FORMER director of the West Indies Cricket Board (now Cricket West Indies) Baldath Mahabir, said the West Indies showed improvement during the T20 series defeat to India. However, he said the team needs reinforcements and would welcome the return of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine to boost the regional team’s performances.
India got past West Indies 2-1 in the three-match T20 series that ended in India, on Wednesday. West Indies were competitive for the majority of the series. In the opening match, West Indies scored 207/5 and India responded with 209/4 in 18.4 overs to take a 1-0 lead.
West Indies levelled the series with a strong all around effort in the second match. India were restricted to 170/7 batting first and West Indies replied with 173/2 in 18.3 overs.
India left its best for the final match scoring a mammoth 240/3 and limiting West Indies to 173/8 to seal the series win.
Mahabir said, “I thought it was an improvement all around in West Indies cricket. In the batting, the fielding, the running in between the wickets and to a lesser extent the bowling, but generally I thought it was an improvement. We still have a long way to go, but it was an improvement.”
All rounder Russell has not played for West Indies since suffering a knee injury during the 2019 50-Over World Cup in England in June and spinner Narine has been struggling with a finger injury for most of this year.
“This team needs reinforcement. We have some people on the outside – the Sunil Narines, the Andre Russell, Rovman Powell and we still need another spinner of quality.”
Mahabir said he wants leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jr and left-arm spinner Khary Pierre to develop further and believes the West Indies team need at least one more wicket-taking fast bowler.
Asked if there is space on the T20 team for Dwayne Bravo, Mahabir said, “Not with the present set up. If you have (Kieron) Pollard as an all rounder, Russell as an all rounder and Jason Holder as an all rounder I don’t see where he could fit.”
Mahabir said he is confident in the partnership of new captain Pollard and coach Phil Simmons going forward but said, “What we still need to work strongly on is rotation of strike, too many dot balls and (better) running between the wickets. We really need to improve in those areas.”
India and West Indies will begin a three-match ODI series on Sunday. Mahabir said India are the favourites.
“I would expect India to beat the West Indies, but what I would hope that we are competitive in the whole environment (series) because India showed some of their true potential in the last T20. The Rohit Sharma innings, the other opener (KL) Rahul and (Virat) Kohli is virtually unstoppable. I expect that they will more than likely defeat West Indies, but I will like to see West Indies make big scores and at times have the Indians back against the wall.”