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ESPNcricinfo runs the rule over the West Indies players who faced England
June 12, 2012
Features : West Indies can feed off Best
Report : Best's great day brings West Indies cheer
Mark Nicholas : Joyful Tino produces day to remember
Players/Officials: Tino Best | Darren Bravo | Denesh Ramdin | Kemar Roach | Darren Sammy | Marlon Samuels
Series/Tournaments: West Indies tour of England
Teams: West Indies
Cool and detached was the façade, but behind that cloak brewed a strong spirit that wanted to make a point - not to anyone else but himself, that he is the best. Samuels had come straight from the IPL, but swiftly made the transition, applying himself and working hard in the nets to succeed in English conditions. He made runs, got motivated by locking horns verbally with a frustrated England bowling attack, remained the spine of a weak West Indies batting order and finished as the highest run-maker. And with the specialist spinner unable to make an impact, Samuels even turned his arm over nicely to pick some useful wickets.
Kevin Pietersen called Best an entertainer after Best treated the smattering of Edgbaston faithful on an otherwise drab Sunday to one of most memorable knocks by a No. 11. It was extraordinary because Best, who had a batting average of 9.86 before, played deftly with a straight bat before falling down five runs short of becoming the first No.11 in Test cricket history to score a century. He remained aggressive with new ball in hand, picking up two good wickets. With his effervescent smile and bravado, Best made cricket a joy to watch.
Twice at Lord's he came close to again putting his name on the honours board. But he faltered at crucial moments and England quickly grabbed the controls. Chanderpaul seemed disoriented at Trent Bridge and then got sidelined by a side strain in the final Test. The world's top-ranked Test batsman would have set his sights on bigger things and returns without a century in England for the fourth time.
The question about if he deserves a place in the Test team will never leave Sammy. But he is a leader of men and works hard. His century in the second innings at Trent Bridge made him sit and realise that he could be a handy lower-order batsman if he continues to work hard and not play reckless strokes, which he did at vital junctures. As for his bowling, Sammy will keep coming back and surprising batsmen with the odd movement but is not quite a third seamer.
Michael Holding was furious that Roach played in the four-day tour match against England Lions days before the first Test and felt it was unjust to put so much workload on him after he played a full series at home against Australia in March and April. Holding was proved right when Roach was forced to return home due to shin injury after the second Test. But in the time he was fit, Roach lit up the series with some fierce spells of fast bowling especially when he cut Jonny Bairstow in two during his debut innings and then gave England a scare with three quick wickets early into their chase of a small target at Lord's.
Ramdin will be remembered for the statement against Viv Richards. If he had kept quiet, people would have noted this was his best series where he doubled his average, mainly because of his second Test century, which was built with the right mixture of application and drive, something West Indies need in the middle order desperately to raise big totals.
He sprained his neck before Lord's and was sorely missed especially as a good support for Roach, When he returned Rampaul was the best bowler for the visitors in the second Test and got Alastair Cook easily for the second time at Edgbaston.
Made his debut at Lord's but bowled within himself and handled the slope nicely. A strongly-built man, Gabriel bounded in with a smooth action and got enough bounce to keep the batsmen in check. Among his victims was the prized scalp of Pietersen in the second innings but a stress reaction in his back ruled him out of the rest of the tour. If looked after well, Gabriel has the potential to be a good work horse in the long run.
Talented, but lacks endurance. He did work hard to leave many balls alone in the first hour and even survived a session twice (in the first innings at Lord's and Edgbaston) only to chase a ball that he had ignored all morning.
Played some sumptuous off drives but like couldn't resist temptations, making him an easy scalp for the bowlers who stuck to the off stump. Was given a few lessons in Test cricket by James Anderson.
Landed in England as a man of mystery and was brought on against the two of the best batsmen of spin: Pietersen and Ian Bell. The pair effortlessly picked Narine from the hand. It remains far too early to make judgements but Narine will have understood that Test cricket will either make him a better spinner if he was willing to learn, or easily discard him to the bin of the spinners who had started with the mystery ball only to be exposed quickly.
After replacing Kirk Edwards he started on a promising note, showed the grit West Indies need at the top, but then got stuck in muddled thoughts and was bounced out by Tim Bresnan.
The biggest disappointment of the trip. Bravo was touted to be the most equipped to prosper in England. But he flattered to deceive. In the first innings at Lord's he started off smoothly before Chanderpaul ran him out, but thereafter he kept getting out against deliveries he should left alone. Returning without a half century against the world No. 1 team will hurt his pride
Some might argue he should not be given any mark at all. Appointed the vice-captain, Edwards was expected to lay the bricks for the middle-order to build on. Instead he finished the series as the drinks carrier as his technique against the new ball was completely exposed following 20 runs on the entire tour.
He began by saying he could not grip the ball at Lord's and would rather sit out in the cold weather. When he played a week later at Trent Bridge and finished as the most expensive bowler on both sides. The reasons were many: unfriendly pitches, cold conditions and good opponents. Still Shillingford, who had taken a 10-wicket match haul against Australia at home, should have shown more discipline.
He had retained his spot in the squad after a decent all-round performance against Australia at home. He got lucky and found a berth when Chanderpaul pulled out in the final Test, but lasted just 29 deliveries before chasing an angled delivery from Graham Onions.
Edwards is one of the most maverick characters in West Indies camp. He had a seven-wicket haul on his previous tour of England and should have ideally been the leader of the pack. Instead an inconsistent performance at Lord's forced the team management to drop him for the final two Tests and confined him to the dressing where he quietly watched his team-mates toil hard.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Nagraj Gollapudi
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