Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 4th 2015 Contents A39
January 4, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
West Indies Test skipper and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, right, getting some practice
West Indies 22-year-old batsman Kraigg Clairmonte Brathwaite, right.
In South Africa, Chairman of
West Indies selectors Clive Lloyd
had an interesting 3rd Test preview
interview with ESPN-CRICINFO s
Firdose Moonda, confirming what
most have known for some time:
"West Indies has young talent
who want to do well in Test cricket,
not just in T-20 s. Kraigg Brathwaite
is a good thinker, getting better all
the time, mature for his age, a very
intelligent cricketer," said Lloyd.
Having had an excellent 2014,
clear-minded and generally steadfast
when most around him had been
stagnant, even decimated, that
endorsement translates to the pos-
sibility, likely to become reality, that
Kraigg Clairmonte Brathwaite, 22
year old Barbadian opening batsman,
will be WI s next Test captain.
With Brathwaite, Marlon Samuels
and Shiv Chanderpaul the only
sureties in WI s Test batting line-
ups, plus captain Denesh Ramdin,
there is nothing wrong with that
thought. It may happen sooner than
many think, given Lloyd s and West
Indies Cricket Board s perceived
plans for WI s cricket future.
Great cricket attitude
Brathwaite and Graeme Craig
Smith, recently retired SA captain,
both compare and contrast well in
terms of sensible cricketing attitudes,
not just in colloquial comparisons
of one of their Christian names!
Smith, of course left-handed to
Brathwaite s right-handedness, then
also aged only 22, replaced Shaun
Pollock as SA s Test captain, April
2003, for a series v Bangladesh, in
his---Smith s---ninth Test, only thir-
teen months after making a second
innings half-century, v Australia, on
Test debut, March 2002.
SA had decided then to invest in
Smith s youth and the country s
future cricketing hopes, after yet
another embarrassing failure at ICC
Cricket World Cup 2003, played,
ironically, in South Africa.
Do not be surprised if WI cricket
does similarly for its Test team after
ICC CWC 2015 ends.
Wagers are already out that Brath-
waite will become next WI s Test
captain, whenever the change hap-
pens! Debuted in 2011, Brathwaite
has already played sixteen Tests to
date. As tall as Smith but slimmer
built, more defensively minded,
Brathwaite normally effects longevity
at the crease with his style, an un-
West Indian characteristic that WI s
Test batting line-ups need.
His experiences have been tough,
orchestrated to his expected long
tenure, given that eight of his bud-
ding international Test career have
been in losing efforts!
Similarities in talent
Smith s cricket career had been
simply spectacular. Despite SA being
rated No 1 in Tests, the only, but
massive, omission from his mantle-
piece is that SA has never won a
major world cricketing championship
under his leadership.
Like Chris Gayle, big and tall for
an opening batsman, Smith played
with tremendous aggression and
power, trying to blitz and destroy
opposing bowlers with presence and
confidence at the crease.
Had Smith not played cricket, he
could have been a great rugby player
or heavyweight boxer!
200 v Bangladesh in his 3rd Test,
151 v Pakistan in his 8th, Smith
played 117 Tests, 9265 runs, avg
48.25; 12,916 runs in First Class
cricket; plus 230 ODI s and T-20 s
combined, a magnificent career for
an opening batsman targeted by the
world s best and fastest bowers,
especially those of Australia, Pak-
istan, India and England.
Brathwaite s Test career, prior to
No 3 v SA; 1116 runs, avg 39.85;
augurs well, and could eventually
include over 150 Tests, possibly chal-
lenging Chanderpaul s record, to
date; 160 Tests.
Brathwaite s first Test half century,
also v Bangladesh, came in his third
Test. His first Test hundred, 129 v
New Zealand, came in his eleventh
Test; Queens Park Oval, Trinidad &
Tobago, last year.
701 runs in 2014, avg 78.00, his
biggest innings was 212 v Bangladesh
in St Vincent, last June, followed by
year-ending 106 v SA at Port Eliz-
abeth, an innings so mature, with
an appreciation of game situations
at hand, that Lloyd felt compelled
to offer imaginations of Brathwaite s
and WI s future captaincy.
Ramdins keepinmg skills
Lloyd, who recently explained
Jason Holder s ascendancy to WI s
ODI captaincy, has also inadvertently
put some pressure on WI Test cap-
tain Ramdin, whose wicket-keeping
skills are still adequate without being
spectacular. Ramdin s run-getting,
though, in these days of ultra-pro-
ductive wicket-keeper-batsmen, ala
Australia s Adam Gilchrist and just
retired-from-Tests Indian captain
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, must
improve considerably in 2015, or he
will be replaced by one of WI s future
63 Tests so far producing only
2457 runs, poor avg 26.70, Ramdin,
not having made even a single half-
century in seven Tests in 2014, has
been under the batting kosh , aver-
aging a meagre 22.20 last year.
His tenure as WI captain will come
under greater scrutiny unless he can
both inspire his team as captain and
produce as batsman. Fortunately,
Ramdin has reacted favorably in his
first innings for 2015; 53!
CWC 2015, WI will have two Test
power-houses touring the Caribbean
afterwards; England for three Tests
in Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada and
Barbados, while Australia will play
in Dominica and Jamaica, ample
opportunities for Ramdin to continue
to show his batting prowess.
If Ramdin continues his run pro-
ductivity, after that half century, all
will be well with him. If his 2014
form returns, expect more changes,
including WI s Test captaincy going
to Brathwaite in 2015.
'Kraigg Brathwaite---Possible new
West Indies Test captain in 2015 too!'
South Africa batsman Graeme Smith plays with a straight bat.
COLIN EH CROFT
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