Former West Indies fast bowler and Barbados cricketer, Ian Bradshaw, would not be in favour of replacing team captain Jason Holder just yet but believes questions regarding the player’s state of mind must be cleared up.

On the back of an impressive effort in marshaling the squad to defeat Bangladesh, in a two-Test series last week, calls have arisen for Kraigg Brathwaite to lead the team, ahead of regular captain Holder, for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.

Holder missed out on the team’s tour of Bangladesh after being one of 12 players to pull out of the campaign due to health and safety concerns.  In addition, however, the captain, who had led the team to previous tours of England and New Zealand, also admitted to experiencing a high level of fatigue, particularly having gone through several weeks of quarantine.

For Bradshaw, provided he is in a good mental state, Holder should resume his duties leading the squad.

“I would support the retention of Jason if it is that we understand his state of mind at this time,” Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Jason has been earmarked as our long-term captain.  Let’s recall that he’s had some success and we were very excited when we won the Wisden Trophy.  He has had some success and he has been molding the team,” he added.

“He has led by example and I would want to sit down with him and understand the challenges he was going through.  Because if he is still challenged it may need a situation where he is given that space to ensure that his individual performance does not suffer.”

Holder was appointed captain of the team in 2015.

 

Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bradshaw believes that at the core of the failures of current West Indies team is the simple fact that they do not consistently do the “little things” well.

The 40-year-old Barbadian only took nine wickets in the five Tests he played for the West Indies between March and June 2006.

He made his debut against New Zealand in Auckland in March 2006 and played his final Test against India at Gros Islet in June that year but during his short time with the team, his passion and commitment to the team was never in question.

He is best remembered for scoring an unbeaten 34 in fading light at the Oval as he and wicketkeeper Courtney Browne mounted an unbeaten ninth-wicket partnership of 71 that lifted the West Indies from certain defeat to an unlikely victory in the 2004 Champions Cup.

Speaking on the Mason and Guest radio show in Barbados on Tuesday, Bradshaw expressed his frustration at the West Indies performance in New Zealand where they lost both Test matches by an innings and were swept by the hosts.

“Like every cricket fan I am really disappointed with the performance. We have not stood up and gave a good account of ourselves and I think that that is the most critical thing and it’s worrying the manner in which we lost the series,” he said.

“We would have seen in recent times there have been some positive steps taken in terms of our attitude and in terms of doing some of the small things better.

“I mean, you take a team like New Zealand, if we had to look at their team, maybe (they’re) not a bunch of world beaters, not the Kohli’s and the Steve Smiths that you would see dominate the headlines on other teams, but what this team has done and what we can learn so much from is that they’re doing the little things well, often and that is what we have to improve on, doing the little things well often.”

It bears noting that the West Indies only bowled New Zealand out once during the two Tests and took 17 wickets overall. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s bowlers took 38 wickets. Tim Southee was the best of the hosts’ bowlers with 12 wickets twice as many as the West Indies’ leading bowler Shannon Gabriel.

“It is not good enough that after 50 Tests or so our bowlers are not consistent enough on the first morning of a Test to be consistently putting the ball in front of the batsman,” he said.

He was equally critical of the batsmen, who failed to make any impact on the tour save for a few notable exceptions. In the second Test they also dropped seven catches, three of them off Henry Nicholls whose 174 took the match away from the visitors.

“It is not good enough that you go to New Zealand and the excuse for the batsman is that the ball is swinging. It is difficult conditions but we have been going to New Zealand for over 50 years and the conditions have not changed.

“And I appreciate the fact that New Zealand played well but I am more concerned that our performances as a professional unit was not consistent enough to merit the representation of West Indies cricket which we must hold dear.”

 

 

Former West Indies bowler Ian Bradshaw believes WI skipper Jason Holder would be better-suited batting higher up the order but insists the team must solve its stability issues first.

Holder, the top-ranked Test all-rounder in the world, typically bats at 8th.  So far, the majority of his contributions have been with the ball, but he has shown he can do plenty of damage for the team with the bat as well.

In fact, his highest score of 202 unbeaten came just last year against England but the player is yet to demonstrate a level of high consistency with the willow.  Bradshaw insists the player’s improvement should be a process.

“I’ve said before he needs to move up the order, eighth and so forth was too low and that was based on the facts, when you look at how well he was batting and his average compared to the rest of the batting unit.  He was one of better batsmen so he is a wasted talent batting at eight,” Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“Ideally I’d like to see him get to six.  I believe he has the talent, but if it’s a gradual process then I don’t have a problem with it.  It depends on the balance and structure of the team,” he added.

“What we must do is to get our top five in the order correct.  So that a guy like Jason, Dowrich, and so forth, they can come and build on strong starts.  We are not going to win games when we are 60 for 4 in Test matches consistently.  So, those are the critical things we must put together.”

 

 I grew up hearing about the great history of West Indies cricket. 

