March 30, 2000

West Indies: Batting worry

Kingston - The chairman of selectors is elated over the 2-0 triumph and encouraged by the new spirit evident in the West Indies team.

But he is still 'very concerned' over the failure of the batting.

'After New Zealand, we needed to win over Zimbabwe,' Michael Findlay said yesterday.

'No, we badly needed to win over Zimbabwe.

'It may not have been as convincing as we would have hoped but it was still a victory in both Tests and that is always the bottom line,' he added.

On the way to the bottom line, there were a succession of worrying figures - 187 and 147, the totals in the first Test, 171 for seven, the first innings crisis in the second before new captain Jimmy Adams and Franklyn Rose added their record 147, and the number of batsmen who passed 50.

The fact that the opposition attack included only one bowler with more than 100 Test wickets to his name, Heath Streak, and that he wasn't able to bowl a ball in the second Test because of a back injury merely accentuates the problem.

'The batting has been the worry for some time now and it remained so in this series,' Findlay observed.

'I know The Management team is working very hard on it, but it is a matter of confidence and being able to cope with pressure as much as anything.

'We had some young and very inexperienced batsmen in this team and it will take a little time for them to come to terms with the pressure,' he said.

Their lack of confidence was reflected in an average scoring rate over the two Tests of2.24 runs an over.

Perhaps the limited-overs series that starts on Saturday, in which batting urgency is mandatory, will lift the load off their minds and allow them more freedom to express themselves - as Adrian Griffith did so emphatically on Tuesday morning.

Although Findlay did not mention it, Brian Lara's absence was clearly felt.

No team, especially one with such limited batting resources, can adequately compensate for the loss of a player of such exceptional quality.

For Findlay, the most pleasing aspect of the performance was the team spirit.

'There was a different body language on the field,' he noted.

'We saw a fighting spirit that had been absent and that got us out of some tight situations. That is very important.'