August 31, 2014

Question marks over West Indies' ODI batting

The sequence of recent stuttering starts in ODIs, with the middle and lower orders picking up the pieces, does not bode well
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Is it a problem that the World Cup is less than six months away and West Indies still have no head coach?

It depends on who is answering the question.

Michael Muirhead, chief executive of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), as a typically cagey administrator, is relaxed about it. "That would be considered a nice cut-off time to have a coach but we don't plan to rush and get a new one just to say we have a coach for the World Cup," he told the Barbados Nation, stressing that the sole objective would be to get the best man.

Daren Ganga, the former Test batsman, now television analyst, has the totally opposite view. "This, to me, is a prime time for us to be focused on what we're trying to achieve next February," he said on a weekly cricket television show. "The longer we wait to approve someone that has the responsibility to take us into the World Cup, it's only going to be detrimental to our team."

The issue shot to prominence once the long-serving Ottis Gibson parted company with the WICB "by mutual agreement", astonishingly on the eve of the current home series against Bangladesh. Team manager Sir Richie Richardson was hurriedly elevated to interim coach; given Muirhead's comments he could still be there come February 16 for West Indies' opening match against Ireland in Nelson, New Zealand.

Whoever is in charge between now and then - five ODIs in India and five in South Africa in November and January lead into the World Cup - the recent failures of the critical top-order batting and, as always, inconsistency are major concerns.

In the last 27 games, the 115 between Chris Gayle and Johnson Charles against Sri Lanka in last year's triangular Celkon Mobile Cup, the even 100 between Dwayne Smith and Kieran Powell in the one-off match against Ireland at Sabina Park in February 2013, and 95 between Powell and Charles against New Zealand in Hamilton last January are the only opening partnerships better than 50.

There was an all-out 98 against Pakistan and starts of 91 for 6 against India, 80 for 5 against England and, most recently and shockingly, 34 for 5 against Bangladesh. In four other matches, four or more wickets were down before 100.

The lingering back injury that eliminated Gayle's intimidating power and experience for ten consecutive ODIs, and Marlon Samuels' sudden decline were clearly factors.

As it is, Powell and Charles are no longer serious contenders. Dwayne Smith's signing for Sydney Sixers in Australia's 2014-15 Big Bash all but disqualifies him from World Cup selection. Devon Smith, Lendl Simmons, Chadwick Walton and Kirk Edwards have all been used as openers over the past year or so; none has been permanent.

Gayle's mere presence at No. 1 remains essential. At his best, Samuels was a quality batsman at No. 4. Gayle's fitness will be nervously monitored over the coming months. Samuels, dropped during the series against New Zealand in July, remains on the outside; in desperation, he may yet be recalled.

The upshot has been a succession of stuttering starts in the latest ODIs at home, repeatedly leaving the middle and lower orders to pick up the pieces. Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, who lost his Test place for two years specifically because of a batting slump, and whose ODI average hovered around 20 for some time, has been to the fore.

Simmons, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy turned the early wreckage of 45 for 4 in the first match against England in late February into a match-winning 269 for 6. There was no coming back from 81 for 4 in the second or 80 for 5 in the third; complete embarrassment, if not the match, was saved in that last game by Ramdin's robust 128 off 109 balls with five sixes and 11 fours, a precursor of what has followed.

In the first match against Bangladesh on August 20, the innings was in ruins at 34 for 5 in the 14th over before Ramdin, once more, with 74, and Kieron Pollard, 89, put the pieces back together with a match-winning partnership of 145.

Ramdin was at it once again in the third match, in St Kitts. Entering at 12 for 2, with Gayle and Simmons out by the fifth over, he compiled an innings of 169 from 121 balls that was described by interim coach Richardson, without exaggeration, as "exceptional, one of the best ODI knocks we've seen". It featured 11 sixes and eight fours. Even on undersized Warner Park, these were Gayle-like stats. No West Indian had hoisted as many sixes in an ODI against a Full Member. It was the highest ODI score by a West Indian at home.

Ramdin lacks the physical strength of hitters like the giants Gayle and Pollard. Richardson noted that he doesn't swipe, plays "proper cricket shots", and "is able to rotate the strike". In the form he has been in, he added, Ramdin scores as quickly as anyone else.

