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Barath's promise hobbled by injury and rashness

Injuries apart, Adrian Barath has failed to live up to expectations mostly because of poor judgement on the field

Garth Wattley

April 15, 2012

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Adrian Barath plays the top-edged hook that brought his downfall, West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Barbados, 1st day, April, 7, 2012
The top-edged hook that dismissed Barath in the first innings in Barbados © AFP
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It was a long - longer than expected - day in the field last Tuesday for Adrian Barath. Australia's tail-end batsmen stayed out in the middle at the Kensington Oval much longer than he and his team-mates had expected. Michael Clarke's declaration after last pair Ryan Harris and Nathan Lyon had pushed the total past 400 may not have been the most likely scenario in Barath's thinking.

Whatever his mental state as he and Kraigg Brathwaite went out to begin the West Indies second innings, clearly mind and body were not in sync. The little man's feet didn't move well enough as he drove at Ben Hilfenhaus and played the ball onto his stumps. The sound and sight of ball hitting stumps, bails falling to the ground and jubilant Australians running around must have been sickening for Barath. Dejected, his walk back to the Garry Sobers Pavilion, however, was just the beginning of his unease.

For the rest of the afternoon, as Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and, just before the end of the fourth day, Darren Bravo, joined him in discomfited silence in the dressing room, Barath might have reflected on the Pandora's box his early departure had opened for West Indies. That box would not be closed, not at least until Hilfenhaus and Harris, chief architects of Australia's fourth-day turnaround, had snatched victory on the fifth while the light was poised to fade away at the Kensington.

There was no disgrace in this defeat by three wickets for Darren Sammy's team. But for Barath, uncomfortable questions must have come up. His contributions in the game must be personally disappointing, galling even.

In the first innings, he cut himself short on 22, going after a Harris bumper with a hook shot he couldn't control. In between that effort and his brief second-innings stay, he also struggled to stay on the field because of thigh muscle trouble. In microcosm, Kensington 2012 summed up Barath's career to date - promise hobbled by injury and rashness.

As a 16-year-old, in just his second first-class match, for Trinidad & Tobago, Barath scored a hundred. In his first Test, against the Aussies, he did the same. He also notched up a one-day century in his sixth game. Now 22, since his West Indies debut in 2009, he has played only ten Tests and averages just over 26. Injury after injury robbed him of important time at the crease. He hasn't been able to build a rhythm, and often, when he has been playing cricket, it has been more of the Twenty20 variety.

In his most recent comeback, granted by the West Indies selectors after he scored a patient century for T&T in his first knock following a finger injury, Barath made steady contributions in the final ODIs against Australia. But Clyde Butts and his panel chose not to expose him in the T20s.

As a batsman, Barath is good enough for all cricket, a talent with the kind of dynamic strokeplay to bring crowds to their feet. But with just 26 matches in all forms of the international game, he is still feeling his way.

 
 
Poor starts and defeats are not unconnected. West Indies did not find their footing once Barath and Brathwaite departed early
 

Disappointed that his first century in regional cricket had come only in his second game, Barath is not a man short on ambition. However, more recently that ambition and his appetite for big scores have been undermined by poor judgement. Too often his innings, including the two in the first Test, have ended due to his own indiscretions.

Those failings will be a concern for Sammy. Substantial opening partnerships for West Indies have been almost as scarce as wins. Poor starts and defeats are not unconnected. West Indies did not find their footing once Barath and Brathwaite departed early. In the first innings, Brathwaite's four-and-a-half hour sojourn and his 76-minute stand with his opening partner set their side up, giving their captain the confidence to declare. But Test cricket can level you fairly quickly, and West Indies were knocked flat in three and a half days. Not for the first time, and probably not the last.

Collective second-innings meltdowns and difficulties in finishing off tail-end opposition again proved to be West Indies' fatal drawbacks in Barbados. They blotted what was otherwise an encouraging showing by the team Sammy and coach Ottis Gibson are shaping.

