Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 25th 2015 Contents A38
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, December 25, 2015
MELBOURNE---Beleaguered West Indies
will face the ultimate challenge in order to
stay alive in the series when they face a
supremely confident Australia in the his-
toric Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne
Given little chance prior to the start of
the three-Test series, those odds have since
widened following the Caribbean side s poor
showing on the tour, and pundits are already
predicting much of the same when the sec-
ond Test bowls off Saturday.
The tour began in nightmare fashion when
the Windies went down by 10 wickets well
inside four days to a Cricket Australia XI---
a side with an average of 21 and featuring
six players on first class debut.
Captain Jason Holder goes through catch-
ing drills in a training session on Wednesday
as West Indies prepare for the Melbourne
Test. (Photo courtesy WICB Media)
And things grew worse when they suffered
their worst defeat to Australia in 84 years
in the opening Test in Hobart, losing by a
humiliating innings and 212-run margin.
They hardly dominated in the two-day
tour match against a Victoria XI last week
in Geelong as the build-up to the Boxing
Test remained bumpy.
Despite the chaos, however, captain Jason
Holder remained confident West Indies could
dig deep and find the performances necessary
to change the tone of the series.
"I just think we are just one good per-
formance from turning things around. That s
the way you have to look at it, you can t be
negative all the time," Holder told a media
conference on Christmas Eve here.
"We have to find ways to pick ourselves
up. For me, just looking at it, [we could be]
just one good day away from a turnaround.
That s the way I m taking it going forward.
"[It s about] performances. We have to
make runs and we have to take wickets.
When chances come our way in the field
we have to take them. That s as simple as
West Indies did not find the going that
simple in Hobart. They were toothless in
attack as Australia piled up 583 for four with
Adam Voges collecting a double century and
Shaun Marsh a century.
The tourists batting then failed in both
innings as they were bundled out for 223
and 148. Darren Bravo got a hundred in the
first innings and opener Kraigg Brathwaite
hit 94 in the second but their counterparts
Holder conceded the bowling had been a
let-down in Hobart but said the key at the
MCG would be a strong start which would
then have a positive impact on the whole
"If you look at our performances for the
last couple of months our bowlers have been
pulling us through. They ve been bowling
well up to that point," Holder said.
"All throughout in the Caribbean we
played Australia and England, then we went
to Sri Lanka and they did really well there
as well. I just put it down hopefully to one
bad Test match and hopefully we can pull
our socks up."
He added: "We know our body language
probably wasn t the best in the first Test
match, albeit how things went. I think it is
important that we start well. One we start
well, the energy goes throughout.
"We had a really good two days in Geelong
in the practice game which we had and it s
good to see when we start well in terms of
our bowling, the energy filters through the
entire innings. That s one of the things I
really want to stress on in terms of the body
language. Once we do that we have the ener-
gy a lot longer."
What makes the Melbourne contest all
the more significant is that West Indies are
playing their first Boxing Day Test in 15 years.
In the last one, they went down by 352 runs
with a side led by Jimmy Adams.
Marlon Samuels is the only surviving
member from that squad. He was one of
the stand out players in that game, getting
60 not out and 46 in the second innings.
Holder said his side would need no moti-
vating for a game of this magnitude.
"It s a very special occasion. Everybody
knows what we re up against. I remember
walking on the field for the first time when
we got here in Melbourne, it was a really
nice feeling," he said.
"I ve been here before but not to play in
a Boxing Day Test. The majority of the guys
haven t been here before to play in a Boxing
Day Test either. We re all up for it. It s a
wonderful occasion and hopefully we go
Carlos Brathwaite could make his long
awaited Test debut on Boxing Day.
The strapping 27-year-old, a right-arm
pace bowler and a powerful lower order
batsman, has been a part of the West
Indies set-up on recent tours but has failed
to break into the final XI, despite impressive
performances during tour matches.
However, with fast bowler Shannon
Gabriel forced out of the tour with injury
after pulling up lame in the first Test in
Hobart, Brathwaite now seems the likely
replacement ahead of recent call-up Miguel
"We have to look at everything. Carlos
is an all-rounder; Miguel is just an out-
and-out fast bowler," captain Jason Holder
said on Christmas Eve.
