West Indies in England 2009

Edwards and Benn shine amid the gloom

Andrew Miller

May 19, 2009

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

West Indies marks | England marks


Fidel Edwards celebrates his fifth wicket in typical style, that of Graham Onions, England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, May 7, 2009
Fidel Edwards: blazing speeds, but little support © Getty Images
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Fidel Edwards - 9

An outstanding, if somewhat puzzling, display from the quickest bowler on either side, and maybe even in the world game. At Lord's Edwards' figures of 6 for 92, although magnificent, failed to take into account three dropped catches that could and should have set him up for an eight-for. At Chester-le-Street, he reserved his best and most venomous spell for James Anderson, of all the unlikely targets. Quite why he couldn't rouse himself for more obvious targets, such as Kevin Pietersen, is a mystery. Perhaps he was just fed up at his lack of support.

Sulieman Benn - 7

Cruelly under-rewarded for his efforts. Bowled with attacking intent and cunning varieties, and from a height that had the potential to turn every ball into a hand-grenade. Pietersen certainly didn't enjoy the best of the battle, and he wasn't alone, as the combative cricketer who had taken eight wickets in the Jamaica triumph returned to something approaching his best form. Had fun with the bat as well at times, and wasn't shy in dishing out the verbals either. West Indies could have done with more of his spirit.

Ramnaresh Sarwan - 6

Not quite the superhuman who cracked 626 runs in the previous series, but away from the featherbeds of home, Sarwan still helped himself to his fourth century in six Tests, which was quite some achievement for a man who never got going in his other three innings. His strength through the covers was diminished by the threat of the moving ball, although with the sun on his back on the fourth day at Chester-le-Street he made hay impressively to record West Indies' only hundred of the series. Nevertheless, he was dismissed twice in the same day in both matches, which was something of an unwanted ignominy.

Denesh Ramdin - 6

Caught the eye with two free and easy half-centuries, the second of which, at Durham, had England's bowlers on the run when they thought they were going for the kill. His glovework was still prone to untimely lapses, however, not least the leg-side drop off Alastair Cook that condemned his bowlers to yet another long and fruitless day in the field.

Brendan Nash - 5

Enhanced his credentials with a pugnacious 81 at Lord's, but either side of that innings he was swept away in West Indies' tide of futility. Out-thought at Chester-le-Street, first by a bouncer barrage that made him susceptible to a loose under-edged drive, then by Bresnan's booming swing in the second dig. And then there was his dropped catch at square leg on the first afternoon at Lord's - the error that arguably transformed the momentum of the series.

Chris Gayle - 4

Led by example, which is not meant as a compliment. His late arrival ahead of the Lord's Test set the tone for a hideously forgettable series, and not even his fourth-day fireworks could atone for his divisive comments about the future of Test cricket. He is entitled to his opinion of course, but there's a time and a place for expressing sentiments, and this, sadly, was neither.

Devon Smith - 4

Two starts, two failures, and no surprises. At times in the first Test at Lord's, Smith looked the most accomplished batsman in the side, but then would come the inevitable error, and all his hard work would unravel. He attracted the odd good delivery, it has to be said, not least the Onions yorker at Lord's, but his travails against Swann became the subject of ridicule when Strauss elected to open the bowling with his spinner for West Indies' first innings of the series.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul - 4

Equalled Viv Richards' record of 121 Tests at Chester-le-Street, and overtook his runs tally in the very same game which was a spooky coincidence. But aside from a futile 47 in the follow-on, there was little for the ICC World Player of the Year to cheer. At Lord's he made 0 and 4 as Swann got his number in both innings, and though things improved in the second Test, he found simply being a barnacle wasn't sufficient to get his team back into the contest.

Lendl Simmons - 3

His temperament at times seemed unflappable, which meant that his series haul of 55 runs in four innings was a crushing disappointment. Simmons is unquestionably a name for the future - anyone who can score 282 off an international attack, as he did in St Kitts for West Indies A against England in February - has to be worth investing in. Somehow his returns failed to stack up, but watch this space, he'll get it right soon.

Jerome Taylor - 3

Innocuous and superfluous, and a dreadful shame it was too. What has become of the man who rampaged through Sabina Park back in February? A combination of injuries and ennui seems to have set in ever since, for Taylor's pace was powder-puff at times, not least in a critical first over to Kevin Pietersen in the second Test. Taylor is in need of a long lay-off and recharging of the batteries.