As a group, the players seem to believe in what they are doing and have been boosted by the way they have handled the Australians so far on this tour. The first Test loss will be a blow, but not a devastating one. To still be in the series after the second Test, however, will require more players - men like Barath at the top and Narsingh Deonarine in the middle order - to keep their heads and produce.

Trinidad's Queen's Park Oval, with its slow pitches, and bounce less true than at the Kensington, especially over the last day or two, will present a different challenge to both sides, especially the one batting last.

Once fit to play, it will be Barath's first Test at home. The perfect time and place to get moving again.

Garth Wattley is a writer with the Trinidad Express

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Posted by Randy_Wilson on (April 16, 2012, 22:33 GMT)

Barath is NOT a Bad player, his Fitness is his Biggest Issue. he keep getting Injured, even right now Barath isnt 100% Fit. Yes people may criticize Barthwaite for his Approach to the Game, but that NO excuse. A Bartah with Gayle. His Scores. 15,104, 3, 17 Got injured. come back 50, 3, 8, Injured. without gayle 64, 38, 3, 27, 22, 2, 7. Barath Fitness for me is his biggest flaws in this Career.

Posted by Windies2Dheart on (April 16, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

I just cant see y some ppl think that Gayle is some kind of magic pill for WI victory. Remember Gayle has been there for over 10 years. the weakness of WI is not its talent (Our players dominate every t20 league that they play in). It's the ability to work with a team plan and to assess and respond appropriately to current situations during a game. For those who criticized braithwaithe's slow run rate in first test, just look at AUS batsmen play according to the situation in this game. Clarke was the only wicket from a poor shot, but i dont blame him- that looked like a free 6 runs. Every game Rash shots account for at least 3 of WI batsmen. That could be costly considering that AUS bowling is nowhere next to ENG or SA or PAK

Posted by   on (April 15, 2012, 21:35 GMT)

All I hope, as I have told several fans down here is that the endless talent of the Windies team will eventually be honed using persons who specialise in mental coaching. It is something that the WICB has not identified as a need, and the persistent reason we have sessions in every format that bring the results we have become accustomed to. The large number of Windies players in the IPL (Bravo, Pollard, Cooper, Narine, Russell, Gayle, Samuels, and Darren Bravo at the end of this series) says nothing about our ability to win games, only our talent...

Posted by S.Jagernath on (April 15, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

Adrian Barath needs to spend some time playing county cricket.He has a flat pitch in Trinidad,its a great venue now its just about him getting a big century.

Posted by hsengiv86 on (April 15, 2012, 19:41 GMT)

Pleae Dont become another ashraful.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

BARATH cannot bat. Batting is about scoring runs. Socring Runs IS ABOUT OCCUPATION OF THE CREASE. OCCUAPATION OF THE CREASE IS ABOUT BEING FIT MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY. MENTALLY FIT MEANS BEING ABLE TO THINK THE GAME. Physically Fit is about stamina and endurance---This is what Batting is all about. BARATH CANNOT BAT --Simple !!

Posted by   on (April 15, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

Let me put this point blank,Barath is a special talent with a decent technique but with problems with the short ball.However,like L Simmons at test level,both give you good 20-40 runs,looks flashy and great,but find some way to get themselves out,at least L Simmons has been brilliant at one day international and t-20 international level.Mr Barath,do not become a modern day Phil Simmons,Carl Hooper,Keith Arthurton,Stuart Williams,etc,your aggregate and average does not do your obvious talent any good,get runs and plenty of them,you DO NOT own a spot in the West Indies team,let your bat do some serious talking,and please sir,very,very soon.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (April 15, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

Id like to see him bat at 6 for a while... Could it be that he's just not an opener?

