Ian Bradshaw: Working within his limitations © Getty Images
The defending champions of the ICC Champions Trophy had to qualify for the 2006 event, but now they are just one game away from the finals. Along the way, they beat the current world champions, Australia, but then went and lost to one of the worst performing ODI teams, England. That's been the modus operandi of the West Indies cricket team in recent years and their fans are desperate to see some consistency. The competition is now at the sudden-death stage, and just two more wins will bring tons of joy to the Caribbean people.

West Indies have been going through a seemingly endless transitional period in recent years. Their batting cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be said to be consistent but in Lara, Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan, there is undeniable talent. The bowling department, on the other hand, has lacked the "stars" that teams yearn for, but in this tournament, they can feel proud of the way they've stood up to the challenge.

Before we get carried away, we have to admit that the playing conditions have certainly helped West Indies. So far, we haven't seen many pitches that any of the batsmen would like to roll up and carry around with them, but nevertheless, Ian Bradshaw and Jerome Taylor in particular have done very good jobs.

In limited-overs cricket, bowlers are usually asked to do specific jobs. You will always find a few that captains are happy to throw the ball to at any stage of the game, but in this Windies team, Bradshaw has done a very good job at the top of the innings. He hasn't got a lot of pace (and never has had) but he makes up for that in variety and brain power.

He thinks a lot about what he does and has enough common sense to know what his strengths and weaknesses are, and enough humility to operate within those boundaries. It may not seem like a lot but it's a very important facet for success as a medium-pacer. Too many of his ilk have inflated opinions of their "pace" and end up being carted around the ground because they are bowling the wrong length.

Bradshaw also has good control. He tends to bowl over the wicket most of the time where his left-armed deliveries angle naturally across the right-handers and create problems, especially if there is a bit of swing around. If he didn't have the necessary control, however, it would be disastrous. Bradshaw has usually completed his allocation of overs before the end of an innings, and that's the best way to use his assets. By then, it's time to hand over to another gentleman who has been doing well in this tournament.



Jerome Taylor: stronger and wiser © Getty Images
Taylor has been the "finisher" for the Windies. It's not an easy job bowling the last few overs of an innings. That's when the batsmen have almost nothing to lose and come out with all guns blazing. The more wickets they have in hand, the bigger the guns and the more bullets they fire. Bowlers need to keep their nerve and remember their gameplan, but they also need to be flexible enough to adjust to last-minute innovations by the batsmen at the crease.

Taylor has come a long way in a comparatively short period of time. He was selected for West Indies at an early age because of his natural ability and easy bowling action. Some say it was too early, but I don't quite agree. It wasn't too early for him to be selected but it was too early for him to be asked to carry the entire attack. With the workload that was thrust upon him, his injuries were inevitable.

But he has come back now a stronger person and has obviously been working, not just on his physical capabilities, but also on the mental side of his game. He is stronger and so naturally faster, and able to maintain that pace over a longer period. He has the necessary control as well, as demonstrated by that hat-trick against Australia. The dismissal of Brad Hogg was the perfect illustration of what is required to bowl at the "death". The delivery had pace and direction and to top it all off, he wasn't affected by the late movement of the batsman at the crease designed to try and put him off his game.

While that was impressive, what has also impressed a lot of people is that, although he was on a hat-trick, he wasn't even aware of it, his thoughts were directed at one thing, helping his team to win a game. He is not yet the finished article and will continue to have his good and bad days, but that's the nature of the job. Bowling at that stage of the game will have its ups and downs but as he matures and gains experience, the good days should far outweigh the bad.