Lionel Baker - 3

Bowled one superb delivery to castle Ravi Bopara, and that was that, really. With a lithe, whippy action that is designed to be repeated, Baker really ought to be a line and length merchant, the steadying influence around which a team can build. Instead no two deliveries ever landed in the same place. Four-balls were only ever a matter of time.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by lethalsHook on (May 20, 2009, 12:30 GMT)

I'm an Australian, with a keen interest in West Indies cricket, Only an hour or two ago I was watching Ricky Ponting speak at a media conference about the up and coming Ashes series in England, he was asked if he was concerned, of how England disposed of the West Indies, considering they lost to the same team only two months ago. With a rye smile, he responded with, "they'll be playing a far more spirited outfit in us, the West indies captain didn't even want to be there with his team, who would want to be a part of that team at the minute". Answer to that, nobody, solution, get rid of Gayle.

Posted by mosbourne1 on (May 20, 2009, 10:27 GMT)

I am disappointed beyond belief, I am a big WI fan I go along to the matches and keep up on cric info where possible when not in attendance. I believe there is a larger problem here the whole WI system where players are not getting paid ontime! Its very poor! The sum total is that one of our best all rounders is playing the IPL instead of being here representing his country. I feel that under the circumstances Chris Gayle possibly wanted to stay and play the IPL rather than come and represent his country. Who can blame him, our WI board is a total shambles!J The people behind the scenes are ruining our game. I thought we had made great steps forward in recent years.Esp with the series win against England at home recently, I was hoping we had turned the corner! But just like Dysons blunder which cost us the one day series,the same problems exist behind the scenes, sort it out WI board of selectors. Pay the players on time what they deserve. This cannot continue any further.

Mj

Posted by MrKricket on (May 19, 2009, 23:20 GMT)

Oh Clive Lloyd, where art thou? To see the Windies humbled so, makes me sad. Not for lack of ability, although they are not a patch on the 80s Windies, but for lack of direction, persistence and grit - that never-say-die attitude that makes average sides punch above their weight that comes from strong leadership and support. Think of Allan Border with his B and C grade sides and how he built them into a winning combination. The Windies have the players - they just need good strong leadership and to lose the attitude.

Posted by WindiesFan on (May 19, 2009, 20:45 GMT)

I certainly didn't think it was all negatives for the WI - take Edwards for example, who was superb throughoutthe series and looked the most menacing bowler on either side. However, the WI Board simply MUST find the backbone to stand up to Gayle and take him at his word. One cannot have your leader openly stating he does not care to lead. Further, he does not even care to play this type of game. WI are not scraping the barrel - they have tunnelled through the bottom of it and fallen beneath the floor boards. Speaking as a West Indian, I do not feel that this Team represents us as a people. Where is the passion? Where is the pride? ...... Where are the men?

Posted by pragmatist on (May 19, 2009, 17:27 GMT)

And for the team effort? A great big round zero. What a shambles. WICB should hang their heads in shame. Chris Gayle needs sacking for the limp way he 'led' this team. And 'injured' Bravo should have been here. So many reasons to criticize this team, feel very sorry for long-suffering windies fans.

Posted by gudolerhum on (May 19, 2009, 13:55 GMT)

Gayle is just following in the footsteps of some other WI players of the past and not so distant past who realised that they can bully the Board and get away with it because of the Board's own weaknes/incompetence. WI cricket has suffered immeasurably as a result. Whether it will revive any time in the near future is very questionable. As long as players like Gayle are allowed to strut and do as they like I expect them to flounder where they are. It is unfortunate for the younger players with talent who want to make something for themselves in the game. They are doomed by the loutish antics of their current captain and the Board. Let's hope Gayle chooses IPL and disappears!

Posted by scritty on (May 19, 2009, 12:07 GMT)

WI have 5 or 6 really good players, but when the captain turns up late saying words to the effect of "I don't really want to play", then what can the rest of the team be expected to do ?

For all his laid back attitude, obvious talents and relaxed people skills, anyone who openly states a desire to be elsewehere should never even make shortlist for captaincy,never mind take to the field.

Chaderpaul Sarwan, Gail, Edwards, Taylor and Benn are as good as their contemporaries anywhere, Ramdin and Nash are certainly better than some 6 or 7's I've seen in the recent past. WI have the talent, but they lack the leadership and drive. That's not just a jibe at Gayle (who was great at Worcs a few years ago when he took over from the sulking/lazy Akhtar), but mainly to the WI board who allow a team to travel under a captain who openly admits that he can't be bothered

It's rare that a series ends with no positives for one side, but for the life of me I can only see negatives for the poor WI

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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