Posted by PACERONE on (April 15, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

Barath and Gayle looked like a good opening pair.Young batsmen sometimes need time to establish themselves.Batting with Gayle would decrease the need to take chances.Campbell was a very good young batsman,but pressure was also put on him not having Haynes with him.Our selectors are the absolute worst in the world. Brathwaite just adds more pressure on Barath as he does not score as often as he should.Barath will be okay when Gayle gets back.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

Bharath is confused about which format of the game he is playing in on a given day; thus, he sometimes bats in the test as if it were a T20 and then does the reverse. He obviously would like to be a Gayle or a Sehwag when he should just try to be Adrian Bharath. Somebody needs to tell him that he needs to find that balance between T20 and Test cricket and he might just go on to realize his genius to its full extent when he does.

Posted by dunger.bob on (April 15, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Ditto to everyone who said that he is still a young player and has plenty of time, but not wasting a second of it, to become a very, very good player. .. looked a million dollars in Australia and I remember thinking oh, oh . another Brian Lara here... then the injuries kicked in and I'd almost forgotten about him. .. I agree that the Windies have got something with their team and consistent good starts will make them really competitive again. ... they have handled the Aussie's really well as the article says and even as an aussie I'm loving it. .. 80's flashback I think, but I just love watching the West Indies do well ..

Posted by   on (April 15, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

Forget about Barath's age. HE has been playing cricket at the highest level long enough to be able to correct his impulsive batting. I do admire Barath a lot, but he must read the game. He has to use his God given. Yes keep him away from 20/20 for now. Poor shot selection is his problem, no coach can help there. That's personal. Gibson has to read him the riot act. A fine player to have around. Let's hope he settles down. Brains not youth.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

Opportunity does not knock on the door forever. Chris Gayle will be back soon. Barath must therefore make full use of his chances if he does not, he will have only himself to blame if he is eventually left out. He needs to seek proper medical advice about his frequent break downs. For how long will the selectors and Gibson accept this? At this time of his career he needs a mentor and sound advice.

Posted by mandi on (April 15, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

he is a good talent,injuries hampering his carrier again and again.

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 15, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

I wouldn't write him off yet; he is only 22. Baptism of fire and then dropped off, much like Phil Hughes. They will both bounce back and carve up world attacks.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

Barath fitness and poor judgement when batting has been his downfall; I believe he should be kept out of 20/20 cricket altogether.His fielding has improved,but like Bravo & Brathwaite, these young WI batsmen judgement throughout the games they have played needs to be correct; Again I believe the coaching staff would,ve work extensively with them to show improvement in their application when occupying the crease. They will come good today at Queens Park Oval.Good luck guys. Go Windies.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

The players who did well in debut test (specially scoring century)....did not go further or unable to transform as a great batsman. I hope this will be altered by Barath. Ishtiaque

Posted by   on (April 15, 2012, 6:07 GMT)

not a good batsman,,not a good techinque

Posted by Meety on (April 15, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

Shame about Barath - that knock at the Gabba, & I thought (others did too), that we are about to see a massive star in the game. Hard to believe that was almost 3 years ago, as he has hardly been sighted since!

Posted by FatBoysCanBat on (April 15, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

I think Barath's problem is that after the injuries he hasn't played enough [first-class] cricket before coming back into the Test team so he hasn't been able to find his rhythm/form and is forced to search for it in the brutal environment of a test match. There is no doubt of the ability that the kid has and anyone who watched his debut hundred against Australia will have noticed this - from memory I think he made 104 in the second inns and was the 6th man out with the score at 155 - but he needs to play more matches for T&T to regain his technique. If Gayle does comeback [which at this stage looks very likely] it will be interesting who of Barath or Brathwaite will make room for him. Based on current performance it is more likely to Barath who drops out.

Posted by raghu28 on (April 15, 2012, 5:22 GMT)

Garth,

Some excellent points. Barath is still only 22, so he has some time on his hands. But if his continued trend of injuries and ill-form continues, he may not last very long. I also think playing multiple formats of the game (tests, odis, t20s) may not be such a good thing when not in form. If he sticks to tests and does well, he can perhaps easily switch to the shorter versions of the game and put in robust performances. As you have mentioned, a solid opening pair Windies will do the Windies a world of good.

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