West Indies in New Zealand 2013-14 December 16, 2013

Who can West Indies turn to?

A key bowler suspended, the other bowlers struggling to take wickets and batsmen unable to cope with swing. Can any of West Indies' reserves make a difference?

The optimism generated by West Indies' fightback in Dunedin - even though without the rain it would have still ended in defeat - disappeared in the space of three days in Wellington. Now their key bowler, Shane Shillingford, has been suspended from bowling two days out from the final Test. So who is there in the squad that West Indies can turn to?

Sunil Narine

Suddenly a bowler with 15 wickets at 48.06 is West Indies' big hope. That is largely based around his performances against New Zealand in the Caribbean where he took 12 of those Test scalps in two matches. New Zealand have had problems against spin - and did not play Shillingford well in the second innings in Dunedin, although that was down to over-aggression - but the pitch is likely to be another with a good covering of grass. Still, the batsmen have not seen anything of Narine for a while so he could catch a few by surprise.

What Ottis Gibson said: "Looking at New Zealand, if I was in their camp it would probably be another green seamer. They've got three seamers who are swinging it and causing us problems so I don't see why they'd change the format. "

Sheldon Cottrell

Johnson, Boult…Cottrell. Probably not, but West Indies' three right-arm pacemen have not caused New Zealand's batsmen too many worries so a change of angle could be useful. He would probably have to replace Shannon Gabriel, who improved in the second Test, because there will be a reluctance to ditch Tino Best as, for all his waywardness, he has caused a few problems. West Indies are also desperate for someone who can generate some swing.

What Gibson said: "It's a constant work in progress to get people thinking clearly under pressure and understanding you need to be a bit fuller on this pitch when the ball is new. Our bowlers are probably a little quicker than theirs and we have bowled a bit short. But if it's not swinging you can't pitch it up to quality batsmen. It's finding the right length. We find it sometimes three balls out of six. We have been inconsistent with everything we have done. As a bowling group we haven't stuck to plans for long enough."

Kraigg Brathwaite

Delayed by visa difficulties, Brathwaite eventually joined the squad in Wellington. The 21-year-old has played nine Tests and scored four half-centuries. Prior to the series the plan was likely to be for him to open alongside Kieran Powell, but the delay in arriving meant Kirk Edwards had to take on the role and he has made some gusty contributions. Powell has reached double figures in six of his last eight Test innings but has not gone past 48 which is wasteful. Brathwaite's lack of recent cricket counts against him, but the incumbent batsmen need to feel pressure from somewhere.

What Gibson said: "We have faced swing bowling before. Last time we went to England we faced swing bowling. some of us got undone a little bit. Marlon Samuels had a great series, but this is high quality swing bowling at good pace and we haven't been able to deal with it in this game."

Veerasammy Permaul and Chadwick Walton

The left-arm spinner and reserve wicketkeeper are the two least likely players to figure in the final Test. If West Indies really wanted to pick from left field they could still play two frontline spinners with Permaul alongside Narine, either with just two seamers or as part of a five-man attack on the basis that they have to take 20 wickets. Denesh Ramdin, as vice-captain, will hold his place but his keeping has been poor in this series and the batting unconvincing - although his second innings at Wellington was ended by a contender for catch of the year - while Walton made an unbeaten 61 in the warm-up match.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Online on December 19, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    Really wonderful little article weighing up the Windies current options. I was growing sick of reading article after article describing the Windies capitulation or their 'decline'. This one provided a refreshing change. As die-hard cricket fan this is what we do - mull over player selections. Most of the comments on this site will provide testimony to that. Cricinfo has got it right this time and it would highly appreciated if the contributors to this site regularly publish articles of this type and join in the fans' debate about player selection. Looking forward to a similar one for the Ashes and Ind vs SAF.

  • Basil on December 18, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    All these WI fans naming names. The problem is these "stars" need to play more first class cricket. When was the last time Pollard wore whites? Sarwans form has been terrible. Braithwaite scores waaaaaaaay to slow. Rampaul, Bishoo, Richardson, Johnson, where are they?

