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Veteran writer and commentator on Caribbean cricket
Trinidad & Tobago Express

West Indies in Bangladesh 2011-12

Simmons and Samuels help West Indies rebuild

Two players who have been in and out of the side have shown patience and maturity to help WI cope with the loss of several seniors

Tony Cozier

October 16, 2011

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Marlon Samuels congratulates Lendl Simmons, Bangladesh v West Indies, 1st ODI, Mirpur, October 13, 2011
Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels put on century stands in the first two ODIs against Bangladesh © Associated Press
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Just as too much can be made of West Indies' successive ODI wins, Thursday and yesterday in Dhaka, it is impossible to downgrade them, as they inevitably and widely will be, as "only" over Bangladesh.

For all their appalling overall record, the Bangladeshis are not utter pushovers at home. Their inconsistency and aversion to fast rib-cage bowling has been their major downfall (such as their 58 all out against West Indies and 78 all out against South Africa in the World Cup). But they beat New Zealand in all four of their ODIs a year ago and have often pushed others hard.

More to the point, these were comprehensive victories by a West Indies team, according to coach Ottis Gibson, "building for the future" around the young brigade. And they represented real spirit in disregarding the disappointment of the last-over defeat in the one-off T20I a few days earlier.

As they were in the Caribbean early in the year, when West Indies came back from losses in their first three ODIs against Pakistan and India to take the last two, the most senior players - Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan - are all missing in Bangladesh. Shivnarine Chanderpaul is present but only for the two Tests.

In their stead, Lendl Simmons, 26, and a West Indies player since 2006, and Marlon Samuels, 30, with 119 ODIs to his name, are the seniors who have set the example and skillfully executed the game plans, never a West Indian strength.

Simmons' two innings have yielded 122 and 80, Samuels 88 and 71. Their second-wicket partnerships, setting up the results, have been 111 and 150. In the past, their inability to assess the state of the game and their inconsistency had repeatedly cost each his place.

It explains why Simmons has had only 31 ODIs in almost five years for West Indies and, Samuels, along with a two-year suspension over his contacts with an Indian bookmaker, 119 in the 11 years since his debut match.

Both built their scores with patience and maturity previously lacking throughout their chequered careers. They appear to appreciate that this is their last chance, and finally understand their roles. They have taken their time to weigh up the bowling. Once settled they have accelerated. It is a refreshing change.

Both built their scores with patience and maturity previously lacking throughout their chequered careers. They appear to appreciate that this is their last chance, and finally understand their roles

Simmons has had a roller-coaster ride along the way. His most recent exit from the team followed his struggles in an ODI series in Australia in early 2010, and lasted a year. Reinstated for the home encounters against Pakistan and India, he dominated the batting in the ODIs only to be dropped again after failures in the Tests.

He has been chosen only for the ODIs in Bangladesh, a premature decision as the three openers picked for the Tests are young and with virtually no experience. Adrian Barath is 21 and, with seven Tests and a hundred on debut, has with him Kraigg Brathwaite (18) and Kieran Powell (21), each with a solitary Test.

With Simmons' form, he will surely be in both squads for the far tougher tour of India that immediately follows.

From the time Samuels was surprisingly summoned to the series in Australia in December 2000, aged 19, he has been as pleasing a strokeplayer as West Indies have had since Brian Lara.

Had he put such natural talent to best use, he would be averaging more than his 29 in Tests and 31.39 in ODIs. The problem was, always too eager to indulge himself, he found silly ways of getting out. In the 2007-08 Tests in South Africa, he was just finding the reliability that is selectors' priority (average 52.33) when his ICC sanction put him on hold for two years.

Once it was served, he scored heavily at both domestic and international level. He is now a crucial piece in Gibson's team-building jigsaw, his recently cleared illegal action providing captain Darren Sammy with an additional offspin option.

Not everything has gone according to plan in Bangladesh, but enough to make it satisfying. If there is a problem it is that Simmons and Samuels have left very little for anyone else.

