West Indies to Remain Unchanged for Decider?

Thu, Jul 23, '20



A draw will be enough for the West Indies to retain the Wisden Trophy when the Caribbean side squares off with England in the final of their three-match Test series beginning on Friday morning in Manchester. Holder’s men, however, will be hoping for more, in the form of forty more points to add to their current ICC World Test Championship tally of the same amount and a potential move to 6th on the nine-team standing.

Already an uphill task, injuries might force the West Indies to go into the game upsetting the seam attack that has accounted for fifty-six (56) of a possible eighty (80) wickets in the four Tests in which they’ve all featured. Yet bowling coach Roddy Estwick has insisted that the injuries sustained by pacers Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph, in the second Test match, are not “major”.

“[Gabriel’s] an experienced player now, and we’ve got to make sure that he gets the right rest and gets his treatment in or whatever he needs to make sure he’s on the park on Friday,” Estwick said.

Speaking of Joseph: “We know the injury he had, but you could see that he bowled in the second innings on the last morning. He had a bowl and he looked quite well.”

While further confirming the West Indies’ reluctance to make changes, he continued, “You’ve got to trust them [Joseph and Gabriel] to sit down and have an honest discussion, find out where they’re at and then make a decision.”

Should those ‘discussions’ not come to ideal conclusions for the West Indies, the options would not be lacking as the services of young Chemar Holder, who accounted for thirty-six (36) wickets at an average of 18.91 in the 2019/20 Regional 4-Day Championship, is available to the team; with the alternative being 29-year-old left-arm seamer, Raymon Reifer.

The West Indies, should they decide to change the make-up of the bowling attack, will also have the option of off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, who boasts thirteen wickets in his two Test appearances so far.

While the West Indies bowlers race against fitness, the batting line-up might more readily see changes, this, due to form, or the lack thereof; as John Campbell continues to frustrate and Shai Hope continues to confound.

In this vein, there lies the possibility of Jamaican middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, replacing Hope for a Test debut at age 31, after averaging 58.11 in seven (7) matches in the recently concluded First-Class season. With the alternative for opener Campbell being Trinidadian wicket-keeper batsman Joshua Da Silva, who is currently in the reserves.

However, on the eve on the final Test, no adjustment has been made to the touring side’s current 15-man squad. Therefore, we might see one, if not both, of Campbell and Hope, retain their place in the team. Which heightens the possibility of an unchanged XI.

The final Test will be played at Old Trafford Manchester, beginning at 6 AM ECT or 5 AM Jamaica time on Friday morning.

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