Australia in West Indies 2012 April 4, 2012

Deonarine on probationary return - Gibson

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Narsingh Deonarine's recall to the West Indies Test team to face Australia is a temporary solution to the absence of Marlon Samuels and has arrived despite continued reservations about his fitness, the coach Ottis Gibson has candidly admitted.

Deonarine acquitted himself well as a batsman in Australia in 2009-10, but after Gibson's 2010 appointment the left-hander was not offered a WICB contract due to poor fitness results. He has undergone a fresh round of testing ahead of the first Test of this series at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, and Gibson stated that Deonarine had to show visible improvement over the next three weeks.

"Partly but not entirely. I can only be honest," Gibson said when asked whether Deonarine had reached the fitness benchmark set for him. "He's someone that we need right now, we're not able to have Marlon [Samuels] in the team at the moment because Marlon's gone to the IPL as well and he's a like for like replacement for Marlon, he bowls a little bit of off spin and he bats at six, he's been the leading batsman in the regional tournament just now, and that's the role that he will play.

"With regard to his fitness, it's just an ongoing process for him, one that he has to keep on top of because I'm sure he has seen how the fitness of the team itself has improved significantly in the last 12 months. He will know that eventually if he doesn't make the necessary adjustments to his fitness that the team will move on, as all great teams do, without him.

"I'm sure he will meet those requirements because he's desperate to play cricket. I had a chat with him yesterday and he desperately wants to be here and do his thing and he had some fitness assessments yesterday, we will know the results of them later on and stuff, so hopefully if the message didn't get through in the first instance, hopefully it will get through the second time around."

Australian observers were surprised when Deonarine was discarded due to doubts about his ability to bat for long periods, after a couple of limpet-like displays against Australia in Perth during a series where the 2-0 margin arguably flattered the hosts. Gibson pointed out that Deonarine's strong results in this season's Caribbean regional competition were compelling enough to earn a recall, but had been achieved without the hundreds he expects of his batsmen.

"His quality as a batsman has never been the concern," Gibson said. "It's whether he's able to bat a day and a half, whether he's able to bat the four hours that is required at international level to make a Test hundred. His results will show he's made a lot of runs this year but he hasn't made a first-class hundred.

"At the same time he's been putting runs on the board and in a series where not a lot of batsmen put runs on the board it is hard to ignore his runs. I add to that the fact we can't have Marlon at the moment, so he fills the role that Marlon was playing."

Another batsman facing high expectations against Australia will be the gifted Darren Bravo, who has shown the potential to be the best West Indian batsman of his generation but had a halting introduction to Australian opposition in the ODI matches, losing his place. Gibson said Bravo needed to clear his head and believe in his methods, ignoring the visitors' efforts to corral him.

"He just needs to be himself," Gibson said. "I think sometimes one-day cricket lends itself to you having to go out in circumstances and play shots and maybe up the scoring rate or whatever's the case or consolidate when you've just lost a couple of wickets and stuff like that. Test cricket's very different, he goes out every day and starts over, [he should] just be himself and bat the way he batted, especially in India.

"He made a brilliant hundred in Bangladesh, but in India he was outstanding, and the Indians, from some of the fields that they set for him, it was clear they had obvious plans for him as well and he scored two Test hundreds. So he is somebody that we have a lot of confidence and belief in and somebody that will take us forward over the next couple of years.

"We're not worried about his form, we know what he's capable of and he tends to rise to the big occasion as well, so we're looking forward to seeing him bat over the next couple of weeks."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rally_Windies on April 7, 2012, 2:38 GMT

    @Randy Bridgeman

    guess what Kieron Powell has one 1st class century his high score is 132... Deonarine has seven 1st class centuries his high score is 192 ..

    Keiron Powell has 51 1st class innings and Deonarine has 151 ...

    so work out the MATH .... does Keiron Powell have a problem playing long innings?

    7 from 151, vs 1 from 51 ... HS 192 vs 132 .....

    hmmmmmmmmmm

    ??????????????

    I wonder how a guy with one 1st class 100 in 51 innings with an average of 33, gets a Test call up.... and a guy who tops the regional score boards with a career average of 37, with 7 100's in 151 games gets chastised before he even gets a game?

    & FYI, batting at # 6 I would not expect Deonarine to convert many 50's to 100's .... No number 6 batsman has a high 50 to 100 conversion rate ... not even chanderpaul .

