Following their 63-run defeat in the first Test to India in Jamaica, West Indies arrived in Barbados yesterday for the second Test which starts here on Tuesday and home boy Kirk Edwards is in line for a Test debut after replacing Vice-Captain Brendon Nash in the squad.
The 26-year-old Edwards has played nine ODIs and averages 19.12 and his highest score has been 40 and has two First-Class centuries from 26 matches, while Nash, who played the first of his 21 Tests in 2008 and has two centuries and eight fifties, has not played cricket since the end of the Regional First-Class tournament in April since he does not feature in the ODI team.
The 33-year-old Australian born Jamaican has only managed scores of 5, 3, 6, 30, 1 and 9 in his last six Test innings since his return to the regional team for the Test against Pakistan in Guyana last month.
Edwards, dropped from the ODI team due to a lack of form, is a surprising selection and could be asked to open the batting with Adrian Barath before his home fans if selected with Marlon Samuels coming in for the out of form Nash.
Senior batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan has not scored a Test fifty in his last 16 innings but he was the only West Indian with over 200 runs in the recent ODI series against India and once he returns to form could be a match winner in a team without premier opener Christ Gayle who has again been overlooked due to his fractured relationship with the WICB.
Edwards could be kept on the sidelines if Simmons is retained since it is unlikely that he will be asked to bat in the middle order due to his discomfort against spin.
On what could be a Kensington Oval track with some bounce, the temptation could be to play all three fast bowlers Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul and Kemar Roach along with leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and medium pacer Darren Sammy but that could put pressure on an already failing batting order.
“Batting has been our real problem. We play six batsmen and they are preparing hard for the game but it’s about going out there and having the mindset to bat for a long period of time.” They haven’t done it for a while now. “We managed to get 20 wickets to win a Test match against Pakistan but we haven’t been able to get big scores,” Coach Ottis Gibson said.
Nash’s inactivity could have been a reason for his lack of form while the same can be said for Shiv Chanderpaul, who apart from
some tapeball matches in Guyana, has not played competitively since the Pakistan series and looked rusty in Jamaica.
“It’s very challenging. We are not like England who have long county season. They play cricket five months. We are not that fortunate. You make a good point about Shiv and the amount of cricket. We have the High Performance Centre and stuff like that. People are playing club cricket. We are just trying to give people a lot more opportunities to keep their game in shape,” Gibson explained.
The West Indies squad:- Darren Sammy (Captain), Adrian Barath, Lendl Simmons, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Daren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Shiv Chanderpaul, Carlton Baugh, Ravi Rampaul, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Fidel Edwards, Kirk Edwards.
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