FORMER West Indies fast bowler Tony Gray and former West Indies Cricket Board director Baldath Mahabir says the West Indies bowling attack has become predictable and one dimensional, explaining the fast bowlers need to change their strategy.
West Indies suffered a seven-wicket loss to Bangladesh at the International Cricket Council 50-over World Cup on Monday, as the regional team's goal of making the semifinals took a further blow.
West Indies are now seventh in the ten-team standings after playing five matches which includes one win, three losses and one no result.
The West Indies strategy of bowling short worked perfectly for the regional side in the team's opening match of the World Cup, as they bowled out Pakistan for 105. After that seven-wicket win against the Pakistanis the Windies have continuously bowled short with little success.
Gray, who played 25 One Day Internationals for West Indies between 1985 and 1991, said the bowlers must change the plan. "They looking to play aggressive cricket right through. The game plan cannot be just to bounce out people. It has to be consistency, expand the score by the way of early pressure. Once you get early pressure you going to get wickets."
Gray, who took 44 wickets at an economy rate of 3.94 in his playing career, said all the bowlers have similar skills. "We have a one dimensional attack – short balls, short balls all the time. There is no swing...no (bowling) in the areas of uncertainty. It is just short and we have become so predictable and there is a misconception that the Bangladeshis and the sub continent batsmen can't play short balls. That is a thing of the past, they playing in the IPL and they being fed a lot of short balls and they not as timid as they use to be against the short ball."
Gray, who said West Indies were about 20 runs short when batting first, said it is nothing wrong with some bowlers limiting runs and not attacking the batsmen all the time. "If you not getting a wicket, but you are going for three runs an over that is not bad, but now it is always attacking and trying to bounce out the batsmen and that is wrong."
Mahabir said he was not surprised that we lost to Bangladesh, but how badly we lost. Mahabir said, "Our short pitch bowling has become a sort of golden handcuff around the West Indies. We were successful with it in the first game and we have gotten locked into that mode, almost like it handcuffing us and we have become static in our thinking."
West Indies posted a competitive 321/8 in 50 overs batting first with Shai Hope cracking 96, Evin Lewis scoring 70 and Shimron Hetmyer contributing an even 50. Bowling for Bangladesh, Mohammad Saifuddin took 3/72 in ten overs and Mustafizur Rahman grabbed 3/59 in nine overs.
Bangladesh raced to victory getting to 322/3 in 41.3 overs with Shakib Al Hasan belting 124 not out and Liton Das scoring 94 not out. Earlier in the innings Tamim Iqbal made 48.
It was Al Hasan's second successive century in the tournament. Al Hasan and Das combined for an unbeaten 189 in 22.3 overs, receiving plenty of bad deliveries to treat ruthlessly.
The result was no surprise. Bangladesh came in having beaten the West Indies in seven of their last nine matches, including the last four, all from batting second.
The Bangladeshis prepared meticulously for the short ball, even taking hits to the body in the nets, and the preparation paid off. Their cause was added by the pacemen often bowling too short, too full or wayward. They conceded 25 wides. Shannon Gabriel and Oshane Thomas were liabilities, and the decision to play injured allrounder Andre Russell was questionable.
Mahabir believes West Indies were counting on pace so they chose Russell. "I think the West Indies put all their eggs in one basket to win the game with pace and it did not work...the option would have been to play (Ashley) Nurse or (Carlos) Brathwaite and they made the decision clearly that a half fit Russell was better than the options available." Gray thinks that Russell should have been rested.
C Gayle c wkp Mushfiqur Rahim b Mohammad Saifuddin*0
E Lewis c (sub) Sabbir Rahman b Shakib Al Hasan*70
+S Hope c Liton Das b Mustafizur Rahman*96
N Pooran c Soumya Sarkar b Shakib Al Hasan*25
S Hetmyer c Tamim Iqbal b Mustafizur Rahman*50
A Russell c wkp Mushfiqur Rahim b Mustafizur Rahman*0
*J Holder c Mahmudullah b Mohammad Saifuddin*33
D Bravo b Mohammad Saifuddin*19
O Thomas not out*6
Extras (lb6, w16)*22
TOTAL (8 wkts, 50 overs)*321
Did not bat: S Cottrell, S Gabriel.
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Gayle, 3.2 overs), 2-122 (Lewis, 24.3), 3-159 (Pooran, 32.2), 4-242 (Hetmyer, 39.3), 5-243 (Russell, 40), 6-282 (Holder, 43.4), 7-297 (Hope, 47), 8-321 (Bravo, 50)
Bowling: Mashrafe Mortaza 8-1-37-0, Mohammad Saifuddin 10-1-72-3 (w6), Mustafizur Rahman 9-0-59-3 (w5), Mehidy Hasan 9-0-57-0 (w1), Mosaddek Hossain 6-0-36-0, Shakib-al-Hasan 8-0-54-2.
Tamim Iqbal run out*48
Soumya Sarkar c Gayle b Russell*29
Shakib Al Hasan not out*124
+Mushfiqur Rahim c wkp Hope b Thomas*1
Liton Das not out*94
Extras (b1, w25)*26
TOTAL (3 wkts, 41.3 overs)*322
Did not bat: Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, *Mashrafe Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman.
Fall of wickets: 1-52 (Soumya Sarkar, 8.2 overs), 2-121 (Tamim Iqbal, 17.3), 3-133 (Mushfiqur Rahim, 19)
Bowling: Cottrell 10-0-65-0 (w3), Holder 9-0-62-0 (w1), Russell 6-0-42-1 (w1), Gabriel 8.3-0-78-0 (w2), Thomas 6-0-52-1 (w5), Gayle 2-0-22-0 (w1).
Result: Bangladesh won by seven wickets.
Points: Bangladesh 2, West Indies 0.
Umpires: Rod Tucker, Sundaram Ravi; TV – Paul Wilson.