In the circumstances, the captain, Dwayne Bravo, would do worse than to assume the responsibility of batting higher than Nos. 6 and 7, where he has mostly placed himself since taking over the ODI captaincy

His value in St Kitts was enhanced by his influence in steering Darren Bravo through early difficulties (including an outlandish stumping chance at 10). Their partnership was finally worth 258 when the younger Bravo was out for 124 (127 balls, eight sixes, seven fours); it was an overall ODI third-wicket record.

On the basis that necessity is the mother of invention, Richardson decided to move Ramdin up to No. 4, given his form and the struggles of others. India and South Africa present appreciably more intricate problems than Bangladesh. Spin and swing will test the batsmen in India, the pace of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in South Africa.

Several permutations are available, if none particularly strong. Simmons' adaptability makes him a possibility as either Gayle's partner or at No. 4, allowing Ramdin to slip back into his more accustomed spot of No. 6. Powell would be another option as opener but he has seemingly slipped off the selectors' radar since withdrawing from the recent Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

In the circumstances, the captain, Dwayne Bravo, would do worse than to assume the responsibility of batting higher than Nos. 6 and 7, where he has mostly placed himself since taking over the ODI captaincy. He was at No. 6 for his 106 against New Zealand in Hamilton last February.

The bowling seems settled, especially if Sunil Narine chooses to make himself available. It is the batting that presents more questions than answers for Clive Lloyd and his new selection panel. The portents are not encouraging for the way ahead.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 5, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    west indies need batsman to score runs next tour to india going to be big struggle for them likes australia trashed to 4-0 in tests and odi team no match to india

  • on September 2, 2014, 2:35 GMT

    ATTENTION W.I SELECTORS:

    Open with Chanderpaul.

  • on September 1, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    Chanderpaul should Be in this team , dame Dwayne smith he is off to Australia to make the big bucks can't blame him , but chander can help West Indies in 50 overs and he can open and bat through the innings eg his now 183 against Bangladesh and he accelerate in the end that's what we need . If we can play Gayle and Samuels who are failing sure we can play Chanderpaul !!!!

  • on September 1, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    If Dwayne Smith doesnt play-the foll should be the batting order 1.)Gayle 2.)Keiran Powell/Kirk Edwards 3.)Darren Bravo 4.)Lendl Simmons 5.)Denesh Ramdin 6.)Pollard 7.)DJ Bravo 8.)Jason Holder 9.)Narine 10.)Rampaul 11.)Jerome Taylor/Kemar Roach-depending upon track....

  • JoshFromJamRock on September 1, 2014, 19:45 GMT

    The ODI team will ok. I don't see any issues as it relates to the personnel chosen. The main reason WI's batting struggles is because the top order plays a format slower than they should. Just look at it. They start their ODI matches like Test matches scoring at 2-3 RPO for the first 10 overs. The same is seen in T20s as they play the first 8-10 overs like an ODI scoring at 5-6 RPO. Even in Test cricket they tend to play on the slower side going at 1.5-2.5 RPO.

    Rotating the strike is still a major problem and this over-confidence in their "power-hitting" is not helping their case. I'm amazed at how ignorant some these players are to not want to change their approach to benefit the team. If everyone aimed to have a dot ball percentage of under 50, great improvements would be seen in the energy and alertness of the batsmen in the middle and the lower order won't need to provide that "extraordinary acceleration" every single game to make an above-par total.

  • wirus on September 1, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    jeetv27 I have long been of the opinion that Gayle should either back lower in the order in tests and ODI or stick to T20. At present WI needs his experience somewhere in the order, especially as Chanderpaul is surely playing his last couple of series. Whether no. 4 or 6 doesn't really matter, as long as he is protected from early swing and comes in when the state of the innings is fairly established, i.e. solid or in tatters. These days he seems unsure as to whether to attack or defend. As he has no technique to be able to defend for long and isn't able to run between the wickets, he should play his natural game and be aggressive without being reckless. If he gets out after getting 40 - 60 runs and the odd higher score and maybe even a century now and again, that would be job done. WI have to utilize what talent he has in the right way. He can still turn a match on its head but he needs a clear head and a clear plan of action. We need another Brathwaite to open with Brathwaite.

  • jeetv27 on September 1, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    I am of a very simple view when it comes to the batting line-up.And my view is on the basis of thorough analysis of every cricket match.Gayle struggles against swing and is tentative at the start.So it's very important to fit him in the 4th position in the batting line-up.And I bet it will work wonders.Openers have to be Dwayne Smith and Kieran Powell and you have got to tell Kieran Powell to play aggressively as that is what he's good at.Whenever he has played defensively,he has failed.And take the tour of Australia as an example to backup my theory.He batted aggressively and he excelled at it.So basically Gayle at 4 no matter what.

