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June 19, 2019
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June 19, 2019

Are lessons being learnt?

It is difficult to determine the main factors that have led to defeats for the WI.

Maybe the sign which triggered my observation was the return home of the chairman of the selectors, whose explanation for departure was unclear.

The choice of Chris Gayle and Andrew Russell to take the field against Australia, for example, after so many incidents when their injuries flared up should be questioned.

Gayle’s injury appears to be chronic and his appearance on the field to bat means he must strike boundaries regularly and forsake the sharp single whenever it’s available. Some folks call him the one-run boundary when he is fielding. While chasing balls to the fence he seldom gets the ball before it strikes the rope.

His aggressive batting has not set the matches afire, either because of his injuries or the quality of bowlers in ODI World Cup cricket is different to the T20 game with its moderate bowlers.

His batting partner Evin Lewis seems to have lost his way in between T20 and ODI, causing his mental focus to go astray. His constant failure has been worrisome.

Now here is the case of all-rounder Andre Russell. He is a superb athlete but has constantly shown that the injury with which he suffered before leaving home has apparently reduced his skill and ability.

What a pity. I hope the team physiotherapist knows the amount of treatment required for Russell to recovery.

Our batsmen have not demonstrated that they can build an innings and have fallen to some irrational shots far too early. The disease is called immaturity. No doubt, Shai Hope is our leading batsman and is prepared to show it.

But ALL our opponents are aiming to keep him at the non-striker’s end as much as they can and expose the inexperienced Shimron Hetmeyer and Nicholas Pooran.

These two youngsters, talented as they are, need a true batting coach. He would show them how to better use their hands and feet, how to build on a good start by getting a close look at what the bowlers are about, understanding spin, and most of all, extracting singles as much as they can during their innings.

There is hope in Shai, but the middle-order batsmen must plan better to take command of bowlers without being adventurous with excessive strokes. It is unfair to place Jason Holder with the burden of reliability as a specialist batsman. He has the desire to play shots and sometimes appears to take a hold of his opponents, but how often is he at the wicket?

In our first match against Pakistan our fast bowlers surprised the one-time champions. Since their defeat, the Pakistanis are regaining their confidence and resilience. Against the Aussies, our quickies bowled 22 wide balls, which meant 22 extra runs. That was probably the deciding factor for the result.

Our selectors decided that speed will do it for us against all opponents. But six fast bowlers and no top-class spinner is a total imbalance. Many of the other teams like India, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have included spinners.

There is time yet and learning lessons has become vital. Get to work selectors, otherwise we will all be sorry at the end.