I was told about how we won the first two ICC World Cup tournaments in 1975 and 1979. 

I read about our shock defeat to India in the final of the 1983 tournament and saw highlights of our collapse in the semi-final of the 1996 edition against Australia.  

That history came in handy to instill a sense of pride since my first real memory of watching a series I understood was our 5-nil whitewash by South Africa in the 1998-99 Test tour.  

Certainly, when it comes to tournament play, West Indies performances ended in disappointment most of the time in my first six years of being a serious consumer of the game.  

We failed to pass the first round of the ‘99 and 2003 50 over World Cup tournaments and were often dismal in the ICC Champions Trophy events that came in between. 

So, in 2004 when we reached the final of the ICC Champions Trophy it served as my first taste of what fans of old would have experienced in the 1970s and ‘80s when we dominated the world.  

The Brian Lara-led side had beaten Bangladesh and South Africa to advance from the group stage before brushing aside Pakistan in the semi-finals.  

They faced England in the final at the Rose Bowl and after the hosts were dismissed for 217, the West Indies found themselves reeling at 147-8 in the 34th over when the last recognised batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul departed for 47. 

The Gus Logie-coached boys were still 71 runs away and surely that was too much for the remaining batsmen.  

However, in truly one of the most spectacular endings to any tournament, Ian Bradshaw the left-arm medium-pacer and his Barbadian compatriot Courtney Browne would save the day. 

With the number of deliveries not an issue, the two batted smartly and as they got their eyes in, ironically in fading light, they unleashed some glorious shots. 

As the two dug in, despair turned to hope, and hope morphed into belief. 

And,  belief for the people of the Caribbean turned to shock for the home team, their fans, and many of the commentators.  

This was a fightback uncharacteristic of a modern-day West Indies and Browne and Bradshaw were doing it on one of the sport’s biggest stages. 

I will never forget that square drive from Bradshaw that sealed victory as he knelt with emphatic pumps of his fist. 

I vividly remember Bradshaw and Browne diving to the ground in celebration as the rest of the team covered them in glory. 

The partnership of 71, was at the time the highest for the 9th wicket by a Windies pair. 

Browne scored 35 from 55 balls and Bradshaw contributed 34 from 51 to complete the miracle. 

There are many across the Caribbean, especially in islands like Grenada and Jamaica, who might not have seen that game live as those islands tried to recover from Hurricane Ivan, which pelted them just two weeks earlier. 

But as the triumph swirled around the region, it served as a fitting reminder that people of the region could achieve great things even in the face of adversity, even in the face of defeat. 

Bradshaw and Browne proved that on September 25, 2004, and for that we honor them and say thank you for that glorious victory and moment of hope.    

   

 

Former West Indies all-rounder Ian Bradshaw insists focus will be key for the regional team considering the prevailing extraordinary circumstances for the upcoming tour of England.

The West Indies and England will return to international cricket with a three-Test match series, in England, next month.  With the prevalence of the coronavirus still a major concern and ongoing racial equality protests around the globe, the situation to begin the tour is anything but typical.

In a bid to mitigate the risks of exposure to COVID-19, the teams will spend the entire period of the tour in what has been termed a bio-secure environment, which will keep everyone associated with the series quarantined from the general public.  With all the distractions, Bradshaw believes the task of focusing on just cricket is likely to be tougher for the team.

“We could lose the series mentality if we are distracted before the start of that series.  So, it’s going to be incumbent on the management team to keep the guys focused,” Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“These are trying circumstances that they are playing under, but they are professionals and they must act as professionals and really utilize the preparation time to the best of their advantage.”  

Retired West Indies all-rounder Ian Bradshaw has advised the team to realistically face up to its lack of quality all around batting and look to mirror approaches taken by past New Zealand squads, in order to be successful on the upcoming England tour.

The West Indies will return to international cricket, following an enforced absence due to the coronavirus epidemic, with a three-Test tour of England next month.  The unpredictability of the team’s batting line-up, much as it has in recent years, will again be a source of concern, particularly with explosive middle-order batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmeyer unavailable for selection.

The duo, along with all-rounder Keemo Paul, opted to miss the tour over health concerns.  The West Indies will need no further illustration than the opening Test of their last England tour for an example of a dismal batting performance.  On that occasion, the team was dismissed for 168 and 137 in pursuit of England’s 514 declared.

“We've been concerned with our batting for a while, let’s just stop and be realistic.  We don’t have the quality of batting that we want," Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“We don’t have the quality batsmen but what we hope for, is that collectively we can rally and that we can get 300 and 350 and 400 by batting deep and by batting sensibly," he added.

"There are other teams in the world that have a similar challenge and they manage to fight through.  For a number of years, we saw that with teams like New Zealand, where each player coming to the crease understood your job was to build a partnership that allowed the team to put a competitive total on the board.  Getting runs in England is important, especially in the first innings, so there is no doubt that we will have to bat deep.”

 

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