  • UsmanMuhammad on September 1, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    where is the young sensation, nicolas pooran? Bring him in for WC now

  • on September 1, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    I think we should have shiv in our Wc squad he's a class player n even if he fails don't think it would b different with others the talent of players we have to pick from

  • m0se on August 31, 2014, 21:17 GMT

    Smith and Gayle should open. Smith is a better batsmen and bowler than Sammy. Sammy is a good T20 finisher but in ODI he is just a too one-dimensional.

  • on September 5, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    west indies need batsman to score runs next tour to india going to be big struggle for them likes australia trashed to 4-0 in tests and odi team no match to india

  • on September 2, 2014, 2:35 GMT

    ATTENTION W.I SELECTORS:

    Open with Chanderpaul.

  • on September 1, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    Chanderpaul should Be in this team , dame Dwayne smith he is off to Australia to make the big bucks can't blame him , but chander can help West Indies in 50 overs and he can open and bat through the innings eg his now 183 against Bangladesh and he accelerate in the end that's what we need . If we can play Gayle and Samuels who are failing sure we can play Chanderpaul !!!!

  • on September 1, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    If Dwayne Smith doesnt play-the foll should be the batting order 1.)Gayle 2.)Keiran Powell/Kirk Edwards 3.)Darren Bravo 4.)Lendl Simmons 5.)Denesh Ramdin 6.)Pollard 7.)DJ Bravo 8.)Jason Holder 9.)Narine 10.)Rampaul 11.)Jerome Taylor/Kemar Roach-depending upon track....

  • JoshFromJamRock on September 1, 2014, 19:45 GMT

    The ODI team will ok. I don't see any issues as it relates to the personnel chosen. The main reason WI's batting struggles is because the top order plays a format slower than they should. Just look at it. They start their ODI matches like Test matches scoring at 2-3 RPO for the first 10 overs. The same is seen in T20s as they play the first 8-10 overs like an ODI scoring at 5-6 RPO. Even in Test cricket they tend to play on the slower side going at 1.5-2.5 RPO.

    Rotating the strike is still a major problem and this over-confidence in their "power-hitting" is not helping their case. I'm amazed at how ignorant some these players are to not want to change their approach to benefit the team. If everyone aimed to have a dot ball percentage of under 50, great improvements would be seen in the energy and alertness of the batsmen in the middle and the lower order won't need to provide that "extraordinary acceleration" every single game to make an above-par total.

  • wirus on September 1, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    jeetv27 I have long been of the opinion that Gayle should either back lower in the order in tests and ODI or stick to T20. At present WI needs his experience somewhere in the order, especially as Chanderpaul is surely playing his last couple of series. Whether no. 4 or 6 doesn't really matter, as long as he is protected from early swing and comes in when the state of the innings is fairly established, i.e. solid or in tatters. These days he seems unsure as to whether to attack or defend. As he has no technique to be able to defend for long and isn't able to run between the wickets, he should play his natural game and be aggressive without being reckless. If he gets out after getting 40 - 60 runs and the odd higher score and maybe even a century now and again, that would be job done. WI have to utilize what talent he has in the right way. He can still turn a match on its head but he needs a clear head and a clear plan of action. We need another Brathwaite to open with Brathwaite.

  • jeetv27 on September 1, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    I am of a very simple view when it comes to the batting line-up.And my view is on the basis of thorough analysis of every cricket match.Gayle struggles against swing and is tentative at the start.So it's very important to fit him in the 4th position in the batting line-up.And I bet it will work wonders.Openers have to be Dwayne Smith and Kieran Powell and you have got to tell Kieran Powell to play aggressively as that is what he's good at.Whenever he has played defensively,he has failed.And take the tour of Australia as an example to backup my theory.He batted aggressively and he excelled at it.So basically Gayle at 4 no matter what.

  • UsmanMuhammad on September 1, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    where is the young sensation, nicolas pooran? Bring him in for WC now

  • on September 1, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    I think we should have shiv in our Wc squad he's a class player n even if he fails don't think it would b different with others the talent of players we have to pick from

  • m0se on August 31, 2014, 21:17 GMT

    Smith and Gayle should open. Smith is a better batsmen and bowler than Sammy. Sammy is a good T20 finisher but in ODI he is just a too one-dimensional.

