Adrian Barath calm ahead of maiden tour
Adrian Barath had reason to feel hard done by at not being selected for the tour of England this year, but was not putting too much thought to his impending Test debut. Barath, the promising Trinidad & Tobago batsman from whom much is expected, has had an outstanding regional first-class season (845 runs at an average of 44.47) and looks primed for a Test debut in the upcoming tour of Australia.
There is no third opener in the 15-man squad - Devon Smith and Lendl Simmons haven't been picked - so Barath could well open with Gayle in Brisbane. "I am an opening batsman and I am hoping to partner Chris Gayle if given the opportunity," he told the T&T Express. "I will be looking to give my best and give the West Indies a good start and set up the innings for the middle order, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. My goal is to perform at my best, but the first thing is for me to get into the final XI."
He first came into the spotlight when Brian Lara invited him to watch a few matches against England in 2007, and stayed in the news by scoring a century for West Indies A against England last year. He was then included in the squad for the first home Test against Bangladesh in July but didn't play. During the Champions League in India last month, Barath shone for T&T raking in 106 runs at 35.33 with a strike-rate of 168.25.
There were few nerves as far as the shift from Twenty20 to Test cricket was concerned. "Over the next couple of days I will be doing some batting in the nets and practicing and I will be practising even more when I get to Australia to make sure I am ready for the challenge,' he said.
The contract row that rumbled on for the past few months denied him a possible Test debut against Bangladesh, but Barath was keen to look ahead. "I got selected against Bangladesh this year and I did not play because of the unfortunate situation, but I am glad to see things back to normal, back to the full-strength West Indies team again," he said.
"I think everyone was waiting on that and it is a wonderful feeling for me to have this opportunity again to represent the region. It will be challenging for me playing against Australia, but as a player you will have to face them and this will be the first time for me but, hopefully, I can rise to the challenge and play each ball on its merit."
West Indies will play three Tests in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth before returning for a one-day series in February.