Bangladesh v West Indies, 2nd Test, Mirpur, 5th day November 2, 2011

West Indies' youngsters come of age

The time invested in the likes of Devendra Bishoo, Kirk Edwards, Kraigg Brathwaite, Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo, that they were given the space to do their own thing, has paid off for West Indies
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West Indies have won a Test series away from home for the first time in eight years, the previous occasion being the heart-stopping 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in 2003. After several upheavals, changes in leadership, player strikes, suspensions and a dearth of trophies, it fell to a young team to give Caribbean cricket a rare sniff of success.

Of course, the 229-run win in Mirpur left captain Darren Sammy pleased no end. "The positives from this tour have to be the way the batsmen went about their business. Not just putting the runs on the board, but also spending time at the crease," he said. "It feels really good to win. We left home hoping to play well, we achieved our goal. We always knew we were in for a challenge, with the way Shakib [Al Hasan] and Tamim [Iqbal] batted especially."

The discipline displayed by the bowlers, said Sammy, had a major bearing on Bangladesh's batsmen playing rash shots that brought about their downfall. "In the first innings we didn't concede any extras. I don't recall this ever happening before. That shows the discipline in the bowling unit."

Devendra Bishoo, the ICC's Emerging Player of the Year who picked up his first five-for in Test cricket in Mirpur, heaped praise on his captain and support staff. "When I started off, I was not bowling that well," he said. "The coaching staff and skipper just told me to believe in myself, to do what I knew best. I just had to vary my pace and just be containing."

It worked for Bishoo, and for the team. The time invested in the likes of Bishoo, Kirk Edwards, Kraigg Brathwaite, Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo, that they were given the space to do their own thing, has paid off. Now, slowly, they seem to be growing comfortable with their role in the team at the game's highest level.

A series win over Bangladesh wouldn't have sounded too flash in the last decade, but with their inexperienced top-order and a thin bowling attack, West Indies were always facing a tricky battle against Bangladesh, in conditions that heavily favoured the hosts. The youngsters, though, responded adequately. Following a drawn Test series with Pakistan, they impressed in a lost cause against India before coming to Bangladesh, a team they had lost to in 2009.

Simmons led the way with his twin successes in the one-day series, with a little help from the experienced Marlon Samuels and Ravi Rampaul, and a burst of wickets from Kemar Roach in the second ODI. Bangladesh succumbed to their own follies, but one had to applaud the way Simmons efficiently anchored both the limited-overs games in Dhaka. After the blip in Chittagong - where West Indies were shot out for 61 in the third ODI and lorded over for most part of the Test - the opening partnership in Mirpur between 18-year-old Brathwaite and Kieran Powell, a last-minute replacement for Simmons, set the tone for what turned out to be a fine Test win.

Edwards built on the platform with a proper No. 3 innings; he held the innings together and strung together a series of small stands as he reached his second Test century in only his third game. Brathwaite had batted to a plan as well, occupying the crease for as long as possible and giving the more attacking Powell a chance to open up his shoulders.

Darren Bravo, whose batting style has often been compared to that of Brian Lara, too, came of age in this series. The pressure was on him, with cynics claiming that it was only the mannerisms of Lara that could be found in him, that the comparison ended there. He responded with a knock of 195 in the second innings that set up the big win, with some of his shots - especially the lofted drive down the ground - showing us just why the comparison with the legend was made in the first place.

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • linjean on November 4, 2011, 14:56 GMT

    For all persons who are on Sammy's case here are some things of note:

    1. Among the top 100 test bowlers he is ranked 29th. Among West Indies bowlers he is number 3 behind Edwards and Taylor. 2. Among the top 100 ODI bowlers, he is ranked 34th. Among West Indies bowlers he is number 2 behind Rampaul. 3. Among top 100 T20 bowlers, he is ranked 8th. Among West Indies bowlers he is number 1. 4. Out of 18 Test matches, he has taken 50 wkts, bowling avg. is 29.20 and economy rate of 2.63. Compare that to Fidel Edwards who played 48 matches, 148 wkts, avg of 36.48, econ rate of 3.94. this means that if sammy had played as many matches as Fidel, he would have picked up more wickets at a better avg, a better strike rate and economy rate.

    Please, lets not just speak because of emotions. Let the stats speak for its self. Sammy is one of the best bowlers in this WI squad. Though I would have liked him to be a shade quicker.

