The West Indian top order are under immense pressure to perform against England
The West Indies showed that they have an amazing team bond and bowling attack in the 2-0 series loss against Australia, but their main concern still lies with the top order batsmen, who failed to contribute with any major innings.
Opening pair, Adrian Barath and Kraigg Brathwaite only scored one half century between them, while Darren Bravo also recorded only one half century and Kieran Powell failed to make any half centuries at all during the series, with his highest knock being 40 runs.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, was once again the top batsmen of the team, scoring a century, along with three half centuries during his five innings, with an outstanding average of 86.50.
His fellow Guyanese, Narsingh Deonarine, also failed with the bat, scoring just one half century throughout the entire series.
West Indies captain, Darren Sammy believes that the top order should be providing most of the runs during a match, and said: “The top six is where we should get the bulk of the runs, Shiv batted really well for us again but we didn’t have consistent contributions from everyone there. We have youngsters at the top and like Shiv said, they’re learning their skill at the international level. With more experience hopefully things could get better.”
Kraigg Brathwaite, who is just 19 years old, will be dropped from the Test squad against England and put in the West Indies A-team, who face India.
“He’s definitely one for the future for us. He’s out of form and in England where the ball tends to swing a bit more…this series he was getting out to the swinging ball a lot,” Sammy said.
After failing to get many runs and good starts against the Australians, Adrian Barath, Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards will be under a lot of pressure to make some big contributions against England.
“At the end of the day, its up to each individual to go out and do what is necessary for the team and to try to perform and score runs,” Sammy said.
“No one wants to go out and fail – it’s about getting your mind right and going out and executing properly. We talk, we develop a plan, a formula to go out and play with, most times we don’t execute properly,” he added.
The West Indies, however, can approach the England side with their heads held up high, after displaying some brilliant fielding, a much more focused attitude and a lethal bowling attack.
Dominican spinner, Shane Shillingford has proved to be an excellent addition for the West Indies squad, after taking 10 wickets in the third Test against Australia.
Captain Darren Sammy and the rest of the West Indies coaching staff will be hoping that pace bowlers, Fidel Edwards and Ravi Rampaul will be more effective against England.
However, the West Indies will be relying on Kemar Roach, who has turned out to be one of the best pace bowlers the country has seen for a while, to trouble the English batsmen.
Roach, who took 19 wickets in the three Test series against Australia is hoping to shrug off the painful memories of 2011, where nothing went right for the seamer.
“Last year he had a tough year in Bangladesh, he broke down in tears but this year he has come back really, really strong,” Sammy said.
Sammy, also noted that he loved the never give up attitude that Roach has taken upon, and said: “People might say well he bowled more overs than me, but he keeps asking me for the ball and that is the sort of attitude I really like to see. When I thought he was tired, he said ‘No, I really want the ball’ putting his hand up. His wickets show the hard work throughout this series.”