  • dummy4fb on April 6, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Again our beloved coach shows his lack of man management skills Otis is a decent bowling coach but overall coach, not so much. Maybe good enough for a kiddies cricket team. If Gibson expects to speak freely about players without seriously considering the timing of his utterances, the situation they are in or the effect his words have it is only logical that he should be man enough to handle their attempts at self defense unless he himself is an exponent of the don-manship Professor Beckles spoke so fervently about during his speech last year. Or maybe he is just craving the attention he is getting from the media now as coach that he could not earn during his career as a West Indies cricketer. If & when WICB wake up and fire him i wish him a whole lot of luck getting a job as a International Cricket Coach because he is surely going to need it

  • inot on April 6, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    Folks, this is not rocket science.What do you expect if you hire a very mediocre cricketer without the requisite education, training and experience to manage talent ? His people management and communication skills are on par with Hunt and Hilare. Is he a selector now?

  • delboy on April 6, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    @ james.fernando you will find that the ICC does not control EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS. If you and anyone who covet cricketers FREEDOM of choice to earn a living want them to only play for their national sides then the solution is simple. BUY out their IPL contracts. The WI board cannot afford to do this. Narine will earn more money in his first IPL match than the WI board would have paid Sir Vivian Richards in his ENTIRE career. Think it through....

  • dummy4fb on April 6, 2012, 6:34 GMT

    Get off Gibson's back. He was merely telling the truth which is always a good thing. Wonder if he were of European stock, if there would be this minor uproar from the insularists? Bennett King & John Dyson didn't exactly set the coaching league afire in their stints with WI and one hardly heard a wimper. Matter of fact, Dyson & Gayle lost an ODI through a miscalulation and nobody complained publicly. Gibson is quite correct about the message being sent to Deonarine and ALL the players on the team: keep fit, score runs and/or take wickets and you would have nothing to fear. Fail at this and it's 'adios' time. It will not be business as usual. Simple. He's building a young, committed team with a never-say-die attitude as exemplified in the recently-concluded matches. This is quite unlike the ones from the last decade which played much brainless cricket. Gayle, Bravo, Samuels are all loyal to the almighty dollar first and foremost, so why should they be chosen? Tellmuh if yuh kno? Go WI.

  • dummy4fb on April 5, 2012, 21:58 GMT

    DEONARINE IS ONE PLAYER IN WEST INDIES THAT EARNED HIS PLACE IN THE 11....NOT LIKE SOME PEOPLE IN THE TEAM. GIBSON U JUST TELL DEONARINE THAT HE HAS 1 FOOT OUT THE DOOR ....

  • TheLight on April 5, 2012, 20:58 GMT

    Rally_Windies......well said........you hit the nail on the head

  • Rally_Windies on April 5, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    @ glorious cricket ... Gibson said Gayle was not fit ... but the IPL doctors said Gayle was fine, and we saw EXACTLY how unfit Gayle was in the 2011 IPL .......

    unfit in the Caribbean does not mean "unwell" or "injured" .... " unfit" - means something else entirely .... Doenarine could score 1000 Test runs this year and still be "unfit" in Gibson's eyes .....

    Chanderpaul and Sarawan are also "unfit" in Gibson's eyes ....

    Powell and Braithwaith are "fit" to play in Gibson's opinion .....

  • gloriouscricket on April 5, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    Asking Test cricketers to be fit and be prepared to bat long should be par for the course;These young sports men are expected to come fit mentally & physically.They are professionals. Speaking out in public re: Deonarine replacing Samuels due to Samuels being away is another story.Marlon needed to be dropped whether he was available or not;His performance demands it. He plays in a very important position, his responsibilities are steering the lower order of the team[leading by example] with the bat, then doing some bowling. He has faiedl with the bat, looked uncertain at the wicket while not taking charge of the problem at hand.He has had some success with the bowling.Marlon is a senior player, a lot is expected of him. Deonarine will do well, he is gifted, talented and yearned to be back in the Team, Narsingh Deonarine will do well, he Earned his recall, he worked for it. I,m looking forward to seeing him perform for WI again,he is a winner--he fought his way back.Good luck WI.

  • dummy4fb on April 5, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    Gibson talks depends where he is and where he is going ( geographically) reltative to Guyanese.

    He talked about Chanders having to toe the Team's policy or something of the sort when they were not playing in Guyana. If Gibson reads these lines, why you did not talk when you were in Guyana? Afraid BJ would have sent you packing out of the country or the GY people would have not even allowed you through the airport?

    What is the criteria for selection? batting one and a half day? List the top 5 batsmen in your team who can bat for a day?

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