Windies batsmen will struggle against spin- Ex-Windies Pacer Tony Gray said
By Sean Devers
Kaieteur News- Former Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies manager Anthony Gray joined former West Indies Captains Clive Lloyd and Ramnaresh Sarwan to express surprise at the fact that 22-year-old Bamar Holder Bajan was not selected in the Windies Test squad for a tour of Bangladesh that kicks off January 20 with the first ODI.
Gray, head of the T&T National Selection panel before being replaced last year, shared his thoughts and the selection of left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who was unavailable from the Region’s top 12 players due to the pandemic and feels struggling against spins on the sub-continental fields.
The 53-year-old who claimed 22 wickets from five Tests and 44 wickets in 25 ODIs between 1985 and 1991, was speaking on the Sean Devers Sports Watch on Kaieteur Radio last Wednesday.
“I think when you look at Chemar Holder who performed very well in last year’s broken Regional season taking 36 wickets on just 19 runs per wicket of eight games, we saw in his first Test match in New Zealand that he has performed efficiently well and has a record of doing well in Bangladesh.
At the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, when he replaced Obed McCoy, he bowled very quickly and has a track record of doing well against sub-continent teams.
He won a five-wicket draw not so long ago at the Queen’s Park Oval against India’s ‘A’ team that can compete with many Test teams. So I’m surprised that it wasn’t selected for the Test series and that the selectors have not gone away from repairing on conditions. You have to look at the overall picture and you are up against batsmen who are more comfortable against spin, ”said the manager whose injury was affected by his promising Test career.
Permaul has 18 wickets from six Tests but his last Test match was in November 2015. During his time of non-selection he has taken no less than 40 wickets and reached 50 on three occasions. Over the last five seasons, Permaul has won 223 wickets from 45 First Class games.
“It’s nice that Permaul has had another opportunity since it has been very productive in Regional cricket which is not always a great standard for measuring a player to play international cricket.
Our Regional standard is very low and it is sometimes difficult for the players to make a successful transition when they make the West Indies team. But it’s good to see him back after grabbing 50 wickets last season from just eight games and bowling 310 overs … which tells him a lot. He shows he has endurance and experience since he is now 31 and will hopefully perform well, ”added Gray whose best ODI figures are 6-50 against Australia in Port-Spain.
Gray feels he will test because of foreign conditions.
“In Bangladesh the pitches will be dry and abrasive most of the time, not only in the ODIs but also in the Test matches. I look at the skill factors, if we are efficient in terms of skill factors, especially the batsmen then our players will be confident but Bangladesh have a very good side in home conditions.
These young players will be tested because I don’t think they have the skills to cope with the moving ball … the ball that is spinning … in those conditions where you will be ‘ n have extravagant swing and spin due to the abrasive nature of the field.
Our batsmen do not use their feet to get the pitch of the ball to push the spinners back, while they are generally unable to sweep that attacking attack against spin. I see testing time for our young players, ”lamented Gray who played three Tests against Pakistan and two against New Zealand.
Gray feels that West Indies will find it very difficult to get to Bangladesh since we toured there a few years ago with the strongest team available and we struggled.
“I don’t see us having the constant concentration as batters to do well on those pitches that I expect to be abrasive on the final two days of the Test match, so I expect the batters to find it difficult, ”Opined Gray.
“I think it will be left to our bowlers to be aggressive on the fields of Bangladesh and get early wickets but it gives the youth a chance to show their worth and hopefully we can see some stars coming out of ‘ this trip.
The mindset of the fast bowlers will be important, which is why I think Chemar should have been in the Test team.
The fast bowlers must learn to adapt and adapt on Bangladesh pitches.
The bowl of Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph is still mostly short and back but in Bangladesh they will have to lift the ball more. When I started my career in Pakistan I had 14 wickets in three Test matches and had learned to bow further up to bat to get him to swing around.
But as a Trinidadian fast bowler these pitches are slow so you are familiar with bowling those lengths and the same can be said for Guyanese fast bowlers.
You don’t want to put it in the minds of the young accelerators that you can only perform well in certain conditions.
I want to see them attack the batters more. In England and New Zealand, they were bowling too wide off the stump and not attacking the bat, ”Gray emphasized.
Gray said predicting the outcome of the Test series depends a lot on Bangladesh’s performance.
“We know that Shakib Al Hasan is back from a year’s ban and that Bangladesh has not played much cricket lately. They may be rusty and we don’t know how fit they are.
We just have to wait and see how they perform. We have young players who have talent but talent for me is not enough. There are other things that come along with talent; self-belief, being able to concentrate for long periods of time, being able to watch the ball on the bat, opening a face to spinners and having clarity of mind, ”Gray noted
“Many of our young players lack clarity and are struggling under pressure. Hopefully they can get into the fifth day and if they can, who knows what may happen.
It’s a great opportunity for the young players to put their hands up and if I were in that position I would seize the opportunity and show some bravado and confidence, ”the former T&T Coach continued.
“You look at Blackwood who doesn’t have the great technique of Gordon Greenidge or Desmond Haynes but what he has is that the interior quality is not intimidating by anyone and we need more players like that. but they must also have the skill, ”said Gray.
Giving his opinion on opting out of the tour due to safety and personal reasons from top players said he was very disappointed.
“Obviously it’s not a novelty issue yet (we) went to England and subsequently to New Zealand so I was very disappointed that 10 of our top players opted out of those due to safety concerns and two decided not to go for personal reasons.
So that’s 12 of our top players unavailable and we want to climb the ladder in all formats. Without our best team it’s very difficult for us to do, ”said Gray, who played for Surry in English County Cricket from 1985 to 1990 and Western Providence in South Africa between 1993 and 1994.