This is a tournament I always enjoy watching and one that immediately allows me to recall some spectacular memories, especially some big run chases by the Windies and heated encounters in the middle! I enjoy seeing touring teams head over to the Caribbean, a place where the cricket may not be as sought after and fanatically followed as it once was, but the game still has its place within their respective cultures.
Here’s our ODI and T20 Squads for the limited overs part of tournament:
ODI squad - Michael Clarke (captain/injured), Shane Watson (captain/vice captain), Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Peter Forrest, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner.
Twenty20 squad - George Bailey (captain), Shane Watson, Daniel Christian, Xavier Doherty, Peter Forrest, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Nathan Lyon, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner.
Now it’s time to have a quick look at the mix of the Windies.
You may look at the team and scratch your head thinking, “who are these blokes?” Yes, there have been numerous changes since the series in Australia in the 2009/10 season but here’s a look to give you an idea of a few of the players to watch out for!
Some you may remember, some you may have no idea about.
Bishoo won the ICC award for Emerging Player of the Year in 2011. His crafty leg spin bowling and ability to tie down the opposition in any passage of play has made him a valued component of the Windies set up. His career is still in the early stages and while his Test career hasn’t set off, his ODI performances have strongly showcased his skills.
He has taken 20 wickets at an average of 23.80 and will be a bloke to watch out for as a possible strategic move to tie down our openers should they get off to an aggressive start in any of the matches against the Windies quicks.
The advantage for us is that he’s been out of action for quite some time and hasn’t managed a consistent period of cricket for a while. However he’s become a recognised freelance Twenty20 cricketer and has his own role to play within the Windies cricket setup.
He knows most of our players either from the IPL or his Big Bash stint, most recently playing a few games for the Sydney Sixers. He can get under our players skin!
The half-brother of Dwayne is without a doubt one of my favourite players on the International circuit at the moment. Classy, elegant and possessed with raw ability he is a player to watch out for. Most talked features of his game includes the comparison he draws to Brian Charles Lara in both the stats at an age comparison and their batting techniques.
While he is a player to fear in the Test arena he is still inconsistent with limited overs cricket but still a strong contender to watch out for as he continues to become a favourite amongst the locals.
Remembered as the speedster who hassled Ricky Ponting with the imfamous pull shot in the 2009/10 Frank Worrell Trophy in Australia.
He’s quick, he’s mean but he’s also a perfect pick for Shane Watson, David Warner and Matt Wade to target. He has a reputation so all I am saying is watch out for him!
Working alongside Roach will likely be Tino Best, who believes he's in good shape right now and if he can maintain quick pace and get his line and length bang on target, he may be handful as well, but the pace will be welcomed by our ODI experts.
This man is talented but has had so many controversial issues in his career that it’s been hard to see it. However, he stands a changed man now; spiritually, emotionally, mentally and his talent remains.
He loves his cricket and has a calm, collected energy about him so he’s one of those players that will find a way to pull momentum away from you without even realising it.
He’s also the man who was given a small piece of cloth from a “lucky red rag” belonging to a former Australian cricket legend known as Steve Waugh.
The Windies version of Mr T!
Indian fans will remember Andre as a big hitter who smacked 92* runs in what was arguably one of the wildest tail-ender ODI innings of all time.
His bowling lacks on the pace side ever so slightly for a man of his stature but accuracy and his ambition to become an all-rounder makes each appearance for the Windies one where he strives to up his individual value wherever he can.
Australian cricket followers should know him as a familiar overseas player in the Domestic limited overs scene, notably for the Redbacks.
He’s a hit and miss player, much like the Windies in general, but added responsibility and a keen instinct for the faster version of the game makes him a devastating player when he has the cricket Gods on his side.
He’s not the player of choice for captaincy but it’s not like they have much a choice! In any case, Sammy shows courage and dedication to the captaincy and this is his biggest challenge.
His game comes under much criticism for his never ending patches of inconsistency with the bat and ball but when he has a good day on the field it usually results in a match-winning contribution.
Watch out for his slower balls!
Who is out of the mix?
The Windies side is a formidable one but injuries, stubbornness and politics (never ending) have reduced the side to an average team, but nevertheless mighty competitive.
They are without big name players such as; Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shiv Chanderpaul.
Gayle has been in sublime form with Twenty20 cricket but an internal political dispute with the Windies, involving coach Otis Gibson, has continued to add fuel to the fire and he seen him take to freelance Twenty20 cricket with a carefree attitude. It’s a huge loss for cricket fanatics but this all old news now, isn't it?
Injury has put aside Lendell Simmons, an entertaining limited overs opening batsman; Adrian Barath, a skilled young opening batsman who scored his maiden Test century against us; and Ravi Rampaul, who has dengue fever. Ravi is their swing bowling version of Ben Hilfenhaus is some ways. Highly effective and a real handful on his good day, quite costly and unfairly plain on an off day.
Fidel Edwards, probably their most effective bowler, has not been considered for the first 3 ODIs and Anthony Martin has also been left out. Martin may be slightly of age given his time of debut but he certainly impressed me upon debut. Bishoo is the spinner of choice for the Windies and sticking with him has improved his game tremendously and proven to be a good move for the Windies.
While the Windies have a strong batting line-up, in my opinion, for the Test and ODI arena, I do see them having a tough time overall in the Test series should our players hit their best.
Our guys have just come off a long ODI summer though and will need to hit the ground running in order to get into the competitive seat for the ODIs. This is a chance for the Windies to take early momentum and it’s an obvious opportunity for them.
After our dominant performances against them in both the 2008 and 2010 ODI series, they will be well aware of the challenge they face!
Windies Squad for the first 3 ODIs:
Darren Sammy (Capt), Denesh Ramdin (vc), Carlton Baugh (wk), Tino Best, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels.
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