  • on August 31, 2014, 16:45 GMT

    What happens to Chanderpaul? Clearly we need a proper batsman, not a make shift one. Of all the present West Indian batsman he has the best one day average, including Chris Gayle etal. Let's stop this discrimination against a man's age, we did it for Ambrose and Walsh and to this day we are struggling with our fast bowlers........

  • FAB_ALI on August 31, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    Gayle, Simmons, Bravo Jr., Pollard, Ramdin, Bravo Sr., Sammy, Narine, Roach, Holder & Rampaul.....Problem Solved!!!!

  • on August 31, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    Strange as it may sound Chris Gayle's presence makes it hard for his partners: he doesn't run so whether he's scoring or not the strike doesn't rotate and so his partners are under undue pressure to either score boundaries or face many consecutive balls from a particular bowler. So many of the guys who tried beside him look good when playing for their club or island but beside Gayle they look stressed or tentative unable to find their natural rhythm.

  • Pardnerday on August 31, 2014, 12:51 GMT

    For those constantly calling for a young and inexperienced WI side, think again. Check sports history across all sports and see how much success you find of teams with all young and unproven players without a good sprinkling of veteran, experienced, and well-proven players on that roster. Besides, while some of the current WI youngsters show some promise and have some talent, none of them impresses you enough with having the potential to be world beaters, at least not with any consistency. People should understand the role experienced players play on a mixed squad of good older and younger players. If you field a team of just young and unproven players you have to be prepared to suffer through a period of consistent losing and huge losses. We do not want this. That said, a mixed team, properly picked, is the way to go. Gayle scares no one anymore, He lacks consistency and he should be axed with his next failure.

  • on August 31, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    It's too early to say but my squad for World Cup would be 1) Chris Gayle 2)Lendl Simmons 3) Darren Bravo 4)Shivnarine ChanderPaul 5) Ramnaresh Sarwan 6) Denesh Ramdin 7)Dwayne Bravo 8)Kieron Pollard 9)Darren Sammy 10)Sunil Narine 11) Ravi Rampaul 12) Kemar Roach 13) Jerome Taylor 14) Andre Russell 15) Marlon Samuels 16) Nikita Miller

    As per my opinion West Indies Batting struggles because they don't have players like Chanderpaul, Darren Bravo and Sarwan who can stay on the crease.

  • enlightenedone on August 31, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    chris gayle the most overrated player along with shahid afridi. gayle is only fearsome in ipl and flat tracks.

  • on August 31, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    My West Indian team for WC 1)Chris Gayle 2)Dwayne Smith 3) Darren Bravo 4)Marlon Samuels 5)Dinesh Ramdin 6)Dwayne Bravo 7)Kieren Pollard 8)Jason Holder 9)Sunil Narine 10)Ravi Rampaul 11)Kemar Roach 12)Jonathon Charles 13)Lendle Simmons 14)Samuel Badri 15) Jerome Taylor/Fiedel Edwards/Santoikie 16)Darryn Sammy

  • riverlime on August 31, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    Guys who dont understand.... Signing for a foreign league and not being available for a pre-series training camp means you are out. It happened to Narine who was one day late. it will happen to Smith too.

  • CricketChat on August 31, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    Gayle doesn't provide stability for opening. The only time he helps team is when he gets going from ball 1. When he tries to play himself in, he eats up lot balls before getting out, thus killing momentum in the beginning of the innings. WI should look for other opening options.

  • Somya7 on August 31, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    My World Cup team For WesT Indies -

    Playing XI. -

    Dwayne Smith Chris Gayle Marlon Samules Dareen Bravo Denesh Ramdin (wk) Dwayne Bravo (C) Kieron Pollard Jason Holder Kemar Roach Sunil Narine Ravi Rampaul

    Extras - Lendl Simmons , Dareen Sammy , Devendra Bishoo , Jerome Taylor.

    Special Mention - Andre Russell ( he deserves into be in 15 but in last we can only select 15. He competes with Sammy and Smith Sammy is more valuable then Russell plus Sammy is good overall player what Russell is. Dawyne smith above him because i just cant resist him taking In team because his exploits in IPL , Champions league and CPL. He is in form of his life...just need extended run in team and he will be man who will win matches single handedly.