"Carlos has been in the squad for a little
while now and he s waiting for his oppor-
tunity, so he s pretty much front line to
go ahead of Miguel. But we ll see how the
Brathwaite scored 47 and 31, and took
two wickets in the four-day tour match
against a Cricket Australia XI which West
Indies lost by ten wickets in Brisbane three
On the tour of Sri Lanka in October, he
struck 54 and followed up with a blistering
113 in the two tour matches.
Earlier this year against the touring Aus-
tralians, he struck an unbeaten half-cen-
tury and grabbed three wickets.
Simmons wants solution
to player absences
MELBOURNE---Head coach Phil Simmons wants
the West Indies Cricket Board needs to find a
solution to the problem of regional players opting
to play Twenty20s instead of international crick-
et.Several players with Test experience are currently
campaigning in the Big Bash League here while
West Indies are clashing with Australia in a three-
Test series, and Simmons said it was "frustrating"
not having these players available to strengthen
"I m totally frustrated," Simmons told media at
the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
"It s enjoyable to see (Andre) Russell bowling at
140 clicks and (Dwayne) Bravo hitting three or four
sixes and Chris (Gayle) in [playing the Big Bash].
"It is frustrating that we don t have them yet
playing in a Test series but it s something that s
been going on for a while.
"It s up to our administration and our bosses to
find out how is the best way that we can get these
guys on the pitch."
Gayle, with 103 Tests to his name and an average
of 42, has not played the longest format for the
Caribbean side in over a year due mainly to injury.
Bravo, meanwhile, an energetic all-rounder,
played the last of his 40 Tests five years ago and
retired from the format earlier this year to focus
on limited overs cricket.
Russell, an explosive 27-year-old all-rounder,
has already said his doggy knees are unable to hold
up to the rigours of the game s longest format.
Former Test captain Darren Sammy and Lendl
Simmons, also currently playing in the Big Bash,
have also both quit Test cricket while leg-spinner
Samuel Badree---another T20 star plying his trade
Down Under---has never played in a Test.
Trinidadian Simmons, who was recently sus-
pended by the WICB for controversially claiming
there was "outside interference" in the selection
of the one-day team for the Sri Lanka series last
month, said there was much to be learned from
the New Zealand example.
"It s up to the administration to work out how
we get to the stage of, let s say New Zealand,
because they have similar things and they are
getting all their players to play," he said.
"And it s up to our administration and our bosses
to find out how is the best way that we can get
these guys on the pitch."
West Indies face Australia in the second Test at
the MCG starting Boxing Day, following their heavy
innings and 212-run defeat in the opening Test in
Hobart a fortnight ago. (CMC)
California company over
LOS ANGELES---CONCACAF is suing a California
company for at least $50 million in an alleged
kickback scheme involving two former executives
of the soccer body.
The Confederation of North, Central America
and the Caribbean Association Football filed a law-
suit Monday in federal court in Los Angeles. It
names Los Angeles area-based Cartan Tours, its
owner, an executive and three related companies.
The lawsuit alleges "a clandestine, kickback-
based and parasitic relationship" between Cartan
and two ex-CONCACAF executives, president Jef-
frey Webb and general secretary Enrique Sanz.
Cartan Tours said Wednesday that the lawsuit
is baseless and it will file its own claims for dam-
Webb has pleaded guilty to federal corruption
charges after his arrest with other FIFA officials
in Switzerland in May. Webb also was a FIFA vice
president and executive committee member.
Ultimate test for WI at MCG
All-rounder Brathwaite in line for debut
Devendra Bishoo during the West Indies
training session at the Melbourne Cricket
Ground yesterday. COURTESY WICB MEDIA
AUSTRALIA---Steve Smith (captain),
David Warner (vc), Scott Boland, Joe
Burns, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon,
Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter
Nevill, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle,
WEST INDIES---Jason Holder (captain),
Kraigg Brathwaite (vc), Devendra
Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos
Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajendra
Chandrika, Miguel Cummins, Shane
Dowrich, Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin,
Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome
Taylor, Jomel Warrican.
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