally consume more time giving the opposition less time to dismiss the West Indies twice. Strangulation bowling can also induce risk-taking which increases the chance dismissals. If the bowler has a decent strike rate he will get wickets and teams will succumb. West Indies cannot afford business as usual. From the above table, the only players meeting my criteria are Corey Collymore , Cameron Cuffy and possibly Jermaine Lawson only because of his strike rate. The West Indies have to prepare fit accurate bowlers who are prepared to toil for success, in contrast to the inconsistent group that now prevails. The batsmen in the Caribbean are so sparse that there is little to be done at this juncture other than instruct the few we have to forget ‘The Caribbean way’ type cricket and adopt a more Spartan approach to their batting, which entails the Jacque Kallis’s type approach.