Windiesí current lack of identity the loudest cry coming out of subcontinent Tests

Thu, Dec 6, '18

by KRISSANIA YOUNG

Commentary

Although the West Indies slid to an historic innings and 184-run defeat to Bangladesh in the 2nd Test in Mirpur on Sunday morning, what did we honestly learn? Besides the fact that it became crystal clear that Kraigg Brathwaite is not a Test Captain; nothing else can be classified as ‘news’ from a Windies point of view, based on the two-match Test series between Windies and Bangladesh. And while it is becoming increasingly evident that this West Indies team is a different prospect without their leader, Jason Holder, it is still difficult to accept that Windies’ replacement for either of their two bowlers in the top six of Test seam bowlers in 2018 (Holder and Gabriel) is Shermon Lewis.

Sherman Lewis

In an honest assessment of Lewis, he has not offered much to the bowling attack to date; he offers nothing by way of swinging the ball nor is he a fast bowler by definition. It can’t even be recalled a time when he hit line and length on a consistent basis neither in Rajkot nor in Mirpur. Therefore, what is the purpose of Shermon Lewis in the team?

West Indies Cricket is in a rut. However, despite the in-between wickets in the Caribbean and the fact that only Gabriel has genuine pace in our Test attack, our bowling unit has been able to cop *90% of wickets, prior to the Mirpur Test, in 2018 (an improvement on 74% in 2016 and 85% in 2017). With this improving bowling attack, it can be concluded that the batting is what keeps holding this team hostage. Therefore, it would be a backward step to select Lewis, as well as a slap in the face to the time and work Holder and company put into making themselves a threat. Until we can identify what makes him a bowler (except for a bowling action) the selection of Lewis will remain, in the eyes of Caribbean fans, a step backward.

The Matter of Kraigg Brathwaite as Interim Captain

Day 1 of the 2nd Test was an evenly contested one, all things considered. Shakib Al Hasan was even in some discomfort in typical new-to-the-crease fashion. However, instead of encouraging young Lewis to dangle the proverbial carrot outside off stump (or anything remotely along those lines), Brathwaite was off setting the field for Lewis to bowl short with traps deep on the leg side. Then, a string of insipid decisions from the visitors began to sway the innings the way of the hosts; there was no more a decisive factor than when Roston Chase trapped the Bangladeshi captain in front (Hawkeye showed it would have hit leg) and the discussion to review (Windies decided against it) didn’t even seem to include our stand-in captain. With this criticism of Brathwaite’s captaincy, we take nothing away from his batting and his contribution to the finest moments in the Holder era, but KRAIGG BRATHWAITE IS NOT A TEST CAPTAIN.

However heart-breaking it is to see the West Indies being swept 2-0 by Bangladesh, the priority of Cricket West Indies now should be hopping on the home-dominance train. A train which route now includes stops at most top Test cricket nations. This itself will be an operation. One would assume that this automatically means the unveiling of faster wickets in the Caribbean. However, our batsmen themselves are unable to negotiate fast bowling, which translates to West Indies Cricket’s current lack of identity. Therefore, operation ‘home-dominance’ must begin at identifying the strengths of this generation of West Indian players.

*Wickets taken when the opposition was made to bat

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