Windies decision to bat last was wrong

West Indies’ captain Darren Sammy drives for a single off Australia’s Clint McKay during their fifth and final one-day international cricket match in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, Sunday, March 25, 2012.
AP Photo/Andres Leighton
AP Photo/A.M. Ahad

West Indies decision to bat last in the fifth and final One-Day International against Australia was premature. It does not matter if it was Captain Darren Sammy’s decision or a collective decision with Head Coach Ottis Gibson it was still wrong. The fourth One-Day International ended in a victory for the West Indies with most of their batsmen returning to form. Adrian Barath’s return was a boost for the team and Kieron Pollard’s 102 was a clear sign that the West Indies has taken the initiative.

Batting First was Essential

Batting first after winning the toss was important to the West Indies in getting the upper hand of the match. West Indies are playing at home and confidence, along with knowledge about wickets and playing conditions, should be advantages for the host team.

Captain Darren Sammy and Ottis Gibson erred in allowing Australia to take first strike. Team Australia piled up 281 runs with their openers swashbuckled a partnership of 118. Captain Shane Watson and his opening partner David Warner took full advantage and used their experience mixing aggression with caution and expedited their batting powers with excellence.

The most important thing for the Aussies in the final One-Day is that they did not lose an early wicket, while David Warner was more of the aggressor of the two openers playing aggressively against every bowler that he faced. The tourists innings of 281 was boosted by three half centuries by Captain Shane Watson 66, David Warner 69 and Peter Forrest 53. It was unnecessary to give the Aussies first strike. The West Indies were bowled out for 251 losing the game by 30 runs.

Windies captain and head coach will have to modify their decision making going into the test series, which starts Saturday, April 7. The ODI series ended 2-2 a tame draw with one game ended in a tie.

Andre Russell Has Great Potential

Andre Russell has tremendous abilities but his batting must be closely monitored by head coach Ottis Gibson. Russell should be batting at number four because he has the ability to perform against the pace and spin. He is a powerful and confident player who has the courage to bat in that position and produce for the West Indies. Darren Bravo must bat lower in the batting order.

Darren Bravo Must go Down in the Order

It is fitting to allow Dwayne Bravo to bat ahead of his brother Darren Bravo. Inspite of Darren being out of form, he will serve the team much better in One-Day cricket batting at number six. Doing this will create stability for the middle order and give the West Indies batting much more depth.

A vital partnership is important in the top order of the batting and another two at minimum is needed in the middle to reach winning targets. In the top order, aggression must be mixed with excellent consolidation to avoid too many wickets being taken. Dwayne Bravo has been around for a good while and as a senior player he needs to come up with some good scores for the team.

Wicket keeper Carlton Baugh seem to have a crucial battle with the higher level of cricket, he is not getting useful scores and that contributes to the set back of the team for the West Indies to challenge the Aussies in the Test matches they have to bat extremely well and avoid too many mistakes. Windies bowlers seem to be internationally competitive.

Gayle’s Return Still Pending

It is with regret that heads of governments and the West Indies Cricket Board hirearchy had met and still the situation with Chris Gayle and the WICB is unresolved. Chris Gayle was present at the meeting and Chairman of CARICOM Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves emphasized that Gayle and the WICB made mistakes and both parties must give in and solve this matter.

Agreements were not signed and the situation remains the same. In any case Gayle would not be available to play for the West Indies until after July 2012 because of his contractual obligations with the IPL. The West Indies team visits England just after the Australia series ending the latter part of April. It was unfortunate that this matter was not solved to pave the way for Gayle to return after his contractual obligations.

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