Windies wasting 22 yards

Thu, Sep 21, '17


Windies v England

Much has been made of the return of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels to West Indies’ one-day side but, while they give the batting line-up a stronger appearance, there is one aspect in which they don’t improve the team: running between the wickets.
Neither of them is keen to put his body on the line to scurry up and down the 22 yards to put pressure on opposition fielders. At Old Trafford, Gayle reached the point of barely walking singles. Initially there appeared to be an injury – he was heard on the stump microphone complaining about a hamstring strain – although he fielded during England’s chase and the West Indies camp said there was no fitness issue.

Marlon Samuels brought West Indies’ momentum down to a crawl in the first ODI at Old Trafford.Samuels struggled for his timing, as did most of West Indies’ batsmen barring Gayle and his early boundary collection, but rather than trying to drop and run a little more, it was either attempt to hit the ball the hard or defend it. Samuels eventually fell for 17 off 46 deliveries, 31 of which were dot balls.
In T20, the block-or-bash method has not hindered West Indies, the immense power in the batting order – over a short duration – means they can overcome dot balls by clearing the boundary. But in the 50-over game, an innings such as Gayle’s 37 off 27 balls from a top-order batsman has less chance of defining a game.
Overall, there were 142 dot balls in West Indies’ 42 overs at Old Trafford – 56.34 per cent of the innings – something pinpointed by captain Jason Holder and Toby Radford, the batting coach, after the match. That, in fact, is a slightly better mark than their figure since the 2015 World Cup, a period in which they have averaged 59.84 per cent of dot balls in an ODI innings. Only Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and UAE are below them in one-day internationals during the period.

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