  • dummy4fb on November 4, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    The ideal situation would be Fidel, Roach, Ravi, Bishoo,& Samuels, but that can't be, we have Sammy. This is what the Sammy factor does. He contains, he ties up 1 end, he draws batters into a false sense of security, he allows u to attack at the other end. Make no mistake Sammy is a good bowler( check record), he gets crucial wks at critical times. And his bowling is vital in the shorter versions of the game. Our attack is quite adequate, once properly utilized. Regarding our spin attack remember u don't take sand to the beach,Shane,Bishoo & Samuels r just fine.

  • dummy4fb on November 4, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    Marlon Samuels is the best batsmen in the current squad let him to play at no 3 or 4 to spend more time at crease

  • bigrishi on November 4, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    congrats windies.....having said that it is important to put this win in context. this is bangladesh, ranked below us. not so long ago this series would have been considered a warmup for the series against india. i have no problems with the players, but the best side should be playing. i think that the wicb should realize that the game is bigger than the player, even that the game is bigger by far than the individuals concerned with cricket. by statistics sammy deserves a play, but so does gayle...

  • PaddyRasta on November 4, 2011, 2:28 GMT

    @cricchic Please suggest a true allrounder and do not say Dwayne Bravo - I have nothing against the man but let's face it, he has been woefully out of form. In the recent 50 over regional comp he averaged 16 with the bat and did not bowl. Russell may develop into one but he isn't really at Test level yet. The cupboard is bare. Sammy is there as a specialist bowler - end of story. And he brings much needed leadership, work ethic and motivation and gels these talented players together as a Team. No disrespect to them, but this is something Gayle, Sarwan, Lara etc did not achieve. it is not an ideal situation but there's no point complaining without suggestions of a viable solution or alternative for allrounder or captain.

  • Metman on November 3, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    @Ryan Ramdin !Why are you so negative man?Is it because WI won the match with only one trini on the team ? If my memory serves me correct,didn't we beat England without any trinis as well ? John Duch was absolutely correct when he said you trinis want WI to do bad under Sammy !My prediction has come to pass !The WI needed Bajan stability at the top , a Bajan fast bowler firing in the bowling attack,and a Guyanese spinner taking wickets.As I keep saying,and as Garner said,Roach needs to be more agressive.He again appears to be just running in,and bowling.The WI need Edwards,Roach and Taylor as their pacemen,and Barath,and either Brathwaite or Powell as the openers.

  • todobless on November 3, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    1)Simmons, 2)Gayle, 3)Kirk 4)Bravo, 5)Chanders, 6)Samuels, 7)Dwayne/Russell/Pollard 8)Ramdin/Baugh, 9)Bishoo, 10)Rampaul, 11)Edwards. 12)Narine 13)one of the all-rounders...14)/Roach 15)Barrath.

  • Alexei on November 3, 2011, 21:42 GMT

    I would just like t point out at this time tht Gayle as captain is the best thing for the team. The only reason why the WICB doesnt want him to be captain is bcuz he is outspoken (they made their displeasure known at him being named captain of the Jamaica team) He is the best captain WI have had for some time now and the stats will show his performaces have been lifted since appointed captain. Under his leadership we have pulled out impressive victories. No one would have expected that 1-0 series win against a team of England's calibre..and we did well to hold on to that win. When Gayle is named captaincy once again, then u will see maximum performances from thside. Also, i would like to say, Sammy's stats merits his place in the team as he has the best average and S/R ..its just his batting needs to start firing and everyone will be off his back.

  • cricfan62084556 on November 3, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    Response to Ryan Ramdin. How does one get experience? The WI team might indeed have boys, but in time they will grow to be men. Garfield Sobers, Richards, Marshall, Roberts, Lara, et al, all started just like the present crop started. As the great Clive Llyod said, they are 15-20 young cricketers that are going to be the future of WI cricket and will go on to do great things. It does not happen overnight. With the right guidance and the right mindset, WI cricket will gradually get better. I believe, Gibson and company are moving the team in that direction.

  • IPSY on November 3, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    "After several upheavals, changes in leadership, .....it fell to a young team to give Caribbean cricket a rare sniff of success" (Isam, M.2011). I think a quotation like this in this article only helps to insult the intelligence of the knowledgeable cricketing public, as it relates to the real situation in WI cricket in recent times! I'm almost sure the whole world knows that the turmoil in WI cricket in the past decade and a half, still very much exists; but these freak wins come occasionally - It has nothing to do with any changes in personnel, as the writer seems to want to suggest. In fact, the last time WI won a creditable series was under Chris Gayle in 2009, against England, the world's current No.1 team. But that said year, when Bangladesh toured WI and Gayle was absent and Sammy played, Bangladesh whitewashed WI 2 games to nil. But on their last tour to Bangladesh, when Sammy was absent and Gayle played, WI white-washed Bangladesh 2 games to nil. Hence, just a usual rare win!

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