Since the start of the World West Indies have been made “to depend” rather that utilize its allrounders. This has diluted the batting and saturated the bowling attack. Today the Caribbean side played Nkruma Bonner, Chris Barnwell and Andre Russell already that’s three allrounders and Sammy has not been mentioned. Dwayne Smith opened the batting in familiar conditions and showed good reason why he was considered for this tour albeit a number of regulars missing. Smith like his opening partner Jonathan Charles proved that they were not just in London on an excursion, as both earned their picks with the bat on a rather flat night from the Caribbean side. The only other name noteworthy of mention was that of Danza Hyatt as his workman like cameo help to propel his team to a respectable total.
Once the English spinners let it rip it was one way traffic for the rest of the evening. Batting at number five Bonner looked the part of a number eleven rather than a recognized batsman. Bonner was the beginning of the allrounders in the batting line up and those who follow, showed why there was need for more depth in the batting. Barnwell like Derwin Christian failed to make an impact like the few innings they have played prior in similar situation. Andre Russell was not given an opportunity to get going as he showed earlier this season. West Indies 125 all out was at least 30 runs short of a total to make a game of this match up.
In the field Sammy lacked vision as his unit looked tame. Wicketkeeper Christian’s failure to collect from outfield throws provide semblance to a club player or a club match, far from the reaches of an international fixture. The bowling attack lacked venom from ball one as 43 percent of deliveries to Alex Hales were short. Sammy’s poor intuition showed as early as the fifth over as he continued with the quickies for an additional two overs thereafter. England had stymied the West Indian run flow with its spin twin of Swann and Patel to leave Ravi Bopara to clean up shop. The order of the day had already been decided by the time emerging player of the year Devendra Bishoo began to beat the bat. From the other end Bonner was short and never threatened Hales or Kieswetter.
Sammy and co have a day’s rest to contemplate and plan for a more aggressive and purposeful showing on Sunday. The expectations would be that Smith, Charles and Hyatt continue where they left off. But for the rest of the squad much meditation would be necessary. Marlon Samuels need to regain the form that made him the under study of Steve Waugh, form that he has shown earlier this season however they have come in spurts. To Otis Gibson, Santokie may be his best kept secret on tour and has done more that enough with the ball to earn his first cap. So, too Miles Bascombe should be eager to make use of the opportunities within his reach as this team is in dire need of batting depth. That would mean Bonner and Fidel Edwards making way.
In retrospect Chesney Hughes would have been a clever selection on this tour with two seasons in county cricket opening the bat as well as his slow left arm bowling. That may provide insight as to how much attention the selectors are paying to our oversees professionals. But only time will tell as to the vision the the managers of West Indian cricket.
We looked forward to a more competitive affair in the clincher of the English summer as the Windies move on to the sub continent with more familiar faces to battle the tigers.