The West Indies can win their vital International Cricket Council Champions Trophy clash with South Africa on Friday if they improve with the bat.
That’s the verdict of Cayman Islands Cricket Association’s technical director Theo Cuffy.
The Trinidadian believes the West Indies have the firepower at the top of the batting order to edge out a strong South African side that also needs a win to secure a semifinal spot. But he believes they will require a score of around 280 to test the pre-tournament favourites when they square off at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
The West Indies have struggled with the bat so far. They lost eight wickets chasing a relatively low 170 for an opening game victory against Pakistan and they were trounced by India on Tuesday after posting 233 for nine in their 50 overs.
“We can’t keep trying to defend such small totals. Our bowling is not the best in the group, so our batsmen have to perform,” Cuffy said.
“It’s a strong lineup, with Sammy coming in at eight, but we are not making runs. The main men – Gayle, Samuels, Bravo – have got to step up and make big runs at the top of the order.
“This game is do or die for both teams. I’m going to back my West Indies, but it is critical that the batsmen step up. I think somewhere between 280 and 300 is required to have a good chance.”
Cuffy fears West Indies may be victims of their own success in the shorter Twenty20 format.
“We have to be able to transfer better from Twenty20 into the 50-over mentality. We are still playing too many balls in the air, we are not rotating the strike and keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
“We’ve been hungry for success for so long that we have been happy to take it in whatever format we can. We may be paying the penalty for that in the other forms of the game.
“Twenty20 is great for the fans and it has brought in so much money to our players, but it comes with a price.”
West Indies face South Africa without first choice wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin, who was suspended for two games after being found guilty of “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game” for claiming a catch which he had dropped in last week’s clash with Pakistan.
In the ninth over of Pakistan’s innings at Edgbaston, Ramdin celebrated catching the opposing captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, off a Kemar Roach delivery, but the on-field umpires called for a review and spotted the ball had slipped from his grasp and hit the ground.
Cuffy said he had no issues with the ban or the fine dished out to Ramdin, who he said had made a “blunder”.
“That was pure stupidity on his part. At that level of the game you have to be conscious of certain things.
“If he wasn’t sure he had taken the catch he should have admitted it. He has to pay the penalty for what he has done.
“I know Ramdin, he is from the same village as me in Trinidad. He is above board and this is obviously something that happened in the heat of the moment, but that is when the professionalism should kick in.”