By Neto Baptiste
The current crop of batsmen available to the senior men’s West Indies team will continue to struggle against quality bowling and do not possess the necessary skills required to pull the regional squad out of trouble if called upon to do so.
This is the assessment of former fast bowler and the first Antiguan to play for the West Indies, Sir Andy Roberts who, in a candid review of the team’s performance in a two-nil series loss to South Africa in St Lucia, held no punches regarding their display with the bat.
“When you look at what batting we have, our batting isn’t going to win us any matches except maybe against the Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, but when it comes to teams with fast bowling our batting is not going to win us any matches,” he said.
“There is so much talk about coach but there is one thing a coach cannot instill in any player, and that is how to overcome fear. When you look at some of our players against fast bowling, you can see fear in their eyes; they are afraid,” he added.
Sir Andy, who claimed 202 wickets in 47 Tests, said the players must take personal responsibility for their poor performances and do the work necessary to bring them up to par.
“They are not working hard enough at their personal game and I just read an article there where Kraigg Brathwaite was saying they are not complaining because the coach is not … Coach? It’s not the coach, it is you! You, as the individual, need to take up that mantle and try to work to get yourself into the best condition that you can,” he said.
The solution, according to the legendary player, is to fix the game at the domestic level by better structuring the regional competitions.
“That is our problem; our domestic cricket is poor and you need a wider pool of players because you can’t be depending on 15, 20 players, and we don’t know which one is going to play in consecutive Test matches and [we need to widen the pool] by improving on our domestic cricket. Forget about this professional setup that we’re having because we are paying people not to improve. If we don’t pay people and they have to work to get in, I find they would work a lot harder than they are at the moment,” Sir Andy said.
West Indies suffered a humiliating 158-run defeat to South Africa inside four days at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia on Monday to surrender the two-match series. The regional squad had lost the opening Test by an innings and 63 runs.
In the first Test, the West Indies had scores of 97 and 162 and followed those weak scores with 149 and 165 in the second Test.