    Why samules in team ? He is class but guy in poor form. I guess he plays best at no. 3 . His off breaks can bring vital wickets in Aus. & he could act as very good 2nd spinner in Playing XI

    Simmons misses from XI . Hard luck. Going with Samules deputation

  • kentjones on August 31, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    WI does have a bating problem as you said Mr. Cozier. The lack of good starts by the opening pair begins the rut that then often becomes a debacle. Part of the problem is that WI have tried too many combinations at the top without settling on any. Charles, Smith Simmons, Powell (with Gayle the constant factor) have all been tried. Simmons has shown the ability at the top order and I believe he should be given the job to open with Gayle, permanently. Moving him around I believe affects his performance, although he has made runs lower down the order as well. Then there is uncertainty in the middle with players like Samuels, Sammy and Pollard not sure of there places and big Bravo lack of form not an inspiring factor either. Decisions have to be made about the batting selections and the order of the batters. February is right around the corner and WI only have a few ODIs before then for the selectors to get it right! Also, someone please tell Bravo not to bowl at the death...!

  • on August 31, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    Gale should never open at this stage of his career in my opinion. He should now be promoted to a middle order batsman. Ramdin should not open either. He should also come in the middle order. Simmons and Smith should open the one-day innings. My line-up would be Simmons, Smith, Samuels, Ramdin, Gale, Pollard, Dwane Bravo, Russel, Holder, Narine, Rampaul. This is a good balanced side with both batting and bowlers who are proven.

  • on August 31, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    Cricket is a TEAM sport focus on the individual failures when you are losing and replace them. If the top order was / is always succedsful then one never get a chancr to experience the true fepyh of the team. Does the author recall the stage fright the failure of Lara used to csuse? this no longer happens has each players mental focus and self importance has change in the TEAM. I would be concerned if the team fails against India and take steps to address this during the SA series. Going into a tournament in February mean preparing at least 18mths prior if this has not started as yet then there is glowing evidence of how far adrift WI cricket is from the competition

  • vladtepes on August 31, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    gayle needs to bat down the order, maybe 6 or 7. he doesn't frighten opening bowlers. he'll score 35 from three balls then get out trying to go to 100 on the next ball. the west indies need steady openers, batsmen who know how to bat in tests where rotating the strike, not blocking and blocking then trying to blast boundaries, is essential.

  • Suicide-Note on August 31, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Windies need Simmons at opening position and Samuels at no 4. with both of them firing

  • Whispering_Holding on August 31, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    Ramdin to open is a waste as Gayle does not run, and Ramdin likes to take singles. He will need another basher at the other end to take up the slack in case he is not firing. Lewis or Smith seem reasonable or give Beaton a go.

  • Starvybz on August 31, 2014, 4:40 GMT

    so lets get this straight dwayne smith is playing against australian bowlers in australia and that disqualifies him from selection given that world cup is being held in australia. Okay then

  • mus_tard on August 31, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    The thirteen players WI should look to build leading into the World Cup: Gayle, Smith, Lil B, Simmo, Ramdin, Dwayne B, Polly, Russell, Holder, Roach, Narine, Rampaul, and hopefully Lewis as a back-up or even a frontline opener given the form he is in. These thirteen players must be rotated in order to be given exposure in two tough tours coming up. How well we do in those tours will be a decent indicator of what to expect for us in the World Cup. Of course the squad for the World Cup is fifteen players, so Miller should come in as a back-up spinner and the last spot should be an in-form batsman based on the upcoming domestic season regardless of who he is and where he's from. Although as much as I would like Chanders in the ODI squad, that's not likely at all. Most importantly though, Gayle must regain form, and the top order needs to be fixed, which is why bringing in young Lewis can't do any harm.

  • BRUTALANALYST on August 31, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    "Dwayne Smith's signing for Sydney Sixers in Australia's 2014-15 Big Bash all but disqualifies him from World Cup selection" Err no it doesn't how'd you come to that conclusion. Last year a bunch of English players signed in Big Bash like Jos Butler Alex Hales who played the first portion of Big Bash and then the England ODI's/T20's just because you have a Big Bash deal doesn't mean you will miss Internationals especially a World Cup if given the opportunity and Smith should absolutely be in W.I ODI set up right now.

