Windies has balanced squad for Bangladesh tour - Simmons

By Sports Desk January 12, 2021

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, believes the team has travelled with a balanced bowling line-up for the Bangladesh tour, despite recent discussions surrounding too many spinners being selected for the squad.

The issue was brought to the fore after up and coming fast bowler Chemar Holder was left out of the Test team for the tour.  Holder, who made his debut in New Zealand, showed plenty of promise in tough conditions.  Chief of selectors Roger Harper went on to explain that the player had been left out to accommodate more spinners, in order to take advantage of Bangladesh’s slow pitches.

The Test squad selected included four spinners but also has the usual pace bowling trio of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph and Simmons insists the balance of the first team is yet to be settled.

“I think we are here with a balanced squad, we have three spinners, we have three fast bowlers and a seeming all-rounder, it’s a case where we have balance all round,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom conference on Tuesday.

“So, it’s a case where we have balance all around.  The decision has to be made whether we go with three fast bowlers, two spinners, two fast bowlers, three spinners, a decision hasn’t been made yet.  We just have a balanced lineup and that’s what we came here with.  We will make decisions closer to the game.”

 

 

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    1. Windies men- Nothing to lose so much to gain!

    It is no secret that as the West Indies get set to face Bangladesh on January 20, in their first One-Day International, the home side is the overwhelming favourite, especially because of their track record of winning at home. The Windies enter against a backdrop comprising of several senior players opting out, Hayden Walsh Jr getting Covid-19 mere days before the first ODI, eight players making their ODI debut and the captain, Jason Mohammed, who last played for the Windies in 2018. Despite all these factors, they walk into this series with nothing to lose and so much to gain.

    It is easy to point out the lack of experience in the Windies team. Simply put, as I mentioned before, eight of the players suiting up will be making their debuts. In the ODI setup, Rovman Powell is the most experienced having played 34 matches with the skipper Jason Mohammed ranked second with 28. While this is enough to say the Windies team is inexperienced we must also note that Bangladesh also has three uncapped players - off-spinner Mahadi Hasan and pacers Shorful Islam and Hasan Mahmud.

    Similarly, it is natural to feel uneasy that ODI skipper Jason Mohammed has been out of Windies cricket since 2018. However, we cannot forget that Mohammed previously captained the Windies in an ODI against England in 2017 and in three T20Is during their 2018 Pakistan tour.

    It was during a similar situation when key players refused to play and CWI thrust Mohammed to the helm.

    All things considered, it is not always a disadvantage to be the underdogs if the team is physically and mentally ready. In World-Cup-winning captain Clive Lloyd’s open letter to the team, he highlighted that he made his debut on short notice against India 1966. He got his call up just hours before the game and went on to score 82 and 78. 

    And, in that is the bigger picture. A ticket to the World Cup awaits any player who seizes this moment. Wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva impressed on his Test debut in New Zealand where he scored an impressive half-century.

    Batsman Kjorn Ottley is another player who could force his way into the first team. In 2019, he played for Barbados in the 50-over competition and scored 325 runs in the nine innings at an average of 54.16.  All-rounder Akeal Hosein will be eager to transfer his CPL form into this format of the game.

    The 27-year-old was the leading wicket-taker in T&T’s 2020 first-class season with a total of 36 wickets at an average of 20.61. 

     

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    He also made an appearance at a Zoom fundraiser for a progressive political candidate half-hour before the tipoff of a Nets game.  He needs to show up mentally and physically.  Harden is out of shape and will have to avoid getting into Covid-19 trouble again. Additionally, it will be in the team’s best interest if KD stays injury free and avoids getting the virus again.

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    Kevin Durant, without a doubt, is a selfless player. He sacrificed his Achilles when he returned to the 2019 NBA finals too soon.  His value to the team goes without saying, however, a key element of the Nets success this season will be his acceptance of the leadership role. 

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    Having battled hard to make 359 all out in their second innings, Sri Lanka gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Lasith Embuldeniya quickly removed England openers Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley. 

    The run out of captain Joe Root, who was called through for a single that was never on before falling over as he dived to unsuccessfully make his ground, left the tourists teetering at 20-3. 

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    TON-DERFUL MOMENT FOR THIRIMANNE

    Thirimanne's previous Test century also came at the same venue; he made 155 not out against Bangladesh back in March 2013. The left-handed opener may not have featured in this match had captain Dimuth Karunaratne not been ruled out with a fractured thumb, but he seized his opportunity.

    In total, he faced 251 deliveries and hit 12 boundaries, helping at least restore some pride for Sri Lanka after they had been dismissed for 135 on a dismal opening day.

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    Leach had not played in a Test since November 2019, since when an illness and the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted him to just two first-class appearances. The left-arm spinner could be forgiven for a little rustiness, then.

    However, he stuck manfully to his task during the innings, sending down 41.5 overs to claim his second five-wicket haul in Tests. His other also came against Sri Lanka, at Pallekele back in November 2018.
     

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