Times have been very painful for West Indies fans in recent times, and experienced players have had to be replaced by rookies as the selectors look to the future. The players mentioned in this article are the ones that are most likely to feature against Bangladesh in the upcoming series.
The West Indian batting is exciting and extremely unpredictable. The line-up is full of exciting stroke makers with faulty techniques. The recent series against England was a prime example of their inconsistency, as they failed for most of the series and then suddenly came up with 750/5 declared in the 4th test. Below is a summary of the West Indian batsman:
Gayle can be an extremely destructive hitter when he gets going, but unfortunately for West Indies fans this does not happen very often. A batting average of 35 certainly does not do justice to his talent. He is what most people would call a typical West Indian player, who hardly moves his feet into position, but backs his talent to enable him to dispatch balls to the boundary. As he does not move his feet very much, he is prone to being dismissed lbw by right-handed medium pacers who can swing the ball into the left-handers. The Bangladesh certainly should not bowl with any width to this man, or we could see another 90 ball hundred such as the one he scored at Newlands last year.
A young left-handed opening batsman from Grenada, Smith is one of the bright young hopes of West Indian cricket. He struggled in his first series against Australia, but came back in the series against England to score his maiden test century on an extremely hazardous batting surface. Unfortunately he broke his finger in the nets and has been on the sidelines ever since. He is similar to Gayle in that he does not move his feet very much, and therefore he is also liable to get out either bowled or lbw to the ball swinging back into him. He can score very quickly when he gets going, so it is very important to get him out before he gets used to how the pitch is playing.
Recently appointed the Vice Captain of the side, Sarwan is a classy right-hander who tends to make batting look very easy. He scored his maiden century against Bangladesh in 2002, and has been a much more consistent player since then. He averages 38 at the moment after a mediocre performance against England, but it is thought that he can only improve and truly become a world-class player. However, he has recently developed a habit of shuffling too far across his crease, and has been dismissed lbw in 7 of his last 10 innings. So the Bangladesh? medium pacers should keep bowling straight to him, and they will probably get their reward.
I?m sure that all Bangladesh fans will know about the talents of this man! He regained his World Record score in his last test, and now needs only 350 runs to reach the magic milestone of 10,000 runs in test cricket. He has become a much more consistent batsman in the latter part of his career, and his average has now moved up to 53 runs per test innings. He has a weakness against short pitch bowling as he sometimes takes his eye off the ball, and bowlers can get him to edge to the slips if the slant the ball across him often enough. It is certainly not a good idea to bowl spinners to Lara, as he has a penchant for hitting them out of the park, especially as the grounds in the Caribbean are very small.
He has perhaps been West Indies most reliable batsman over the years, as his test average of 43 proves. He is famous for his ?crab like technique? that involves shuffling in front of the stumps and working the ball onto the legside. He is a very good player of short pitched bowling and he plays a lot of fantastic hook shots. He is also a very good player of spin, especially left armers who spin the ball into him. When he gets going he can score very quickly, and he has a century from just 69 balls to his name against the mighty Australians. He is another player who is susceptible to the ball swinging into him, especially early in his innings. He did not have a particularly good tour of Bangladesh in 2002, where he struggled against the medium pacers.
It is touch and go as to whether Hinds will still be in the side by the time the first test starts. He is an elegant left-hander who seems to find batting very easy, but manages to get himself out in a number of stupid ways. He consistently gets to 30 runs or more and throws his wicket away. This has meant that he only has one first class century to his name, and time is running out for him to prove himself. He does not really have many weaknesses that stand out, but the bowlers just have to be patient and he will almost always get himself out.
A faithful servant of West Indies cricket, Ridley is now 36 years old. He is still in the side because there are no obvious candidates to replace him. He is a pretty good performer at test level, averaging 28 with the bat, to go with his 200 test match dismissals. He is a powerful man who loves hitting the ball through the offside, and also loves flicking the ball through midwicket. He has a definite weakness against short bowling, so it is very important that the tallest bowler in the Bangladesh team bowls short and at his body.
Bangladesh will almost certainly be facing an all pace attack, as West Indians do not believe in spinners, and there is nobody in the Caribbean who is good enough to earn a place in the side primarily as a spinner. The bowling was very impressive against England, and they seem to be bowling more as a unit now that 4 bajans make up the attack. Below is a summary of the fast bowlers most likely to feature against Bangladesh:
Pedro is a left arm medium fast bowler who has bounced back after a disappointing start to his international career. He has now developed a dangerous inswinger to the right-handed batsman, and it was a delivery that the England batsman found very hard to pick. He is a vastly improved bowler now, and he is expected to cause Bangladesh a lot of problems, as he took his maiden 5 wicket haul against them in 2002 when he did not have this new delivery. Pedro is not very quick, he only bowls between 78 and 85 mph, so the way to combat his new delivery is for the batsman to consistently lunge forward onto the front foot.
Fidel is Pedro Collins? half brother, but is a completely different type of bowler. He has a slingy action that a lot of people have compared to Jeoff Thomson, he is one of the 3 quickest bowlers in the World according to South African captain Graeme Smith, and the speed gun backs this opinion up, as his quickest delivery was timed at 97.7 mph. His main delivery is an outswinger which proves very effective when the conditions are favourable. Fidel?s action causes him to get injured frequently as it puts a lot of stress on his back, and it caused him to miss the 2nd test against England.
Tino is an all action type of bowler, who makes things happen for the West Indies when the game is just meandering along. He is a genuinely quick bowler, and almost every delivery he bowls is between 88 and 93 mph. I think he could be the biggest threat to Bangladesh as he has a deadly bouncer, and the Bangladesh batsman have shown in the past that they do not enjoy facing short pitched bowling. He does have some weaknesses that can be exploited though; He is very aggressive by nature, and sometimes bowls too short and wide when he gets carried away, so it is not a bad idea for the batsman to have words with him when he tries to stare them down. Tino is an interesting character and he is fun to watch as he makes things happen, so I am sure Bangladesh fans will enjoy watching him bowl over the next month or so.
Collymore is basically an accurate medium pacer who keeps it tight while Best and Edwards charge in and bowl as fast as they can. He is not very threatening and does not take many wickets, but he does not concede many runs. His main strength is that he keeps the seam upright all the time, and so always get a little bit of movement off the track, even if it is as flat as a pancake.
Leonard George, the author of this article, is a West Indian fan originally from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, who now lives in the UK. He has been a long time member of banglacricket.com - editors.