Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 19th 2015 Contents West Indies could
have won the opening
Test versus England but
for mistakes from selec-
tors, captain and play-
ers, and lack of knowl-
edge of how to win. A
creditable draw was a
very good result.
Had WI had a better
fourth front-line bowler,
Devendra Bishoo, from the
Test squad or Veerasammy
Permaul from those orig-
inally called up, instead of
Sulieman Benn or had captain Denesh
Ramdin used his premier bowler, Jerome
Taylor, in more concise spells, then Eng-
land would not have made 399 after
being 34-3 in its first innings.
England did give themselves and WI
a chance, by declaring, but that first
innings saved England.
Ramdin and new head coach Phillip
Simmons should be very proud for the
way their players not only took to new
leadership, but also took England head-
on, with no fear.
Less we forget, WI, described as
"mediocre" by ECB chairman Colin
Graves, was supposed to have been blown
away. Where exactly does that leave Eng-
Graves should have noted one mantra
from late, great, highly respected Aus-
tralian icon, Richard Benaud, known to
all as "Richie", whose loss has been uni-
versally lamented. Richie s mantra, to be
adhered to forever, was: "Put your brain
into gear first before putting your mouth
Having had the honour of completing
many stints of commentary with Richie,
I am quite proud, as not many West Indi-
ans have had that absolute pleasure. He
was simply marvelous
, an excellent,
world-class cricketing all-rounder, pos-
sibly an even better sports journalist and
commentator, a consummate profession-
al.What a cricketing friend. We shall all
miss him dearly!
So, for WI versus England, Simmons
could well be benefiting from efforts of
much maligned past head coach Ottis
Gibson, who, while not being as suc-
cessful as required, certainly started
instilling that necessary aspect into efforts
of most WI players -- discipline.
This phenomenon of successors ben-
efiting from predecessors is not new to
WI either. Sir Frank Worrell is lauded as
being the main architect in achieving
togetherness in WI cricket, circa 1960 s,
but it was his successor as captain Sir
Garfield Sobers, who reaped most of that
team s benefits.
While Sir Frank s team was extremely
popular, they also lost regularly. It was
Sir Gary s team which was noted as world
champions, after beating Australia in
1965, then England in 1966.
Clive Lloyd too did similarly to Sir
Frank when he became WI captain in
Lloyd created, with the help of nucleus
Deryck Murray, Gordon Greenidge, Roy
Fredericks, Alvin Kalli-
charran and Sir Andy
Roberts, a colourful canvas
of superlative, world-
beating, athletic cricketers
not ever seen previously
and not likely to be ever
When Lloyd passed the
captaincy to Sir Vivian
Richards, WI were again
world champions. Sir Viv,
celebrated for not ever los-
ing a Test series as cap-
tain, was handed a team
that was well honed, thoroughly expe-
rienced and knowledgeable, each player
knowing his exact role. Under Sir Viv s
captaincy, WI could not have lost a Test
series even if they tried to do so!
Unfortunately, Simmons and Ramdin
do not have such luxuries, but already
evident is that the two T&T natives seem
to be working from the same page. Real-
istically, WI s Test team needs at least
one additional front-line bowler, probably
two front-line batsmen and with Jason
Holder s excellent achievement of a maid-
en First Class and Test century, perhaps
another similarly producing all-rounder.
Kemar Roach, Taylor, Benn and Holder
will not, collectively, not now, not ever
in the future, put fear into opposing Test
batsmen s heads, even if those four do
Taylor got five good wickets in the first
Test, and should be at his sporting peak
at 30 years old but he averages just three
wickets per Test.
If each bowler in a four-man bowling
attack, as WI has, averages that, then
WI will never dismiss any Test team
twice without six or seven run-outs.
Roach looked under-paced, needing
match-fitness and much work. With past
injuries, perhaps his best is already gone,
but his first Test production was com-
mendable -- five wickets too -- even if,
in the second innings, he lacked pace
and penetration when necessary for a
good second innings effort.
Unsurprisingly, Benn continues to be
poor, being neither frugal nor wicket-
productive. This should be his last hurrah.
Match figures of 53-6-200-2 are not
good enough even for the beach!
Holder is still bowling at way-too-
short lengths. While he gets the ball to
swing or deviate off the pitch, his deliv-
eries mostly miss edges of bats due to
lack of fuller lengths.
Figures of 42-16-132-3 were not
impressive but Holder is young and has
much learning to complete. At least, he
is fast becoming that much needed bowl-
Marlon Samuels delivered more than
25 overs in Test No 1, with only one
wicket to show, suggesting that there is
a dire need for either another functional
front-line all-rounder, a better No 4
bowler or in desperation, a fifth bowler,
for WI to win regularly.
Hopefully, yesterday Simmons had
several relaxing liquid livations for his
52nd birthday, as his captain Ramdin and
his team, did him proud. Enjoy!
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt April 19, 2015
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left, is greeted
as he leaves the
field after the
last day of the
first Test match
that ended in a
draw at the
should be very proud
COLIN EH CROFT
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