  • Dummy4 on December 18, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    Bishoo is a class spinner who attained decent success against Pakistan and made Westindies win a test match too. In the absence of shillingford, he should be the part of 11. Darren Sammy should step down now as he is a limited leg player. With Roach Rampaul and Bishoo, at least the bowling attack will look a bit decent. Batting on the other hand requires Sarwan in at least for the test matches. Chanderpaul, Simmons, Darren bravo and even Dwayne Bravo will do justice with the test matches. West Indies must learn from the Australians that how an energetic team effort backed up by strong mindful decisions on the field can turn the fortunes. Westindies has a lot more talent then the current australian side, its just about the execution, which they misearably fails every 8 times out of 10.

  • Dummy4 on December 18, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    It is time to insert Brathwaite in the openers position alongside Powell, move Edwards into the no.4 position; Bring in Carter as the ALLROUNDER-Replacing Darren Sammy as the CPT. Edwards would be named to captain the team assisted by -Powell.Marlon Samuels gets a chance to show that he belongs on a WINDIES team that is looking for leadership especially from the senior players; Marlon stop acting like you have just arrived; This is TEST CRICKET.Please stop players like Powell, Samuel, & yes Edwards from playing 20/20 Cricket-As tough as I am on Ramdin I am going to retain him for the rest of the series-He can do better, Its up to him to retain his play;ALSO Samuels-come on guys -step-up.

  • Orlando on December 17, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Hard as it is to swallow we have to accept that this series is gone. The squad is broken mentally. They were broken before they arrived. The rain in the 1st test spared them defeat but reality soon showed up again. The bad news is that the ODI series will be equally painful to watch as, though some fresh faces will be coming in, it is into an atmosphere of depression and near hopelessness that they enter. If Dwayne Bravo can regain his form with either bat or ball (preferably both) then it may just be enough to lift the team to at least compete. Problem is that when you bring capable players into a bad environment they tend to under perform. Rampaul, Millar, Simmons would normally be a plus but playing alongside others who are broken psychologically will be hard.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    WICB should recall the current team from NZ and fire the selectors immediately. revamp and remake the team.ask sarwan or ramdin to be captain and select allrounders on this basis. an allrounder must be able to make the team either as a the top five batsman or a top four bowlers. which current wi all rounder can make the team as a batsman or bowler therefore they should play no allrounder, go with five batsmen wicketkeeper and five bowlers.

  • James on December 17, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    I am glad to see a few other posts here calling for Best and Sammy to step down from the Test team. Sammy is a only a limited overs player and Best is just limited. The need for good fast swing bowling has never been more apparent than in this series, yet the selectors seem unwilling to give some of the younger players a decent chance. Holder, Carter, Cottrell and Johnson must be better options than continually turning to the same old players who have failed before. The call for the return of Sarwan and Fidel Edwards is not the way forward either, as both have had their chance and do not represent the future.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    WI has been robbed by its selectors over the years of good test playing teams. when changing from test to one day teams for most countries the batsmen are normally those who are changed for the WI its the opposite. the fact is that WI has a 20/20 team who they hope can play tests. Sammy, Gayle, Simmons, Dwayne bravo,Powell are players who should not be playing tests. the problem is who replaces them. Ramdin should not be playing any for of cricket at all(he and Sammy have been given two many chances and has failed to earn their keep). for the next test best needs to go and Cottrell in. a strike bowler needs to be able to take 4 to five wickets an innings best has proven that he can't. Give someone else a chance.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    .After one average year from marlon samuels,the selectors think that they are better off leaving an experienced sarwan out.....Good luck with That! just remember he averages "Below" 35 is all forms of cricket. Where is Ramnaresh Sarwan.......

    My ideal 11 for test Keiron Powell/Gayle, Simmons,Sarwan, Darren Bravo,Chanderpaul,Johnson Charles, Dwayne Bravo, Shillingford,Fidel Edwards,Roach, Rampaul

    That is our only winning combination

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2013, 1:40 GMT

    Shillingford should not have been on the W.I team in the first place. This is the second time he has been banned from bowling while on tour. He is a domestic cricketer and the umpires in the W.I aid and abet him , thats why he got so many wickets in the regional tournament. The question beg to be answered, why is Sammy and Best still on the team? Why is Sawan not playing? What has Sawan done to merit the wrath of the selectors? After all, it was alledged that Samuel was involved in match fixing in India - banned for two years and back in the W.I. Best is to test cricket what the Harlem Globe Trotters are to Basketball. Just listen to the commentators- they get a big laugh just watching the W.I musical comedy troupe take the field.

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