May 26, 2012

West Indies in England 2012

Young West Indies batsmen need help

Andrew McGlashan

Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy led a stirring West Indies fightback at Trent Bridge, but they had to bail the team out of a familiar hole as the top order failed again. In the Daily Telegraph, Scyld Berry says that it will continue to be the case until the administration in the Caribbean sorts itself out.

Domestic cricket in the Caribbean does not prepare new batsmen. They have only six first-class matches per season, unless their team reach the semi-finals, in which case they have seven, or eight with a final. This isn’t enough, for quantity never mind quality. Nobody in last season’s domestic first-class competition scored 600 runs; only one batsman scored more than one century, Assad Fudadin, a reserve batsman on this tour, who made two.

Before Samuels and Sammy got going, England's bowlers were on top, with even Graeme Swann getting amongst the wickets. His dismissal of Shivnarine Chanderpaul was his first success in Tests in his third appearance at Trent Bridge, though former England spinner Vic Marks noted in The Guardian that others have had to wait longer:

In terms of balls bowled Swann's wait for his wicket at Trent Bridge pales into significance compared with other Test match toilers. When Chanderpaul was lbw it was the 147th delivery that Swann had propelled here. The Australian, George Tribe, endured greater frustration; he bowled 592 deliveries without taking a wicket at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

More recently Phil Tufnell was required to be at his most philosophical at the Recreation Ground in Antigua, where he bowled 480 wicketless balls over two Tests, many of which were at Brian Lara. What happened next, Phil? Lara hit another boundary. The right answer.

In the Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain wondered whether Trent Bridge's reputation for assisting swing bowling had been overstated, despite England's early successes:

We had all talked beforehand about swing at Trent Bridge but, for whatever reason, there really wasn't much of it about - and when Jimmy Anderson doesn't swing the ball you know that conditions cannot be conducive to it.

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Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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