Tony Cozier has written about and commentated on cricket in the Caribbean for nearly 50 years

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Posted by   on (October 19, 2011, 2:19 GMT)

India is the no.2 in the world so dont comment before knowing your facts and they are world champs

Posted by gottalovetheraindance on (October 18, 2011, 13:58 GMT)

ppl keep on saying that Gayle deserted West Indies to play IPL. Dont they remember that it was the selectors that did not pick him for the team to play vs Pakistan?

Posted by hillviewcricguru on (October 17, 2011, 19:06 GMT)

west indies does not need chris gayle if a player prefers to play for a money making soap opera {ipl} rather than the country in which he grew up that has such a great LEGACY I say drop him you have tremendous talent in simmmons samuels barath kirk edwards and TIGER to guide them why play someone who demands more money for inconsistent performances

Posted by LabMan on (October 17, 2011, 15:26 GMT)

We need to be real and honest with ourselves. Yes we have some experienced players with a lot of talent. But over the past 10ys where have that gotten us? From being the most feared team in the world to being the whipping boys both in tests and ODIs. It this is not a new development this is years of deterioration all the while these "senior players" were the backbone of the team. With the exception of Chanderpaul all we got were lack loster performances. They were more distracted with paychecks and other benefits than representing WI. On too many occasion selectors were forced to choose from a pool of second string players because these "great" players were unavailable. They held our cricket at ransom for too long.

Kudos to Gibson for making a stand and choosing dedicated players who would put WI first. I see real fight and team work now. This breeds confidence and self belief which ultimately will result in Victories.

Go Windies

Posted by myaqoob on (October 17, 2011, 12:38 GMT)

Chris Gayle Patrick Browne Lendl simmons Daren Bravo Shiv Chanderpaul Ramnarash sarwan Marlon Samuels Keiren Pollard Dywane Bravo Davendra Bishoo Jermone Taylor Kemar Roach Andree Russel Fidel Edwards Ravi Rampaul Adrain Barath

Pick team from these players

Posted by   on (October 17, 2011, 5:05 GMT)

The reason many want Chris Gayle in the side, even though WI have lost even when he was in the team, is that HE HAS BECOME A BETTER BATSMAN in the last 1.5 years. Since his debut, he has never been as consistent as he has been in the IPL and CLT20 where he has succeeded in at least 80% of the matches and won so many games by himself. It just pains WI supporters that his great form is being wasted because of these childish fights. And just as important an exclusion is Jerome Taylor, who has started maturing in the last 2 years and he is BEING WASTED again due to political reasons. Fast bowlers are not going to have very prolonged careers and when WI do start considering him, it is quite possible that he has lost his form/pace.

WI will be better off picking any 15 from among these players: Gayle, Barath, Simmons, Sarwan, Samuels, Darren Bravo, Chanderpaul, Kirk Edwards, Nash, Deonarine, Pollard, Russell, Baugh, Ramdin, Taylor, Narine, Bishoo, Benn, Fidel Edwards, Rampaul, Roach.

Posted by maddy20 on (October 17, 2011, 5:00 GMT)

As much as they should enjoy the series win, WI should not get carried away by beating minnows. The should retain their calm and composure during some of the tougher tours in near future such as the Indian tour.

Posted by Tom-T on (October 16, 2011, 22:31 GMT)

World cricket needs a strong WI team. I really hope they can build on these recent successes and get back to fighting for the top end of the world rankings rather than the bottom.

Posted by   on (October 16, 2011, 20:50 GMT)

Why so hard on Sammy & Gibson? WI r winning. We have a group of talented players & a group of talented players can beat any team at any given time. No team will dominate wrld cricket India didn't do it & England wouldn't. The so call big teams will beat WI & WI will beat them trust me. WI problem has been the mental side of their game, hence the inconsistency. Yes we need a solid opener, but if Gayle is not there, we will have to go it without him for now. Our boys r as good as any on the wrld stage today. R u saying that Samuels can't make those runs agst Eng? Or Ravi can't take wickets agst SA. Ramdhin is among the best keepers in wrld cricket. I have seen worse capts than Sammy. Let's support the boys.

