ENG vs WI 2017: Our Bowlers have an Opportunity to Exploit the Inexperienced England Batting Order, Says Coach Stuart Law
West Indies will be up for a stiff challenge when they take on England in the upcoming Test series starting tomorrow (Thursday) at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
While, no official or member of the ECB side has went on record to downplay the challenge, it is understood that the seriousness regarding the contest isn’t as high as it would be if some other team was visiting due to some of the recent failures West Indies has suffered.
Noise from one-quarter of critics is that the series will be nothing but a warm up for the Ashes later this year.
West Indies are currently ranked eighth in the Test rankings and haven’t tasted a Test victory in England since 2000.
Head coach Send Warning
Head coach Stuart Law isn’t bothered about much talked about lax approach by England. He feels that while England is surely the better side, the host does have flaws which West Indies can exploit, especially the worries in the batting department.
Law has already used this weakness to send a subtle warning to the Englishmen to avoid being complacent of the challenge the West Indies can pose. He believes West Indies can “exploit the weaknesses” and eventually spring a surprise to prove their critics wrong.
Law has aptly noted down the batting instability which the hosts have currently.
The top order has been so uncertain in nature that opener Alastair Cook will perhaps come out to bat with a 12th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss and likes of Keaton Jennings, Dawid Malan, Gary Ballance and Tom Westley have failed to put up big scores.
The eyes are in particular on Mark Stoneman and the lack of international experience.
“With a couple of debutants or a couple of new guys to the fore in Test cricket, that’s an opportunity for our bowlers,” Law said. “You always look at any little crack you can find. We’ve some pretty experienced, pretty good bowlers up front as well. So it’s an opportunity for us to exploit those weaknesses.”
Law also feels the manner in which some have dismissed his side’s chances could play to their advantage.
“Our players understand there’s a few comments flying around like that,” Law said. “And we’ve instructed them to use that as motivation to go out and play your best. There’s been a lot said about this cricket team and that is motivation for them. We’re looking forward. Let’s rewrite that history.”
Eyes on the Trio
West Indies definitely have the firepower to “exploit the weaknesses” with the help of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder. The trio hasn’t been in top form and needs to gain their rhythm back.
Gabriel, who recently delivered 20 no-balls in nine overs spell against Derbyshire, is their quickest but as mention earlier, he may struggle for discipline. Roach has lost his pace that was once his forte after the car accident. Only Jason Holder promises quality as well as consistency in the present attack.
Law was optimistic about their prospects and still, believes they can put up a string challenge.
“Shannon is coming along nicely. He is training the house down and just needs a bowl to get that rhythm back. He’s fit to bowl. We’re just waiting on him to hit his traps – do that and it’s 95mph coming at you.
“The ground was uneven in Derby. He hadn’t bowled for a while and he was over-striding. When he got it right he looked good.
“Kemar had a bit of time out of the game with injuries and a nasty car accident,” Law said. “He’s had to fight his way back. He’s probably not as quick as he has been but I think he’s a better bowler for that. He is still fast enough to cause problems and he is swinging the ball both ways.
“As for Jason… He’s a young man but very intelligent and high quality. The captaincy is a lot of responsibility but he does it with fantastic integrity. He’s a great leader. His bowling is more than very good and he can bat and score runs.
“He’s doing everything to make sure he captains this side not just this series but for 10 or 15 years.”
While Law does not sound totally convinced by the idea of day-night cricket in England (“it works in certain countries,” he said) or the pink ball (“it’s very hard to shine… and it sounds like a plastic ball off the bat”), he thinks the format is worth a try for the long-term health of the game.
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