DAVID WILLIAMS, former TT and West Indies wicketkeeper, has described the recent performances by the West Indies Test team in Bangladesh as a shame.
The West Indies lost both Tests in Bangladesh within the space of three days. The first Test in Chittagong resulted in a 64-run defeat, and the hosts won the second Test in Dhaka by a record innings-and-184-run margin.
The regional team ironically lost both Tests in India, last month, in three days (innings-and-272 runs in Rajkot and 10 wickets in Hyderabad).
Williams said yesterday, “It’s difficult to beat India in India. We didn’t play as well as we could play. Bangladesh at home is always a tough team. The margin of their victories is out of this world.”
Referring to the second Test, the former TT coach and current TT Cricket Board (TTCB) technical director continued, “How could a Bangladesh team make (508) runs and bowl us out for (113), then bowl us out again (for 213) on the same pitch? There is always pressure when you’re facing 500 but to make (113) is ridiculous.
“It’s really a shame to be honest as to how the guys are playing. They’re trying but we have to do better, especially against the lower-ranked teams. We need to make sure that we win these matches. Bangladesh would continue to go past us.”
Bangladesh are currently ninth in the ICC Test rankings, one spot below the West Indies.
The West Indies Championship (Four-Day) will begin this weekend and Williams was asked if the selectors will have to look at replacements for the struggling top-order trio of Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell and Shai Hope.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “The selectors are doing their jobs. You need to have your (batsmen) getting decent scores. That’s not happening. We’re losing wickets at regular intervals and that’s the problem that we’re having.”
Williams added, “The top order continues to struggle (and) we’re always under a lot of pressure. It’s heart-breaking to see how the guys perform. We know they can play much better than that. It’s sad.”
Brathwaite had a combined total of 48 runs in his last eight innings. Williams suggested that the opening batsman may have to use the West Indies Championship to regain lost form.
“You always say ‘back to the drawing board’ and that means you’ll come to the regional tournament and try to re-establish yourself, and get some confidence,” Williams noted. “When you go to places like Bangladesh without confidence, it’s a little bit difficult.
“The Brathwaite we know is a very stubborn player (and) knows how to bat very long. He’s well-suited for the five-day game. It’s unfortunate the way he’s getting out.”
Braithwaite led the team during the Test series in the absence of Jason Holder, who is recovering from an injured shoulder.
Asked if the captaincy was a burden for Brathwaite, Williams responded, “I know for a fact that he’s a cool customer but that could be an outside appearance. It is a big task for him, being the number one opener and the captain.
“You look around, there is not much (options) when it comes to captaincy. He’s going through a bad patch. We hope things turn around for him very shortly.”
Another talking point in Bangladesh was the inconsistency of the spin trio – Devendra Bishoo (leg), Jomel Warrican (left-arm) and Roston Chase (off), who took seven, eight and four wickets respectively.
“You always try to pick your best team,” said Williams, the veteran of 11 Test and 36 One Day Internationals from 1988-1998. “Bishoo has been around for a long time, Warrican is seasoned as well. These are two of the top bowlers that we have in the Caribbean in terms of spin.”
He continued, “If these two guys can’t get it right, maybe we’ll have to look for somebody else. (TT’s) Imran Khan is one name that comes to mind. He takes a lot of wickets every year. He’s probably not the specialist spinner that they’re looking for, but he gets wickets. He probably could be given an opportunity.
“We just have to trust God and hope that things work out,” Williams ended.