  • Sexysteven on August 31, 2014, 3:07 GMT

    The windies batting is there major prob I would be tempted to try something different and open with gayle and ramdin Samuels Darren bravo Simmons dwayne bravo pollard holder Taylor narine roach would be the team I would go with for the windies

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  • Sexysteven on August 31, 2014, 3:07 GMT

    The windies batting is there major prob I would be tempted to try something different and open with gayle and ramdin Samuels Darren bravo Simmons dwayne bravo pollard holder Taylor narine roach would be the team I would go with for the windies

  • BRUTALANALYST on August 31, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    "Dwayne Smith's signing for Sydney Sixers in Australia's 2014-15 Big Bash all but disqualifies him from World Cup selection" Err no it doesn't how'd you come to that conclusion. Last year a bunch of English players signed in Big Bash like Jos Butler Alex Hales who played the first portion of Big Bash and then the England ODI's/T20's just because you have a Big Bash deal doesn't mean you will miss Internationals especially a World Cup if given the opportunity and Smith should absolutely be in W.I ODI set up right now.

  • mus_tard on August 31, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    The thirteen players WI should look to build leading into the World Cup: Gayle, Smith, Lil B, Simmo, Ramdin, Dwayne B, Polly, Russell, Holder, Roach, Narine, Rampaul, and hopefully Lewis as a back-up or even a frontline opener given the form he is in. These thirteen players must be rotated in order to be given exposure in two tough tours coming up. How well we do in those tours will be a decent indicator of what to expect for us in the World Cup. Of course the squad for the World Cup is fifteen players, so Miller should come in as a back-up spinner and the last spot should be an in-form batsman based on the upcoming domestic season regardless of who he is and where he's from. Although as much as I would like Chanders in the ODI squad, that's not likely at all. Most importantly though, Gayle must regain form, and the top order needs to be fixed, which is why bringing in young Lewis can't do any harm.

  • Starvybz on August 31, 2014, 4:40 GMT

    so lets get this straight dwayne smith is playing against australian bowlers in australia and that disqualifies him from selection given that world cup is being held in australia. Okay then

  • Whispering_Holding on August 31, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    Ramdin to open is a waste as Gayle does not run, and Ramdin likes to take singles. He will need another basher at the other end to take up the slack in case he is not firing. Lewis or Smith seem reasonable or give Beaton a go.

  • Suicide-Note on August 31, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Windies need Simmons at opening position and Samuels at no 4. with both of them firing

  • vladtepes on August 31, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    gayle needs to bat down the order, maybe 6 or 7. he doesn't frighten opening bowlers. he'll score 35 from three balls then get out trying to go to 100 on the next ball. the west indies need steady openers, batsmen who know how to bat in tests where rotating the strike, not blocking and blocking then trying to blast boundaries, is essential.

  • on August 31, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    Cricket is a TEAM sport focus on the individual failures when you are losing and replace them. If the top order was / is always succedsful then one never get a chancr to experience the true fepyh of the team. Does the author recall the stage fright the failure of Lara used to csuse? this no longer happens has each players mental focus and self importance has change in the TEAM. I would be concerned if the team fails against India and take steps to address this during the SA series. Going into a tournament in February mean preparing at least 18mths prior if this has not started as yet then there is glowing evidence of how far adrift WI cricket is from the competition

  • on August 31, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    Gale should never open at this stage of his career in my opinion. He should now be promoted to a middle order batsman. Ramdin should not open either. He should also come in the middle order. Simmons and Smith should open the one-day innings. My line-up would be Simmons, Smith, Samuels, Ramdin, Gale, Pollard, Dwane Bravo, Russel, Holder, Narine, Rampaul. This is a good balanced side with both batting and bowlers who are proven.

  • kentjones on August 31, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    WI does have a bating problem as you said Mr. Cozier. The lack of good starts by the opening pair begins the rut that then often becomes a debacle. Part of the problem is that WI have tried too many combinations at the top without settling on any. Charles, Smith Simmons, Powell (with Gayle the constant factor) have all been tried. Simmons has shown the ability at the top order and I believe he should be given the job to open with Gayle, permanently. Moving him around I believe affects his performance, although he has made runs lower down the order as well. Then there is uncertainty in the middle with players like Samuels, Sammy and Pollard not sure of there places and big Bravo lack of form not an inspiring factor either. Decisions have to be made about the batting selections and the order of the batters. February is right around the corner and WI only have a few ODIs before then for the selectors to get it right! Also, someone please tell Bravo not to bowl at the death...!