Posted by   on (October 16, 2011, 19:57 GMT)

Marlon Samuels could be in top 3 ODI and test bastman within 5 years. He is such a classy player with unbelieveable talent. Now that he is mentally amoured, this should be a plus in confidence and concentration trowards hsi game. I must say that I am pretty disappointed when West Indians would make rediculous comments about the country the players are from. And its funny but is always persons from the same countries who would make such "racist" comments. Come on people. A true west indian would prefer legacy over pride. One carribbean one community.

Posted by   on (October 16, 2011, 19:37 GMT)

i dont buy this mr cozier, as a guyanese we all know what happens.... i will judge windies when they play england, australia, southafrica , NOT INDIA cause india bowling is beyond weak, and the other three teams have good bowling, batting and fielding oh and india cant field too

Posted by Randy_Wilson on (October 16, 2011, 19:32 GMT)

Well it even when we had Gayle and Co in the team We hardly win series consistantly, only team we beat consistantly are Bang and Zim. People blaming the Coach. If he wasnt here, West Indies would still be going t thru a Patch, were he are not winning consistantly, right now cant Belive these young player will Win ever Game, The Senior player hardly win games for WEst Indies, people need to llok at the past of West Indies Cricket, in 1999 West Was rank no 3 in ODI ranking from 2000 - 2004 West Drop to 8th in the world. after 2004 - 2010 We had Gayle and co, they were the MAIN players of that era, yet West Indies Remain no 8 in the world. so now The Coach and Board are trying new things and people bashing them like MAD. seriously you guys dont know West Indies Cricket. I Agree West Indies DO Need At least Gayle and Taylor to be in this team, but the thing is L Simmon would never be back in the Team if Gayle was playing. since Old team was drop we FINALLY seen some new talent in WI.

Posted by   on (October 16, 2011, 18:11 GMT)

It is clear that we are all excited about the recent signs seen in bangladish, but the reality is that the managemnet of WI cricket is the problem. I am happy to see samels and simmons play well. The Gayle account was quite revealing, it was further given creedence when you see very "reserved" players like chanaderpaul speak out of the ills. The board and managemnet must take responsibility for these it is a shame that Chris Gayle is not in the team. I think this issue can really push him to perform at the level that will accelerate the fortunes for the team.

Posted by   on (October 16, 2011, 17:47 GMT)

i dont think after wc i have really seen WI play no gayle really west indies ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????they have talent but dont pick correct team

Posted by WestIndies1987 on (October 16, 2011, 16:42 GMT)

As long as Sammy is the captain and his fellow St. Lucians are running the WICB, West Indies will NEVER, I repeat NEVER be successful again. WI have a lot of talent and they should pick the best team but when Sammy plays, we are playing with 10 men and NOT 11.

Posted by ausaff on (October 16, 2011, 16:21 GMT)

Nice article but plz get gibson out..if u want to move in right direction my 15 for west indies will be 1)gayle2)simmons3)barath4)darren bavo5)dwanyne bravo6)sarwan7)samuals8)ramdin9)bishoo10)edwards11)roach12)taylor13)russel14)naraine 15)rampaul....then u can pick 11 ..plz change the coach

Posted by   on (October 16, 2011, 16:07 GMT)

I wait to see if that is really so, Bangladesh is no India or any other team for one to compare with. We'll see won't we?

Posted by Technical-1 on (October 16, 2011, 15:38 GMT)

Rise to what Top! Beating A Minnow in two ODI'S Mean nothing!

Lets see them do it consistently!

Posted by   on (October 16, 2011, 14:34 GMT)

These two players seem to be getting the mental side of their game in order. Their natural talent was never an issue. A good sign for WI cricket. Samuels said he was into YOGA, that will do the trick for him.

Posted by wifan69 on (October 16, 2011, 14:29 GMT)

I will not compliment them until they play against better team on bouncy pitches..ex australia, england and south africa..until then you guys can give them praises...goodbye and have a good day!

