A BLEAK tour of England for the West Indies is what former Cricket West Indies (CWI) director Baldath Mahabir is predicting, especially as the regional team will be missing the batting pair of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer.
Bravo and Hetmyer, along with all-rounder Keemo Paul, decided not to make the trip for the three-match Test series.
On the team’s batting, Mahabir said, “The fact that two batsmen in Bravo and Hetmyer are not going, the selectors would have been in a difficult position. I am not sure that the inexperience will do the team any good.”
Bravo has played 54 Test matches and despite Hetmyer playing just 16 matches he would be missed, as he is regarded as one of the most talented batsmen in the region. There are several inexperienced batsmen in the Windies squad with the likes of Jermaine Blackwood (28 matches), Nkrumah Bonner (uncapped), John Campbell (six) and Shamarh Brooks (three) making the trip.
“People like Bonner going on a tour like that there is very little chance to recuperate from the way the matches are structured, almost three games in three weeks. The inexperience of the batting is a real challenge for me, but I don’t know what more the selectors could have done (given) the scenario (that Bravo and Hetmyer pulled out.)”
Mahabir was disappointed that left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell was not considered for the tour. “I still find it surprising...he would have been for me an asset on this tour given his performances in the (2019) World Cup in the UK and the fact that he is one of our improving bowlers.”
Raymon Reifer is a left-arm medium pacer, but Mahabir said Cottrell is more of a wicket-taking bowler.
The former CWI director still believes the Windies fast bowling department is “not in bad hands” with the quartet of Jason Holder, Chemar Holder, Alzarri Joseph and Kemar Roach in the team. Mahabir said off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall would provide variety as the “best spinner in the Caribbean.”
West Indies won the Wisden Trophy (the trophy awarded when England and West Indies play) in 2019 with a 2-1 series win in the Caribbean. On West Indies’ chances in England, Mahabir said, “Not a very good chance.
I hope we do well (and) I hope we are competitive, but the inexperience of the team and the fact England is at home and we are coming off an aborted (local) season. All I would like us to be is competitive. I would want to be optimistic, but I don’t see us excelling.”
West Indies will arrive in Manchester on June 9 to begin preparations for the first Test which bowls off on July 8.
According to a CWI release, “The touring party, who will all be tested for covid19 this week, are scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.”
West Indies will be based in Manchester for three weeks before travelling to Southampton for the first Test at Ageas Bowl. The Jason Holder-led team will return to Manchester for the second and third matches at the Emirates, Old Trafford starting on July 16 and 24 respectively. The tour was uncertain for months due to covid19, but CWI and the England and Wales Cricket Board want the series to be played once the United Kingdom Government approves it.
The entire series will be played behind closed doors and the Windies players will remain in a bio-secure environment.
Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach
Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican