Bangladesh vs West Indies: Batting remains Windies' major concern

Mon, Nov 26, '18


Team Selection

Like most teams, Bangladesh can be worthy adversaries when playing at home. Not that long ago, visiting teams to Bangladesh hardly expected to be tested, but as England, Sri Lanka and Australia found out recently, Shakib Al Hasan and his men can be tough opponents. A battery of spinners on turning wickets can be difficult to overcome, a lesson visitors to the subcontinent are frequently forced to absorb.

The West Indies are enduring this lesson now. Set 224 to win the first Test at Chittagong, they fell 64 runs short, with left-arm spinner Taijul Islam snaring six wickets for a paltry 33 runs.

Facing the spin battery on this pitch was indeed difficult, but West Indies' often inept and injudicious batting didn't help their cause either.

Take Kieran Powell, for example. The tall left-hander recklessly ran down the wicket at a flighted delivery, the 16th of the innings as well as the first he faced. Aiming a big hit over mid-wicket, he was expecting turn from a ball that continued in a straight line. He missed, and was out stumped, embarrassingly. He was the first batsman in Test history to be stumped off the first ball he received.

Powell's carelessness was hard to fathom. One can understand the batsman's desire to wrest the upper hand early against bowling he knew would be difficult in the conditions. But surely he could have tried to assess the level of the threat before premeditatedly advancing down the wicket as he did. It is hard to recall a more wasteful effort.

Shimron Hetmyer batted well in the first innings and began aggressively in the second. But there was some rashness about the way he got out. Having made 27 from 19 deliveries with three fours and a six, he tried for another six over long off, but only succeeded in picking out the fielder in that area. It was a needless gift of a wicket.

It is the Guyanese left-hander's normal approach, however, and if we laud the one that is lifted out of the ground, then we probably should not lament too much the one that lands down the fielder's throat. But players in a team have a duty to try and figure out what benefits the team the most. Getting the runs in a rush, if possible, would've been useful, but evaluating whether the added risk involved was advisable was worth serious consideration also.