Posted by NBRADEE on (October 16, 2011, 14:17 GMT)

Every single comment here does not take into consideration the lack of consistent performance beyond those noted in the article. Ravi Rampaul, Sammy, Bishoo and Edwards may help keep the Bangladeshis honest, but too much has been asked of them for this year, and it is going to be sooner rather than later when they breakdown, leaving us with Roach and very little otherwise on the bowling unit. The batting is not settled, no matter the potential or the opposition. The silliest coach we have had in a decade is NOT giving players any hope that they will not be treated like Gayle was/is, so why play to your fullest potential, only to lose your spot if you feel disgruntled or upset with management? Ganga's assertion of being in the team too early should be noted in the player management approach for Brathwaite, Barath and Bravo, who seem psychologically disinclined to expose their real potential. No understudy to Ramdin on this tour is really not showing an improved selection approach, too!

Posted by   on (October 16, 2011, 13:18 GMT)

finally some positive comments ; way to go . we don't expect an all conquering team all of a sudden but surely the signa are there .those guys are playing with a purpose. big up the team

Posted by   on (October 16, 2011, 11:22 GMT)

Nice Article Mr.Cozier,I've regularly been following your articles on Cricinfo.Always something positive to read ad-mist all the gloom.2 wins against Bangladesh may seem routine but then guess West Indies are somewhat on the right track to rebuild after all the chaos of 15 years,particularly since it was this same Bangladesh which had beaten them 5-0 2 years back in the Caribbean.Hope to see them compete in India when we host them next month.Had watched Samuels score his maiden tons in 2002/03 in India.Simmons is looking to be a good find for Windies!

Posted by McArthur on (October 16, 2011, 11:21 GMT)

Finally Mr Cozier, a positive article on the West Indies re-building process. Caribbean journalists have for too long been caught up in the negativism surrounding the selection or non-selection of various players and not thoughtfully analyze the progress of the TEAM. Mr. Gibson and the other team architects have clearly stated that they wish to build a team around players committed to the West Indies. It is crucial that some of this brigade (whether young or not so young) hold their hands up and lead by their batting or bowling along with a clear indication of their commitment to the team. Simmons and Samuels are portraying this by the weight of their scoring AND their assessment of the game situation (Simmons' knock yesterday was a great example of this). AND Mr Ganga, please note that like Viv and Gordon, Lara and Chanderpaul and so on, Simmons and Samuels are from different territories but both exhibit the same West Indies flair. Let's hope their can make their mark as well.

Posted by Doubleheader on (October 16, 2011, 11:06 GMT)

"Simmons and Samuels have left very little for anyone else..." And why should they Tony? If you are out in the middle and in form you certainly don't look to the other guys sitting on the bench to get it done. It should be the two batsmen out in the middle responsibility to go on and do the job. On another note, Daren Bravo needs to get his legside game in order. He needs to be able to score off his legs. The batting coach should talk to him about adding the sweep shot to his arsenal. This boy badly needs a legside game if he is to be our future Number 3. Our opening department looks brittle, Adrian Barath seems injury prone. He doesn't seem fit and an opening batsman must be able to bat for long periods.

Posted by smudgeon on (October 16, 2011, 10:48 GMT)

I must say, of the two, Simmons is the one I'd be banking on for the future, though i was impressed with Samuels as well who seems to have matured quite a bit since his, er, "holiday". On paper, though, there's a lot to look forward to in WI's near future. Roach & Bishoo are talented, aggressive bowlers who always look like taking wickets, Bravo and Barath have so much potential (please don't waste it!), and the much-maligned Darren Sammy's bowling & leadership have provided the team with some stability. It remains to be seen how they develop with the relative lack of experienced hands on board (especially when Chanderpaul goes), but I have confidence they are back on the up. While I'm not suggesting they'll roll India in India, they have the potential to push them and it's important for world cricket to have a competitive WI outfit.

Posted by manlid on (October 16, 2011, 10:10 GMT)


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