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West Indies in England


An Tarbh

Surprised there hasn't been anything on this so far, not been the greatest of test series as both teams are nowhere near the levels where they should be. There's been some impressive batting from England with all the batsmen bar Strauss making centuries and Pietersen making his maiden double hundred at Headingly, although the bolwing from the West Indies has certainly lacked something of the previous generations to come to England. England's bowling has been pretty poor again with Harmison and Plunkett hardly deserving of their spots after some abject performances, Monty continues to prove what a talent he is and Sidebottom has been a surprise for Michael Vaughan, although how much of a future has he got if a fit Jones, Hoggard and Flintoff come back into the mix.

England should wrap up the series today if Panesar and Sidebottom can repeat their form of the first innings, wouldn't have much hope with Plunkett and Harmison.
I think this whole series has been a collective tragedy for the West Indies. I didn't want to see this. I didn't want to see West Indian fieldsmen putting down sitters or letting slow balls roll between their legs on their way towards the boundary.

Edwards, Bravo and Sammy are three very talented bowlers but their talent is being put to waste because they don't get enough first class cricket. Outside of test matches, these chaps only play about four or five first class games a year and that is horrible. Back in the 1990s there were 14 or 15 West Indians playing in England & Wales, now that number is just 2.

That American billionaire who bankrolls West Indian cricket might have to dip into his pockets and fund a new first class cricket tournament for them because at this rate, the West Indies are going to vanish as a test nation. And that would be yet another disgrace laid at the door of Malcolm Speed and the ICC in their ivory tower at Dubai.
Good points Prestwick.

As for England, the return of Hoggard, Jones, and hopefully Trescothick will improve the England team.
An attacking line up of Hoggard, Jones, Sidebottom Panesar and Plunkett would be good. Having a line up with an in form Harminson instead of Plunkett would be even better but here is the problem.

Harminson hasn't been in form since his demolition of the West Indies back in late 2004. Every year since then, he has averaged about 30 - 40 runs per innings and more or less 2 wickets an innings. I shudder to think what his extras total is. And the problem is purely mental, he doesn't have that much self esteem to begin with let alone confidence. Very easy to break under pressure, his 'tells' are lobbing the ball so wide that the Umpires have to get a radar printout from the nearby Airport to see where the ball went. He breaks easily under pressure and he needs to toughen up if he wants to take on sides like India, Australia or even Ireland.

Thankfully, today Harminson is (finally) on the ticket. Brutal bouncers, accurate bowling with the right length, this is exactly what Harminson should be. I've seen more aggression from Harminson in these last three hours than I've seen in all of the last 18 months that he has played at test level. The advice you need to give Harmy is not to shirk from being sledged by the opposition press and batsmen but to use the Brett Lee method - stop apologising, get angry and get even.

Tresco is same. He can't simply come back and demand a place on the team like he did last year for the abortive Ashes tour, only to suddenly cry off with "mental problems" and leave his team mates in the lurch. If he wants to play for England, he needs to sort himself out and actually play a full test year with the team, not sit there and sob like a little baby.

When Flintoff comes along, I can see Strauss going to make room for Freddy. Even Bell has managed to make a couple of decent innings (and Ian Bell is the textbook definition of a "rabbit" if I ever did see one). Strauss has had an awful time of it late, especially when bowlers have sussed him out and start to just pepper him with lengths which he just hates to bat at. He is a good batsman, he just needs to learn to bat against inventive pace bowling with swing and spinners.
You can't possibly have that attacking line up of those bowlers, we struggle with three No. 11's as it is.

Harminson - I agree today was a supreme improvement in his performance today, but as with everything, confidence can only be built on performace. Donald seems to have done a good job so far, I think tomorrow will be a good test.

As for Tresco, the only way he is demanding his place back is by his performance in Country cricket - when Mark Nicholas said he is scoring 'stacks of runs', he was not exaggerating. I think your assessment is a bit harsh, he played until he felt he physically/mentally could not. I haven't seen any other evidence of a willingness to 'shirk', and I respect the fact that personal circumstances can really affect performance, especially in a game so based on concentration.

Straus was the suggestion made by the commentators on Five as the man who loses out if Flintoff comes back, the only problem is, who would then open? You don't have a 'natural' opener in the side, aside from Vaughn obviously.

As for Plunkett, he's gone as soon as Hoggard is fit.
Of course we have a natural opener, Cook! He's done really well as an opener so far and works really well with Vaughn so pop them in at 1 & 2. I have my doubts that Strauss will be deselected (he is, after all, a Middlesex man and selectors seem to stick by Middlesex men by a battered wife to her husband) but this time, he's just got to make way.

In any case, the only way Tresco could come back is if the England selectors break the habit of a lifetime and drop Ian Bell. And again, I don't think that is going to happen. Cook is having a roaring time right now and is in form as is Vaughn. I think we need to shore up our middle order by just inserting Flintoff after Bell and let everyone move up the order by one:

2. Vaughn (Captain)
3. Pietersen
4. Collingwood
5. Bell
6. Flintoff
7. Prior

And there you go, the makings of an absolutely stellar batting line up (excluding the obvious rabbit at number five) considering the circumstances.

Another selection problem is posed by the imminent return of Hoggard and Jones. We need Jones in the side after he has had a few good games for his County and got back in the groove again. Maybe at this point people just need to move aside. It is nice that competition is fierce.

I'm hard on Tresco by the way because this the 2nd time that he has gone along on an overseas tour and then had to cry off once he is actually over there. Next time we go abroad, we really do need to sit everyone down and actually eye them up and ask "are you fit to go on this tour?" and tell them that if they suddenly have to rush home because they're having a mental breakdown or mid life crisis or whatever, then they won't be selected for another tour for at least a year.
sorry lots of words up there, but lookin forward to the final day here, i just bought myself a plazma and can finally watch the cricket in widescreen (and actually be able to see the score, damn sky)

with only 154 runs and 5 wickets in hand to get it should be a good chance for the west inidies to put up a good fight and actually take a game, which i honeslty thought they wouldnt even come this close to getting it.

awesome stuff.
Well, to be honest, we've seen the West Indies in the last innings and in the last test match front up well for the first five wickets but then after that they then collapse to all out in exchange for 50 odd runs. Remove Chanderpaul and you'll have a really good chance of winning.

In the end, lets not let this cloud what is a very desperate situation for the West Indies. This will be Englands to lose not the West Indies to win. At the end of the day, the West Indies will still be in a torrid situation with roughly zilch development at home, infighting on the Cricket Board and a terrible dearth of basic cricketing skills.
without lara the west indies are no good [/b]

Although this is a rather simplistic way of putting it, I think you are right. The question of whether the West Indies where any better with Lara is arguable: I think the point is that, whilst he was there, whether he was a good captain or a bad captain, if he got 0 or 300, at the very least he gave them an identity - they had a World Class player in their ranks.

Unfortunately, they seem a little lost at the moment. Unless Chris Gayle gives something in the dressing room which he does not display on the pitch, I think he is the very worst possible choice for Captain of the OD team.
Guys like Lara, Chanderpaul, Gale, etc, the experienced old salts of West Indian cricket of the late 1980s and 1990s deserve some of the blame for this squad. There looks be little or no mentoring of the new young talent, guys like Dwayne Bravo seem to have become good out of sheer grit and determination because, heh, lets face it, nobody else was going to help him!

Two things need to happen ASAP for the West Indies to perform:

1) Institute plans for a pan Carribean Cricket tournament at all levels.
2) Get the elder players to properly take the young uns' under their wings. If they don't, give em' a kick up the arse.

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