By Rajiv Bisnauth
With recent West Indies struggles on the tour of New Zealand, veteran cricket commentator Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira believes that several changes should be considered before the trip to Bangladesh.
West Indies wrapped up their tour in New Zealand earlier this month when they were beaten firmly by a pub and 12 runs in four days, to lose the series 2-0 following a similar pub loss in the opening Test.
The Caribbean side suffered a strong defeat in the previous three-match T20 International series, and after widespread disappointment, where they failed to impress, Perreira believes the selectors have to make brave selection decisions. “Based on Bangladesh’s spinning conditions, I don’t expect Roach (Kemar), with his furthest passing to turn around and go to Bangladesh, and it won’t be wise for Gabriel (Shannon) to go where the conditions don’t suit really fast bowling.
“I think Shepherd (Romario) has shown both sides of the game, so it could be a great asset to Jason Holder, who along with Alzarri Joseph and Chemar Holder should be completing the fast bowling unit,” Perreira told Chronicle Sport.
He added, “I think the attack should be spin-based. The last time the West Indies toured Bangladesh, Devendra Bishoo and Jomel Warrican were selected. However, while the Cornish Rahkeem figures in New Zealand weren’t that great, I think it will go. I also think Warrican will make the cut, but the selectors should also be looking at Veerasammy Permaul.
“Permaul must be given a chance. He has certainly grabbed wickets; he had done everything he needed to do at first class level to enter, ”calculated Perreira.
Permaul, a 31-year-old Guyanese orthodox left-handed spinner, completed the coveted West Indies 2019-2020 Four-Day Championship (a tournament that used to scout potential Test players) with a chart at the top of 50 wickets in eight games, extending his journey since for the franchise-based Four Day Championship starting in 2014 to 290 wickets in 55 games at 16.90.
However, Permaul has been repeatedly ignored by the selectmen. CWI Chief Selector Roger Harper had recently suggested that the West Indies team structure now prohibits the selection of Permaul.
Harper, a fellow Guyanese, had said while speaking on a Mason and Guest talk show in Barbados – before the team left for England earlier this year – that Permaul’s success didn’t get him close enough.
Further with Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Darren Bravo and Royston Chase looking for form, the West Indies are desperately looking for resilience in their batting.
To this end, Perreira, a former Caribbean sports administrator, thinks the selectors should experiment in the matting department.
“No Campbell or Brathwaite at the top, Joshua Da Silva, who had announced his readiness with Test fifty on the first try and Shane Moseley should be in the top spot. Shai Hope should be back as the wicketkeeper. He will definitely add some depth to the batting, while Nicholas Pooran should also be selected.
“At the same time, I hope Shimron Hetmyer has the opportunity to tour Bangladesh. However, he really needs to settle down, on and off the field, and adjust his attitude and lifestyle a little, ”said Perreira.
He further noted that much will depend on specialist batsman Jermaine Blackwood. The Jamaican middle-order batsman has reached the West Indies batting averages for a second straight outing, the only specialist Caribbean player to emerge unscathed from the miserable series against New Zealand.
The 29-year-old scored 216 runs at an average of 54 and was the only real bright spot. Blackwood in the second innings of the opening Test in Hamilton was the only time a West Indian batsman had seen triple figures in the series.
He followed that with 69 in the first innings of the second Test at the Reserve Basin in Wellington. Leading opener Braithwaite managed only 55 runs, Shamarh Brooks struggled with 53 while Bravo could only scratch 32 runs.
Holder (103), who made a half-century at Wellington and tail-end Joseph, and struck out 86 in Hamilton (110), passed 100 runs for the series.
Meanwhile, Harper is expected to announce the roughly 25-member squad for both Tests and three One-Day Internationals soon.
However, unlike the England tour last July and a tour of New Zealand earlier this month, no reserves will be included in the contingent, mainly due to the shortness of the series.
For the Bangladesh tour, Windies support staff will once again include a psychologist and medical doctor but this time, Paul Slowe will be joining the squad as security, security and compliance manager.
Once players arrive in Bangladesh, they will be quarantined a week before the tour kicks off on January 18 with a one-day tour game.
The opening two ODIs are scheduled for Dhaka on January 20 and 22, with the final match three days later in Chattogram, the city that will also host the first Test (Feb. 3-7) before ‘ Both teams return to Dhaka for the second Test starting February 11.
The trip will be the third to the West Indies in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is a curtailed tour, it is a much needed competition for the home team who have not played any international cricket since hosting Zimbabwe in March.