SQUAD: Darren Sammy (capt), Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Devon Smith, Sulieman Benn, Nikita Miller, Carlton Baugh (wk), Andre Rusell, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Adrian Barath.
Probable starting XI:
Gayle, Barath, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo, Pollard, Rampaul, Sammy, Baugh, Benn, Roach
I think it’s fair to say that West Indian cricket has been in somewhat disarray of late. A far cry from the glory days of the 70’s and 80’s. The West Indies have been drawn in Group B alongside England, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Ireland and the Netherlands. Unless something spectacularly weird happens you would expect England, India and South Africa to go through to the quarters along with either Bangladesh or West Indies.
We shouldn’t write off the Bangladesh team to progress ahead of the Windies, they’ve come a long way as we saw from their 5-0 hammering of the Kiwis (granted it was only the Kiwis!) and it’s likely that the “minnows” will be targeting West Indies as one of the games they can realistically win.
The Windies are currently down at 9th in ODI rankings and slumped to a defeat in the prematurely ended recent series against Sri Lanka.
Batting: Gayle and Pollard have both displayed their propensity to take games away from oppositions on their day. Although mostly in the twenty over format, whether this can be translated into the slightly longer form remains to be seen. There’s a real skill to combining patience and shot playing which I’m not totally sure they possess. Sarwan returns to the team after spells of injury and poor form but he does average more than 43. It’s a potentially strong batting line up. You’d hope that in any given match one of Gayle, Sarwan, Chandrapaul, Dwayne Bravo would fire. Bravo also providing a much needed further bowling option. Consistency is the problem with this batting line up and they’ll be pretty reliant on the experience in the middle order of Sarwan and Chandrapaul. 20 year old Adrian Barath will be looking to impress in this his first world cup but he will need to adapt quickly to the conditions.
The West Indian bowling attack is looking more flaky than their batting. The omissions of Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor are surprising. Their pace attack will be led by Kemar Roach supported by the medium pace of Rampaul. As we all know spin is going to be pretty important in the sub-continential conditions, Sammy has at his disposal Miller or Benn. Nikita Miller has taken 30 wickets in 36 ODIs at 38.53 and Sulimen Benn 17 wickets in 19 matches at 40.35. Not amazing averages but pretty good economy rates 4.61 and 4.28 respectively. If he can leave the honey alone for long enough, skipper Sammy will be looking to lead from the front with his 10 overs but again – he can be pretty expensive.
It’s going to take a good deal of discipline for them to progress beyond the quarters (that is, if they even make it to them). This isn’t a team known for its discipline, patience or focus but one should never write off a team which contains Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Preview by Lizzy Ammon